What is BrainWaves?

BrainWaves is a major response to a growing number of young people experiencing mental health concerns. It is led by a group of academics, educationalists and philanthropists.

We focus on evidence-based, multi-sectoral resources to:

  • Aid researchers to discover more about the adolescent brain
  • Equip schools and educational professionals with evidence-based resources to effectively care for young people’s wellbeing
  • Support young people to better understand their wellbeing and mental health


BrainWaves provides a platform for scientific studies to build on the evidence base and develop educational material for the classroom. Our mission is to equip schools with the resources and tools to effectively nurture mental wellbeing amongst young pupils.

Experts at the University of Oxford – an acknowledged global leader in mental health research and large, longitudinal health studies – are creating a cohort of young people from today’s school students and will be following them over several years, providing a unique insight into the adolescent brain and mental health.

What We Do

BrainWaves is a new chapter in adolescent mental health and wellbeing.

We have started working on our long term programme which will combine data from different sources captured from one of the largest cohort studies on adolescents.

BrainWaves will grow into a sophisticated framework over the next 10 years enabling us to venture into genetics, neuroscience and at-scale interventions.

  • There will be a new, rolling research cohort from a diverse group of UK secondary schools. It will provide a crucial evidence base about adolescent mental health
  • Researchers in the UK and globally will have free access to vital data assets, enabling new insights into prevention and treatment
  • Provide evidence-based educational resources for teachers and students
  • Effective interventions will be designed focused on what’s best for young people
Our work will lead to better prevention, education and treatment in adolescent mental health and wellbeing – backed by the best and newest scientific evidence.

Our Organisation

BrainWaves is a long-term research and education collaboration between the University of Oxford (a registered charity), Swansea University and The Day News & Media Ltd, the leading publisher of news and critical literacy content for secondary schools.

It operates with an Oversight Board chaired by Professor John Geddes, with expert partners leading each area of delivery for the project.

The Leadership Team

Our Partners

The University of Oxford is the acknowledged global leader in large cohort studies and the Department of Psychiatry’s portfolio of mental health research was recently recognised as the best in the UK. The department includes international expertise in affective disorders, governance (including ethics and consent), adolescent mental health trials and the management of large-scale data science programmes. BrainWaves is the only international longitudinal study of its kind to use the power of science as a bridge between the research community and the classroom.

The Day is a digital online daily newspaper for young people, designed to encourage debate about serious contemporary issues. Its content has been endorsed by the UK’s Department for Education (DfE) and it has the largest audience of any news brand in the UK in its age group. It is used in UK and international schools by many thousands of teachers every day as part of their lesson planning and schools work closely with The Day to design the best resources. Affiliate schools will form the core of the BrainWaves programme to recruit student volunteers and shape effective in-school courses.

The Population Data Science group, formerly known as the Health Informatics group at Swansea University Medical School, is at the forefront of the increasingly important field of Population Data Science – the science of data about people.
Swansea University is pioneering this science across a range of data-intensive initiatives hosted at the University Medical School. The group, led by Professors David Ford and Ronan Lyons, works locally, across the UK, and internationally to deliver a range of infrastructural, analytical and public engagement initiatives for the safe, socially-acceptable and effective use of population data for public benefit.