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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is awarding honorary doctorates to Indian psychiatrist and scientist in the field of mental well-being Vikram Patel and Australian computer scientist and expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence Christopher Manning. Prof. Patel receives the honorary doctorate for his outstanding scientific efforts in the field of international health. Prof. Manning is being awarded for his pioneering research contributions in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP). The honorary doctorates will be awarded during the UvA's Dies Natalis on Monday January 9 2023.

Vikram Patel. Credits: Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel

Vikram Patel is professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School. Patel is a renowned psychiatrist and researcher of mental well-being. His work focuses on the burden of mental health problems, their link to social economic disadvantage, and use of psychological interventions to treat common mental disorders such as depression. His research has been published in numerous reputable scientific journals. He is also a co-founder of Sangath, a community-oriented Indian nonprofit organization. This nonprofit is dedicated to research on child development, adolescent health and mental health.

In addition to mental health research, Prof. Patel's work covers a wide range of topics and disciplines including epidemiology, medicine, psychology, neurological disorders, non-communicable diseases, public health, substance abuse, economic evaluation and implementation research. His research influences policy and minimal psychological interventions used worldwide. Also, as a member of several committees in the Government of India, Patel has played a key role in India's first mental health policy program and the design of the National Mental Health Program (2012-2017), as well as several World Health Organization (WHO) committees.

‘Furthermore, Prof. Patel has spent much of his career researching the impact of minimal psychological interventions for people in low- and middle-income countries and the implementation of effective interventions. In addition, he has had great influence at the policy level and managed to emphasize the importance of global mental health,’ say honorary supervisors Claudi Bockting and Reinout Wiers, ‘We are delighted with the awarding of this honorary doctorate, which contributes to the prioritization of mental health worldwide and the contribution of the Centre for Urban Mental Health at the UvA.’

Honorary supervisors are Prof. Claudi Bockting, professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry (Amsterdam UMC, Faculty of Medicine) and Prof. Reinout Wiers, professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Christopher Manning. Credits: Stanford

Christopher Manning

Christopher Manning is professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University. He is also a key player in research on Natural Language Processing (NLP). Some of his most influential contributions include the development of an innovative natural language parsing technology in the early 2000s and the GloVe method for word embedding, a technique for converting text into numbers to understand human language. Since early 2010, his group has been a world leader in the revolutionary developments of Deep Learning for NLP.

With 183,000 citations, he is the world's most cited researcher in the field of natural language processing. In addition, he is a major international player in teaching about NLP, through his textbooks and courses at Stanford. He has further contributed to linguistic theory, for example monographs on ergativity and complex predicates.

‘We feel that this award is of interest to researchers from multiple disciplines: not only in computer science and artificial intelligence, but also toward the social sciences, humanities and law. Manning's work is technically very advanced and has a profound social impact. Consider, for example, the processing of legal texts,’ say honorary supervisors Max Welling and Khalil Sima'an.

Honorary supervisers are Prof. Max Welling, professor of Machine Learning, and Prof. Khalil Sima'an, professor of Computational Linguistics at the Faculty of Science.

Symposium around honorary doctorates

To learn more from these distinguished scientists, the Center for Urban Mental Health and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation are organizing a symposium in Spui25 leading up to the awarding of the honorary doctorates on January 9.  Besides the honorary doctors, expert speakers will join to share their views on mental health and the use of artificial intelligence on a global scale.

Register for the event