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Centre of excellence on ethnic inequalities and severe mental illness

(7 July 2017)

The University of Manchester - along with Queen Mary University of London and Words of Colour Productions – have been commissioned to establish an independent centre of excellence on ethnic inequalities, severe mental illness and multiple disadvantage.

With an award of £1,245,000 from Lankelly Chase Foundation, the Synergi Collaborative Centre, as it will be called, will deliver a five-year national programme focused on transforming health services for ethnic minority people with severe mental illness.

Over the five years, the centre will:

  • collate, interpret and communicate data and knowledge on ethnic inequalities in mental health and related systems, and how this relates to severe and multiple disadvantage,
  • bring together the full range of stakeholders through models of co-production, and co-curation of knowledge, to develop and implement solutions,
  • place lived experience narratives centre stage;
  • use creative, digital and evidence-based platforms to share these narratives;
  • become a focal point for action, leading to systems change regarding ethnic inequalities in mental health services;
  • identify opportunities to reduce and prevent ethnic inequalities to improve the health of individuals and populations.


The centre will take a collaborative approach, using the principles of co-production of knowledge and a creative mix of robust research methods.

The School of Social Sciences’ James Nazroo, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE), is leading on the project for the University. He has conducted research on inequalities in health for almost 30 years, with a focus on the patterning and drivers of inequalities in later life, and on the inequalities faced by ethnic minority people, and led the only national population-based surveys assessing ethnic differences in the prevalence of mental illness.


James said:“The centre will work with a full range of partners to identify ways of working towards and implementing solutions. A co-production approach will allow us to recognise and address the significant challenges in this area and develop shared, meaningful and creative solutions. This is crucial as there are marked and conflicting understandings of ethnic inequalities in severe mental illness: the nature of them, what is driving these inequalities and, consequently, how we might tackle them.”

The Synergi Collaborative Centre will be officially launched in November 2017.