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News about funding and collaboration opportunities around mental health research.

Last update: 3 May 2022.

Looking Backwards, Moving Forward – Understanding how interventions for anxiety, depression, and psychosis work 

Funder: Wellcome

Awards: Up to £5m, up to 8 years

Deadline: 24 May 2022 (preliminary applications); 13 September 2022 (invited full applications)

This grant call seeks to fund innovative research into the causal mechanisms of effective interventions for anxiety, depression and/or psychosis, to improve understanding of why/how interventions work and to inform the development of new and improved interventions.  

This call focuses on investigating the causal mechanisms underpinning the active ingredients of effective interventions for anxiety, depression and/or psychosis. 'Active ingredients' are defined as those aspects of an intervention that:

  • drive resolution or reduction of symptoms
  • are conceptually well defined
  • link to specific hypothesised mechanisms of action.

Further information can be found here.


Mental Health Award: improving cognitive and functional outcomes in people experiencing, or at risk of, psychosis

Funder: Wellcome

Awards:  Up to £3 million for applications developing interventions, up to 5 years. Up to £1 million for studies testing markers of cognitive functioning, up to 3 years.

Deadline: 5 May 2022

This call aims to improve cognitive and functional outcomes for people experiencing, or at risk of, psychosis, an area of unmet patient need.

Wellcome recently commissioned a review of interventions targeting cognitive impairment in psychosis. It highlighted that "cognitive impairments are a core feature of psychotic disorders and often appear well before the onset of full-threshold psychotic disorder. While psychotic and other psychiatric symptoms generally respond to medication and psychotherapy, cognitive impairments often interfere with full functional recovery, including the ability to achieve vocational success and independent living."

The call looks to: 

  • support the development and evaluation of interventions to improve cognitive and functional outcomes in people experiencing, or at risk of, psychosis, and  

  • increase our understanding of the potential for markers of cognitive functioning to enable risk or treatment stratification for people experiencing, or at risk of, psychosis.

Further information can be found here.


 Mental Health Data Prize  

Funder: Wellcome

Awards: £40,000-£500,000 (6 to 18 months), depending on award phase

Deadline: 5 June

The Wellcome Data Prize in mental health will support collaborative approaches to research into anxiety and depression in young people. Teams in the UK and South Africa will explore existing data to find new insights and build digital tools that enable future research.  

The Prize aims to generate tangible and scalable outputs that support the mental health research community. The overarching question for the Data Prize is: What are the ‘active ingredients’ that make a difference in preventing, treating, and managing anxiety and depression in young people? What works, for whom, in what contexts, and why?

Applicants must submit a research question in an area of their interest. Then, the successful awardees will explore existing datasets to help answer that question while developing their analysis tool.Proposals will be evaluated on impact, innovation and feasibility. Key considerations also include the breadth of skills within teams and how teams plan to involve lived experience of youth anxiety and depression throughout their work.

Analysis can be on aspects of any intervention most likely to be contributing to making the difference in preventing, treating, or managing ongoing mental health difficulties.Primary research is out of scope and proposals should not intend to perform primary data collection.

By the end of the award, teams will have produced:

  • a digital tool to facilitate data analysis in the mental health research community, and
  • the analysis of the datasets they explored.

Mental Health Research UK – PhD Scholarships 2023: Health Inequalities and mental illness. 

Funder: Mental Health Research UK

Awards: 4-year PhD studentship

Deadline: 29 April 2022 (internal UCL deadline), 20 May 2022 (funder’s deadline)

 Mental Health Research UK have announced the 2023 round of PhD Scholarships: The 2023 theme is ‘Health Inequalities and mental illness’.

The call is open to eligible principal and subsidiary supervisors. There should be a minimum of two supervisors and the funder is keen to give the opportunity for a young academic to be subsidiary supervisor.

Each scholarship is funded for four years; This includes fees (UK fee status) and stipend for the first three years, and then stipend and thesis fee only for the fourth year, which is regarded as a writing-up year.

UCL may only submit one application, and therefore we will be running an internal review process for this scheme. 

The internal deadline for applications is 1pm on Monday 25th April. The internal review meeting will take place on the 10th of May. The funder deadline is 20th May 2022.

For the internal triage process, applicants are asked to complete the funder’s template application forms: Application form for the Mental Health Research UK Scholarship 2023 – Health Inequalities and mental illness.

Please submit your application form for internal assessment to the IoMH Research Coordinator a.antunes-martins@ucl.ac.uk by 1pm on Monday 25th April 2022

 Further information:


Mental Health Research UK – PhD Scholarships 2023: John Grace QC scholarship 

Funder: Mental Health Research UK

Awards: 4-year PhD studentship

Deadline: 29 April 2022 (internal UCL deadline), 20 May 2022 (funder’s deadline)

Mental Health Research UK have announced the 2023 round of PhD ScholarshipsThe 2023 theme is ‘Early intervention in psychosis’.

The call is open to eligible principal and subsidiary supervisors. There should be a minimum of two supervisors and the funder is keen to give the opportunity for a young academic to be subsidiary supervisor.

