This study examines the impacts arising from neuroscience and mental health research going back 20–25 years, and identifies attributes of the research, researchers or research setting that are associated with translation into patient benefit, in the particular case of schizophrenia.
The study combined two methods: forward-tracing case studies to examine where scientific advances of 20 years ago have led to impact today; and backward-tracing perspectives to identify the research antecedents of today’s interventions in schizophrenia. These research and impact trails are followed principally in Canada, the UK and the USA. The headline findings are as follows:
1. The case studies and perspectives support the view that mental health research has led to a diverse and beneficial range of academic, health, social and economic impacts over the 20 years since the research was undertaken.
2. Clinical research has had a larger impact on patient care than basic research has over the 20 years since the research was undertaken.
3. Those involved in mental health research who work across boundaries are associated with wider health and social benefits.
4. Committed individuals, motivated by patient need, who effectively champion research agendas and/or translation into practice are key in driving the development and implementation of interventions.
This report provides an overview of the methods and presents the full set of findings, with the policy provocations they raise, and an emerging research agenda. It has been written for funders of biomedical and health research and health services, health researchers, and policymakers in those fields. It will also be of interest to those involved in research and impact evaluation.