In service of society – making big changes to the world we live in

Student hardship 2016

The motto of King’s is to advance knowledge, learning and understanding in the service of society.  We want to be a true force for change.  Thanks to the support of our alumni and the wider King’s community, we have already made a significant impact.  Now, our Principal & President, Professor Edward Byrne, who joined King’s a little over 18 months ago, has launched a new appeal to continue that work.

Help King’s continue to make a positive impact on society

The story so far
King’s played an imperative role in Sierra Leone during the devastating Ebola outbreak.  During the 18-month epidemic, the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership (KSLP) team – under the directorship of King’s alumnus, Dr Oliver Johnson – worked with local partners to stem the spread of Ebola and saved countless lives. They treated hundreds of cases of the disease, set up new isolation units and trained local staff to be part of the response, as well as introducing a new health curriculum and equipment to prevent further outbreaks.  Sierra Leone has now been free of Ebola for more than 90 days.

Our world-leading neuroscience research is another area where, with philanthropic support, King’s makes substantial contributions to society.  Major depression is a significant public health problem. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point.  We have carried out the largest analysis of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for recurrent depression.  Our studies have found that this type of therapy is an effective treatment option in helping to prevent the recurrence of major depression.  We have found that for the millions of people who suffer recurrent depression, MBCT can provide a treatment choice and an alternative to other approaches such as anti-depressants.  Data from these trials showed that those who received MBCT, and in many cases tapered or discontinued antidepressant medication, were 23 per cent less likely to relapse to major depression than those who continued on anti-depressants and did not receive MBCT. 

A focus for King’s, and many other universities, is to enable social mobility through higher education.  Government maintenance grants have been cut, while the cost of rent, travel, food and utility bills continues to rise.  We believe that young people should have equal opportunity to succeed, if they have the talent, regardless of their background. Our award-winning Widening Participation outreach programme, funded with the help of generous alumni, offers a range of scholarships and bursaries that allow the brightest and best students from all walks of life to study at King’s, including those from low income backgrounds, foster care leavers, disabled students and mature students. 

The future…..
The successes we are making in the service of society are without doubt impressive. However, there are many more challenges we need to address.  Please give to the Principal’s appeal to help us continue this work in service of society.