Chair in Mental Health and Society

University of Birmingham
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Apr 04, 2021
May 11, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

School of Social Policy

Salary: Competitive for an outstanding candidate

Grade: Professorial

Full time


For full information about the role click here

The School of Social Policy

The School of Social Policy is a diverse community of scholars whose work coalesces around its mission to understand the world and also to change it. We pursue this mission via our research, teaching and engagement and impact activities. We deliver a suite of undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education programmes to a diverse student population. We undertake research to make a difference, collaborating with our research partners from private, public and third sectors. We are recognised as a leading centre of expertise in Social Policy ranking in the top 50 QS World University rankings.

The School comprises three Departments: the Health Services Management Centre, which is one of the UK's foremost centres for research, evaluation, teaching and professional development for health and social care organisations; the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, which is delivering an innovative set of new academic programmes and research initiatives; and, the Department of Social Work and Social Care, which delivers the UK's longest-running social work course, dating back to 1908; and. Our social work programme is currently ranked 4th in the Complete University Guide, and we are the only Russell Group University in the country to be delivering a regional 'Step Up to Social Work' programme alongside our existing BA/MA programmes and our post-qualifying CPD. Our well-regarded undergraduate social policy programmes include one of the largest single honours programmes in the Russell Group, currently ranked 3rd in the Complete University Guide, as well as a new and expanding Criminology programme and an exciting cross-College programme in Policy, Politics and Economics. In 2020, we launched a new suite of postgraduate taught programmes including MAs in Global Public Policy and in Sociology, as we aim to grow our PGT student numbers and diversify our cohorts. In partnership with the University of Manchester, we deliver the NHS Leadership Academy's award-winning Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme.

The School has an excellent research base underpinned by substantial grant capture, with an annual research income of circa £3 million, with nearly all academic staff contributing. Our current research coalesces around five broad themes: i) health and social care; ii) inequality, poverty and wealth; iii) superdiversity and migration; iv) civil society and volunteering; and v) crime, social harm and social justice. These themes link with our departmental and research centre structure. We have three research centres in the School: Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM), led jointly with Birmingham Business School, The Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRIS), the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). The School also leads two major NIHR-funded centres - the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre, which focuses on conducting rapid evaluations of promising new services and innovations in healthcare; and the School for Social Care, a partnership between seven universities, supporting internationally leading research in social care to improve the wellbeing of people needing care and support.

The School has also been instrumental in the development of the Institute for Mental Health (IMH), a University of Birmingham funded cross-disciplinary initiative with the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. Established in 2017 with a £2.3m investment, the IMH is first research centre in the UK with a specific focus on youth mental health. It combines research excellence and purposeful partnerships - academic, NHS, third sector, and critically, with patients and publics. The Director is Professor Matthew Broome, Chair in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health.

The IMH works across interdisciplinary boundaries. Its members represent academic fields including, psychology, psychiatry, philosophy, health economics, epidemiology, geography, neuroscience, public health, sport and exercise science, and social policy. It has also developed new methodological approaches, drawing on different disciplines, shared ideas across new interdisciplinary groupings and participatory research techniques.

The IMH launched the MSc in Mental Health in 2020, drawing on the latest research from multiple disciplines to help to grow the global cross-sector workforce of the future to meet the challenge of youth mental health. It is a unique qualification, bringing together a range of disciplines from psychology, sociology and social policy to medicine, philosophy and education. At the heart of the programme is a strong focus on youth mental health.

The School of Social Policy is at an exciting point in its history, being well placed to build on its successes to-date and looking to address the many urgent problems facing post-pandemic society. Under a new Head of School, we are developing new ways of working to capitalise on the many synergies across the School. Our strategy is to strengthen further our areas of established expertise including health and social care policy and practice and economic, social and health inequalities, which have become even more relevant in the post-Covid world. At the same time, we are building critical mass in emerging areas, including criminology, mental health, quantitative methods and technologies. We already collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines, particularly in medicine and health, to tackle global challenges and we plan to expand our leadership and involvement in larger multi- and inter-disciplinary projects, particularly with STEM disciplines. We also have a strong internationalisation agenda, in terms of teaching, research, impact and engagement so that we become a global School. Engagement and impact is deeply ingrained in the culture of the School, and we are expanding our strategic partnerships locally, nationally and internationally to ensure that we continue to make a difference.

The School of Social Policy is strongly committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and is particularly seeking applications from underrepresented groups. Applications will be assessed against the stated criteria and on merit.

Job Purpose

The School of Social Policy is seeking to appoint a Chair in Mental Health and Society to provide strategic leadership in mental health research, teaching, engagement and impact in the School. The postholder will be expected to work across the University in a major interdisciplinary priority area, becoming one of the Deputy Directors of the Institute of Mental Health and taking a leading role in the continued development, delivery and sustainability of the MSc in Mental Health.

Mental health is a key research and teaching priority for the School of Social Policy. The School's focus is on the social aspects of mental health e.g. organisation and management of care, social care and welfare and social justice and criminology. The post is available in any area of the School's research. The postholder will join the most appropriate department within the School. We, therefore, welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines including, by not limited to, social policy/health policy; social work; sociology; and, criminology/criminal justice The post holder will be expected to have an outstanding international reputation, based on an extensive track record of innovative research and influence on their discipline.

Main Duties and Responsibilities
  • Develop, plan and lead research activities and programmes of outstanding quality and international repute in mental health and society, which support the School's research strategy.
  • Develop and lead collaborative working arrangements with academics in cognate areas in the School and wider University to deliver outstanding research and teaching.
  • Lead major funding bids which develop and sustain support for mental health research and advance the reputation of the School and the University.
  • Publish high-quality internationally recognised outputs.
  • Develop sustained and strong relationships with relevant external organisations.
  • Participate actively in the development of the School's research agenda, identifying and building collaborations inside and outside the University.
  • Champion and provide academic leadership in mental health, internally and externally.
  • Seek opportunities to promote the University and raise its profile externally.
  • Develop an atmosphere and culture among staff where research/teaching innovation can flourish, actively promoting and supporting staff in applying for research grants, writing and presenting papers and in the continuous search for excellence.
  • Research/teach as appropriate and ensure/promote the positive interrelationship between research and teaching.
  • Actively seek and promote interdisciplinary research/partnerships within the School, across the University or with external bodies.
  • As appropriate participate in and act as a role model for teaching, course development, supervision and coaching.

Person Specification

  • Evidence of an outstanding and sustained international research and/or education profile, evidenced by a substantial record of international quality outputs and achievements
  • Proven ability to plan and lead the delivery of research and/or teaching programmes.
  • Evidence of successful and sustained collaborations with other teams/institutions and significant and sustained success in obtaining external grants.
  • Track record in interdisciplinary working in research and/or teaching and bringing multi-disciplinary teams together.
  • A track record of attracting and successfully supervising high quality postgraduate research students
  • Evidence, over a significant period, of delivering excellence in the design and delivery of teaching, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • Evidence of activities which advance the student learning experience (for example in enhancing the curriculum, learning activities/teaching materials, assessment, evaluating the impact on the student learning experience) or which enhance the teaching and learning performance of colleagues.
  • Track record in translating research into impact on other scholars and on the wider community through publication, consultancy and advisory work.
  • Track record of engaging with policy, public service leaders and practice
  • A PhD in a relevant discipline

For informal inquiries please contact Professor Anthea Hucklesby, Head of the School of Social Policy, email

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community '