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Mental Health Researchers In Top Rank

Friday 19 August, 2005.

University Mental Health Researchers In Top Rank

Researchers from the University of Otago’s Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Dunedin School of Medicine have ranked highly in a recent assessment of New Zealand and Australian mental health research.

In a first-ever assessment of the impact of mental health research on both sides of the Tasman, a recent paper in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry has ranked three University of Otago researchers at CSMHS in the top four across both countries in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychology.

Professor David Fergusson, head of the long running Christchurch Health and Development study, is rated number one using the Essential Science Indicator (ESI). This international database counts the number of times a paper written within the last decade is cited by other researchers internationally.

Based on this measure, Professor Fergusson is the only Australian or New Zealander in the fields of Psychiatry and Psychology to be ranked in the top 100 researchers in the world.

Professor Phil Silva, formerly head of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, is ranked second across Australia and New Zealand, and just outside the top 100 in international recognition. He achieved the highest number of citations per research paper.

Acting Dean of the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Professor Peter Joyce, and past head of the Department of Psychological Medicine, is ranked fourth. He is also the top ranked clinical researcher in both countries in mental health, and has particular interests in bipolar disorder, depression and eating disorder.

The new head of the Department of Psychological Medicine, Professor Roger Mulder, is ranked twelfth and was number six in clinical research in mental health. He has particular interests in personality and depression.

No other New Zealand researchers made the top 30 in Psychiatry and Psychology from Australia and New Zealand.

However the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry study comments on the excellent New Zealand performance compared to Australia. “Given the relatively low level of national investment in research, the very high impact of a small number of New Zealand researchers should be the subject of active discussion. Their performance may simply reflect the quality of those individuals or it may reflect their capacity to pursue long-term, high value and internationally collaborative projects.”

All four University of Otago researchers have received programme funding through the Health Research Council.

ENDS

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