The formation of Bedfordshire Centre for Mental Health Research in association with the University of Cambridge (BCMHR-CU) was announced by Prof. Peter Jones in November 2003, during the 4th Luton International conference. The centre is co-directed by Dr Rashid Zaman and Professor Peter Jones with Dr Mark Agius as its Senior Research Fellow and secretary.
It now has number of Fellows and Senior Fellows, including individuals of International repute.
The primary aims of BCMHR-CU is to foster collaborations between researchers/clinicians from both academic and non-academic backgrounds in subjects related to Psychiatry. It has been behind formation of close academic links between University of Cambridge and South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT). Indeed the collaborations have gone beyond UK and has involved number of countries, including, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia with ever growing links with other European countries.
Since its inception the Centre has organised a number of successful major international conferences in field of mental health, which have attracted world class speakers and international participants that has resulted in international collaborations. These conferences have moved to Cambridge since 2005 and are held biennially.
The centre is interested in studies involving prodromes of psychosis, first episodes of psychosis, biomarkers in psychosis, epidemiology of psychosis, bipolar disorders, PTSD, psychiatry in primary care, development of community mental health services, and mental health research and development generally. The centre aims to involve researchers from all disciplines involved in the field of mental health work, as well as, encourage user (of mental health services) led research.