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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

The Gatsby Foundation and Wellcome Trust Neuroscience Project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been awarded a generous grant by the Gatsby Foundation and Wellcome Trust to review the Core Curriculum for psychiatric trainees.


The aim is to make sure that training focuses more on the exciting advances in basic and clinical neuroscience, so that trainees are better equipped for the scientific advances that will be made over their working lives.


We want trainees to be able to develop and deliver innovative biomedical approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of adult mental health, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative disorders.


The project was launched in spring 2016 with the President’s Lecture on the ‘Notorious Past and Bright Future of Psychiatry’ by Professor Jeff Lieberman. The lecture featured in the President’s Blog, 'Neuroscience in our Postgraduate Curriculum'.


A Commission will lead the project, which will run until summer 2018.



  • Dr Wendy Burn, Immediate past Dean, RCPsych
  • Professor Mike Travis, Director of Residency Training, WPIC of UPMC, Pittsburgh and Co-Director of the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative, US


  • Dr Andrew Brittlebank, Curriculum Advisor, RCPsych  
  • Professor Ed Bullmore, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Sarah Caddick, The Gatsby Foundation
  • Professor Ian Curran, General Medical Council
  • Professor Karl Deisseroth, D Chen Professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University, US
  • Professor Jacky Hayden, Dean of Postgraduate Medical Studies, Health Education North West & Lead Dean, Psychiatry
  • Professor Eileen Joyce, Chair, Neuropsychiatry Faculty, RCPsych
  • Professor Jeffrey Lieberman, Lawrence E Kolb Chair of Psychiatry, Columbia University and Director of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York State Psychiatric Institute, US
  • Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes, Imperial College and Chair, Academic Faculty, RCPsych
  • Dr Mary-Ellen Lynall, Academic Clinical Fellow, University of Cambridge
  • Professor David Ross, Associate Director of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, Yale University, US
  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely, President, RCPsych


Terms of reference

The Commission will:

  1. Examine the content of the current RCPsych Core Curriculum and Membership Examination syllabus
  2. Collect evidence from all relevant stakeholders on what the content of the Curriculum and the MRCPsych examination syllabus should be.
  3. Agree the content of the revised combined Core Curriculum and MRCPsych examination syllabus with particular regard to ensuring that modern neuroscience is included.
  4. Ensure that all scientific content of the new curriculum reflects the most recent knowledge and that there are systems in place to guarantee that this is updated on a regular basis in the future.
  5. Oversee the approval of the new curriculum by the Regulator.
  6. Direct the development of teaching materials to support the delivery of the Neuroscience content of the curriculum.


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Discover more about the Project in the January 2017 edition of 'The Registrar', the magazine of the Psychiatric Trainees Committee


News from our Stakeholder Outreach Programme

The Project team has begun an extensive programme of consultation activities and stakeholder engagement across the UK.

We have attended RCPsych Faculty and Division conferences, meetings of hospital trusts and the Psychiatric Trainees Committee. Evidence gathered will inform the Commission’s review of the Core Curriculum.

We are responding to stakeholder feedback with initiatives to facilitate and support the delivery of the neuroscience elements of psychiatric training.

We will be taking part in more events soon. Watch out for updates and register to come to an event.