NIHR Imperial BRC Theme Lead appointed to a national role aimed at tackling addiction and improving treatment outcomes

Anne Lingford Hughes
Anne Lingford Hughes

Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes, Professor of Addiction Biology and Head of the Division of Psychiatry at Imperial College London and Consultant Psychiatrist at Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust, who is also the NIHR Imperial BRC Theme Lead for Brain Sciences, has been named as the UK Government’s new Addiction Mission Chair.

Drawing on a wealth of clinical and academic experience, Professor Lingford-Hughes will spearhead efforts to develop research infrastructure and make the UK a leading location for researching and deploying innovative approaches, medicines and technologies to combat drug addiction.

The role is one of three healthcare mission chairs established to drive progress and innovation in response to some of the biggest healthcare issues – with the two other chairs focusing on mental health, and cancer.

Tackling drug harms

Commenting on the appointment, Professor Lingford-Hughes said: “I am excited and honoured to begin my role as Chair of the Addiction Mission and look forward to achieving its goal of enhancing addiction research throughout the UK to address the immense unmet need of improving treatment outcomes. The mission will strive to incentivise the development of innovative and effective new treatments, technologies, and approaches to support recovery, and reduce the harm and deaths addictions can cause.

“I am determined to bring together representatives from academia, NHS, 3rd Sector organisations, industry, charities, lived experience groups and government partners from across the UK to collectively address the current barriers to innovative addiction research and create a pioneering, national capability to test and trial all types of new approaches in all service providers in the UK.”

Professor Lingford-Hughes added: “The Addiction Mission will work alongside the Mental Health Mission and its investment in mental health research and infrastructure to ensure our approaches can meet the needs of those with addiction and comorbid mental health conditions.

“I want to make the UK a place where researchers and innovative companies in addiction can thrive and partner effectively with NHS and 3rd sector treatment delivery services to design, research and deploy novel treatments and technologies which effectively tackle the scourge of drug addictions, improving the lives of those affected, and reducing the harms to the individual, their family and friends and wider society.”

The announcement of the new Mission Chairs comes as part of the Chancellor’s Life Science for Growth Package. Professors Kathryn Abel, from the University of Manchester, and Husseini Manji, from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, have been appointed to co-Chair the Mental Health Mission. Professor Peter Johnson, from the University of Southampton, will Chair the Cancer Mission.

As part of the new Addiction Mission Chair, the National Institute for Health and Care Research will make £10m package of funding awards available (through the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme) to create valuable, innovative tools to help treat people with opioid and cocaine addictions and aid in their recovery.


  • Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes
    Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes
    Chair in Addiction Biology