IfM Engage event to enable more interdisciplinary work on mental health innovation

Collaborate to innovate: Working together to transform mental health outcomes


IfM Engage, the knowledge transfer arm of the IfM, hosts its inaugural event for mental health innovation in collaboration with The William Templeton Foundation for Young People's Mental Health (YPMH) in Cambridge on 19 June. The event invites people from a range of professional fields to find new ways to improve mental health, all the way from prevention to early detection and treatment.


The last 20 years have seen great progress in the quality and quantity of research on the risk factors and mechanisms of a range of mental health conditions. In spite of that, the individual, social and economic burden of mental ill-health has only increased. YPHM was established to help reverse this negative trend by bringing knowledge and experience from several academic and professional fields together, using innovation management tools developed at the IfM.


"I think the IfM has a really important role to play in facilitating the translation of mental health research into practical solutions. We have a number of research-based approaches which enable more effective translation of research into innovations for prevention, early detection and treatment of mental health conditions," says Peter Templeton, Executive Director for Strategic Development at IfM Engage and Founder of YPMH. "At our event in June, participants will hear from experts in innovation management, ecosystem development and psychiatry, and they will explore their own innovation interests in collaboration with other participants," he continues.



 Peter Templeton


Fava beans for healthy minds

Breaking down barriers between disciplines is central to the mission of YPMH, and their efforts are yielding results. In welcoming knowledge from disciplines outside of the obvious contenders for mental health research, unexpected avenues for impactful collaborations have emerged. At an event organised by Cambridge Global Food Security (GFS) in 2023, Peter met the plant biologist Nadia Mohd-Radzman who works as a Research Associate at the King’s College Entrepreneurship Lab. Nadia’s field of expertise is legume biology, and she approached Peter to tell him about her research on fava beans.


"Fava beans contain L-dopa which is a precursor to dopamine in the brain. At the moment, L-dopa in tablet form is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's Disease, but there is also evidence that it can improve symptoms of a certain type of depression," Nadia explains. "Hearing about the work of YPMH at the GFS event, I though I'd tell Peter about my research. He was interested to find out more, and a few months later we started a project together."


In collaboration, they aim to explore opportunities to increase awareness of and reap the benefits from fava beans in the diet. Peter and Nadia only became aware of each other's work by chance, but with the mental health innovation event in June, chance is taken out of the equation.


Everything to play for

"We want to invite people from health and social care organisations, educators, employers, custodial institutions, solution developers, research and innovation funders, and researchers to come together and draw on the diversity of expertise in the room. Using innovation management tools from the IfM, we will facilitate productive workshops that we hope will result in practical solutions," says Peter. "With better prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental health conditions, we can have happier communities, and more individuals can live healthier, happier lives. We have everything to play for."



Find out more and register for Collaborate to innovate: Working together to transform mental health outcomes.


Find out more about the work of YPMH.

Date published

28 February 2024

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