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£1.5m pledge boosts research in mental health and neurosciences

This week (7 November 2023) the University of Liverpool and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru, India signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) to reaffirm and expand their long-standing research partnership.

To further bolster this initiative, the two institutions gratefully accepted a pledge of £1.5million from the Pratiksha Trust, on behalf of its founder, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan.

The collaborative partnership between NIMHANS and the University of Liverpool, established in 2002, has had a profound impact on global healthcare – saving more than 200,000 lives. The collaboration has also attracted substantial external funding, totalling £10 million, from various prominent organisations like the Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical Research Council, the Indian Council for Medical Research, and the Gates Foundation.

The partnership has three core research strands – Brain infections spearheaded by Professor Tom Solomon and now led by Dr Lance Turtle and Dr Netravathi, NIMHANS; Child and Maternal mental health, featuring collaborative longitudinal studies such as the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study, led by Professor Helen Sharp and Professor Prabha Chandra, NIMHANS; Neuro-imaging and epilepsy research, led by Professor Simon Keller and Dr Sanjib Sinha and Dr Jitender Saini, NIMHANS.

The partnership also includes a dual PhD programme, and joint workshops held annually to set research priorities and explore new avenues of research.

With the support of Mr Gopalakrishnan, the partnership will expand across four key components – a Dual PhD programme, an Early Career Researcher Exchange programme, a Senior Researcher Exchange programme, and joint Annual Symposia.

Professor Tim Jones, Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool, said: “We are delighted to have signed this MoU with NIHMANS, with whom we already have a longstanding relationship that has real world impact. Signing the MoU, and the generous donation from Kris Gopalakrishnan, allows us to further our work researching brain infections, mental health, neuro-imaging and epilepsy as well as the dual PhD programme.

“We are incredibly proud to be a civic university with a global reputation and it’s an honour to visit Bengaluru. Here we have met people and organisations with a shared aspiration for positive worldwide impact through outstanding research and collaboration.”

Professor Pratima Murthy, Director of NIMHANS, said: “We are excited to continue our valuable collaboration with the University of Liverpool. Together, we have achieved remarkable progress in the fields of maternal and child mental health, epilepsy, and brain infections. It has been an extraordinary journey, uniting the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of the human brain. We stand poised to uncover even more, to change lives, and to make a significant impact on the world’s healthcare landscape with the generous funding by the Pratiksha Trust.”

Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, founder of Pratiksha Trust, and Chairman of Axilor Ventures and Co-founder of Infosys said: “Pratiksha Trust is glad to contribute to the joint efforts of NIMHANS and University of Liverpool to tackle complex health challenges. With our contribution, we aim to further strengthen the critical research endeavours initiated by these two leading institutions in the realm of healthcare. We believe that this collaboration will have far-reaching positive consequences for the well-being of individuals worldwide.”


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