Students Staff

19 January 2016

Internationally-renowned professor appointed to strengthen research

Peter Beresford

Professor Peter Beresford

Internationally-renowned and one of Britain's most influential disabled people, Professor Peter Beresford has been appointed as Chair in Citizen Participation at the University of Essex.

Professor Beresford’s strong background as both a researcher and also a long-term user of mental health and other services has made him the perfect fit for the first Chair of its kind in the UK.

The position involves strengthening the research capacity of the School of Health and Human Sciences, focusing on a participatory approach to research. Professor Beresford will aim to build links with patients, service users and their organisations.

“This post is all about the experience of ordinary people including people on the receiving end of public policy and practice to make it work better. We know this makes for cost-effectiveness,” said Professor Beresford. “It also shows a real valuing of people’s own views and ideas which is very important in any modern democratic society at this time of enormous change. This post I believe gives us at Essex a real chance to be at the forefront of this vital development and for me it is a vindication of what someone like me as a mental health service user can achieve.”

Dr Ewen Speed, Research Director at the School of Health and Human Sciences, said: “The appointment of Peter Beresford to this post presents a real opportunity for the School to build upon ongoing work in and around citizen involvement in the fields of health and social care.”

He added: “Professor Beresford has an international reputation in the fields of service user-led research and participation. This combined with the expertise of researchers within the School creates the potential for Essex to become a leading centre of citizen participation research.“

Professor Beresford’s post will also give him the opportunity to support people with their publications and developing research proposals for external funding in association with service user organisations such as Shaping Our Lives.

He said: “It is exciting to be at a place so committed to challenging conventions, which even has a motto – Rebels with a cause. Essex’s commitment to excellence and world-class research is what knocks down the walls between people, places and points of view. Our research changes lives through having a real impact.”

Professor Beresford has also recently been named on Power 100 for 2016, a list of Britain's most influential people with a disability or impairment.  

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