Dr Robert C. Stewart

Senior Clinical Research Fellow

  • Division of Psychiatry
  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Contact details



Division of Psychiatry
University of Edinburgh
Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Post code
EH10 5HF

PO Box 148

Post code


I am a practicing psychiatrist and MRC Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Global Mental Health. I am currently based full-time in Lilongwe, Malawi, where I am seconded to Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit (https://meiru.lshtm.ac.uk). I am Co-I and in-country mental health lead on Generation Malawi and Healthy Lives Malawi.

I have been involved in mental health research and capacity development in Malawi since 2005, including 2 periods full-time in the Department of Mental Health, College of Medicine (2008-12 and 2018-2019). My research focus has been on the mental health of mothers and associations with infant growth and development. I conducted qualitative and quantitative studies in Malawi with supervision from Professor Frances Creed (UofManchester) and Prof Atif Rahman (UofLiverpool). I completed my PhD by Publication at Uof Edinburgh in 2016.

I worked as an NHS consultant perinatal psychiatrist in Manchester and Edinburgh and currently practice at St John of God Hospitaller Services, Lilongwe.

I am a founding trustee of the Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (www.smmhep.org.uk)that has provided psychiatry teaching to over 700 Malawian medical students since 2006.  SMMHEP has received >£1million funding from Scottish Government. SMMHEP established an Annual Malawi Mental Health Research and Quality Improvement Conference; to date, 7 annual conferences have been held. Whilst I was Head of Department of Mental Health at COM, SMMHEP supported the establishment of an MMed (Psychiatry) postgraduate programme. Prior to 2011 there was no postgraduate psychiatry training in Malawi. The first 3 trainees qualified in 2017 and four new trainees commenced the programme in 2017/18. 

From 2018-19, I was country director for the Wellcome-funded African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), a capacity building collaboration between University of Zimbabwe, Addis Ababa University, University of Malawi, University of Cape Town, KCL and LSTM. I continue to co-supervise 4 AMARI PhD fellows, one of whom is adapting a psychological intervention for perinatal depression in Malawi. 

I was country lead for a University of Edinburgh MRC-funded pump-priming grant to develop research collaboration in Malawi (NESP, PI Prof Andrew Mcintosh). With this funding, we launched the African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (www.aammh.org), a pan-African collaboration aiming to improve maternal mental health in Africa through education, advocacy and service development.


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BSc (Hons), MBChB, MRCPsych, MRes (Public Health), PhD

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych)  2003

Founder member and trustee of the Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP) Registered Charity SC039523, 2007 ongoing

Founder member and interim convener of African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (AAMMH), representative on committee of Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (GAMMH), 2016 ongoing

Postgraduate teaching

Contibution to Critical Perspectives on Mental Health course (Dr Sumeet Jain, School of Social & Political Science)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Co-supervior to 4 University of Malawi PhD students funded by Wellcome DELTAS-funded African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI)

Research summary

  • Maternal mental health
  • Global Mental Health
  • Capacity building in LMIC

Project activity

Generation Malawi is a joint UK MRC and Wellcome-funded study that will establish a multi-generational family/birth cohort through which to study the longitudinal course of long-term mental and physical health conditions, and the pregnancy, early-life and intergenerational effects on their development and life-course progression. Generation Malawi is a collaboration between University of Edinburgh (MRC grant PI: Prof Andrew McIntosh), University of Glasgow (Wellcome grant PI: Prof Amelia Crampin), MEIRU, University of Malawi, LSHTM, University of Bristol and University of Liverpool. Generation Malawi is nested within a broader Wellcome-funded study - Healthy Lives Malawi -- that also includes Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites (HDSS) and a cross-sectional long-term health conditions survey.

Current project grants

Co-I and Malawi lead for Generation Malawi: A study of family, maternal and childhood mental health (MRC GCRF MR/S035818/1, PI - Prof Andrew McIntosh, 2019-24)
Co-I on Healthy Lives - Malawi: Intergenerational Cohort of Chronic Conditions (Wellcome Trust LPS, PI - Prof Amelia Crampin (UofGlasgow) 2019-2025)

Past project grants

Co-I and Malawi lead for A Network For Studying Psychological Resilience In Low-And Middle-income Countries (NESP) (MRC MR/R01910X/1, PI - Prof Andrew McIntosh, 2018-19)

Conference details

Attended and presented at key conferences in perinatal mental health (International Marce Society, World Congress on Women's Mental Health) and International conferences in Malawi (Annual Malawi Mental Health Research and Practice Development Conference; College of Medicine Research Dissemination Conference).


Co-organiser of Malawi Mental Health Research and Practice Development Conference 2011, 2012.

Papers delivered

College of Medicine Research Dissemination Conference 7-8th November 2019, Blantyre Malawi: "Generation Malawi: An intergenerational study of mental and physical health in families in Malawi"(Poster presentation)

Biennial Conference Of The International Marce Society For Perinatal Mental Health, Bengaluru, India 26th – 28th September 2018: “Early stages of a continental alliance: the African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health” (Oral Symposium Presentation).

Biennial Conference Of The International Marce Society For Perinatal Mental Health, Bengaluru, India 26th – 28th September 2018: Kalolo G, Holzer S, Gleadow Ware S, Mwale O, Stewart RC; “A retrospective casenote review of women admitted with postpartum psychosis in Zomba Mental Hospital, Malawi – preliminary data” (Poster Presentation).

7th World Congress on Women's Mental Health, Dublin, Ireland, 6-9 March 2017: “Perinatal severe mental illness in low and middle income countries: challenges and opportunities” (Oral Symposium Presentation).

6th Annual Malawi Mental Health Research and Practice Development Conference, Blantyre, Malawi, 14-16 March 2016: “Antenatal Depression and Infant Outcomes in Malawi” (Oral Presentation).

5th Annual Malawi Mental Health Research and Practice Development Conference, Blantyre, Malawi, 23-25 March 2015: “The impact of maternal diet fortification with lipid-based nutrient supplements on postpartum depression in rural Malawi: a randomised-controlled trial.” (Oral Presentation).

International Marcé Society Biennial Conference on Perinatal Mental Health September 10– 12 2014 Swansea, UK. Boyle B, Stewart RC, Davis J.  An exploratory study of the childbearing and parenting experiences of women with severe mental disorders in Malawi (Poster Presentation).

3rd Annual Malawi Mental Health Research asnd Practice Development Conference April 2013 “Maternal Mental Health in Malawi” (Oral Presentation).

University of Malawi, College of Medicine, 11th Annual Research Dissemination Conference 24 November 2007: “Maternal Depression and Infant Growth – A cross-sectional study from Malawi” (Oral Presentation).

3rd Annual International Mental Health Conference, Institute of Psychiatry, London. 30 August 2006: “Maternal Common Mental Disorder (CMD) and Infant Nutrition – Evidence from Malawi” (Oral Presentation).

Annual Meeting Royal College of Psychiatrists, Glasgow July 2006 – “Working as a volunteer psychiatrist in Malawi” (Oral Presentation).

African Psychiatric Association & Associated Professions Meeting, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia April 2006: “Maternal Depression and Infant Growth in Malawi” (Oral Presentation).