Each scholarship is funded for four years; This includes fees (UK fee status) and stipend for the first three years, and then stipend and thesis fee only for the fourth year, which is regarded as a writing-up year.

UCL may only submit one application, and therefore we will be running an internal review process for this scheme. 

 The internal deadline for applications is 1pm on Monday 25th April. The internal review meeting will take place on the 10th of May. The funder deadline is 20th May 2022.

For the internal triage process, applicants are asked to complete the funder’s template application forms: Application form for The John Grace QC Scholarship 2023 – Early Intervention in psychosis.

Please submit your application form for internal assessment to the IoMH Research Coordinator a.antunes-martins@ucl.ac.uk by 1pm on Monday 25th April 2022

Further information:


The Prudence Trust / UCL Fellowship

Funder: The Prudence Trust

Awards: £ 400,000.00 for 3 years 

Deadline: 7 June 2022

With support from the Prudence Trust, University College London has funding available for a 3-year Fellowship in Children and Young people’s Mental Health. The Fellowship is aimed at clinical and non-clinical researchers with a strong research track-record in the field. The Fellowship will start between 1st Oct 2022-1st Jan 2023.

Research conducted during the Fellowship should be focused on improving the mental health of children and young people (primarily ages 8-25) through prevention or early intervention. Projects should aim to advance understanding of anxiety or depression and build evidence on what works to prevent or treat these conditions. We are interested in projects with clear translational outcomes and projects which look at the impact of both traditional and non-traditional interventions (including but not exclusively social, non-clinical practices). The Fellowship is open to researchers in any discipline (and can be interdisciplinary), but we expect most applicants to be working in applied science, as we hope the research will lead to practical applications and real-life change.

UCL Prudence Trust Fellowships are aimed at talented individuals with a PhD (or equivalent) with 3-7 years of post-doctoral research experience. There is flexibility regarding this time frame for clinical Fellows and those who have taken career breaks. The purpose of the Fellowships is to help build the career of the brightest individuals in the field who have shown commitment to mental health research and to help them on their way to establishing their independence as a Principal Investigator. We want to support individuals who will embrace and benefit from UCL’s networking and interdisciplinary collaboration opportunities and who have the potential to become international research leaders.The Fellowship period of 36 months on a full-time basis. The Fellowship can be undertaken on a part-time basis, and in that instance the term of the Fellowship can be extended accordingly.

Please apply and find full guidance via UCL ROME; Job reference:1883754.


Forces in Mind Trust Grants - Rolling Open Call

Funder: Forces in Mind Trust

Awards: Discretionary

Deadline: Rolling

Established in 2012, the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) allocates funding for projects that deliver long-term solutions to the challenges faced by the Armed Forces community. It seeks to enable all UK ex-service personnel and their families to lead successful and fulfilled civilian lives.

Grant funding is available for high-quality research through FiMT's Mental Health Research Programme (MHRP) for projects that will have demonstrable impact in the field of veterans' mental health. MHRP is delivered through the following three strands: rolling open call, highlight notices and commissioned research.

Funding is also available in other areas that form part of the 'transition' process of service personnel and their families leaving the Armed Forces and returning to civilian life (eg employment/training, wellbeing, support networks and welfare).

Projects funded through FiMT's rolling open call can be in any area of veterans' mental health, however, there is a particular wish to receive applications that respond to FiMT's mental health research priorities. The priorities are:

  • Alcohol and substance misuse, including effective and appropriate interventions.
  • Usefulness of services aimed specifically at veterans (including peer support workers).
  • Methods to improve help-seeking rates and barriers to help-seeking.
  • Efficacy of military and veteran charities to provide effective mental health support.
  • Effectiveness of a 'recovery' based model for the veteran population, including a wider focus on employment and debt management.
  • Impact on families, including aggressive behaviour, violence and domestic abuse.

FiMT is committed to funding research that actively involves ex-service personnel and/or family members at all stages of the research process. Guidance can be found here.


MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Research Grants

Funder: MRC

Awards: n/a (up to 5 years)

Deadline: 25 May 2022

Investigator-led grant funding for research into disorders of the nervous system, including fundamental research normal development and function, and understanding of the mechanism of disease.  Research grants are suitable for focused short or long-term research projects and can support method development or development and continuation of research facilities.

Guidance can be found here.


MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health New Investigator Research Grants

Funder: MRC

Awards: n/a

Deadline: 25 May 2022

Grant funding for research into disorders of the nervous system, including fundamental research normal development and function, and understanding of the mechanism of disease.  

New investigator research grants are aimed to support the transition into becoming an independent principal investigation with support from the host institution.  There is no limitation on length of post-doctoral experience.

Guidance can be found here.


MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Programme Grants

Funder: MRC

Awards: Typically £1m or more; maximum 5-year duration (renewable)

Deadline: 25 May 2022

Programme grants provide large, long-term and renewable programme funding for researchers working in the area of neurosciences and mental health research. They aim to help the medical science community to ‘think bigger’.

Guidance be found here.


MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Partnership Grants

Funder: MRC

Awards: n/a

Deadline: 25 May 2022

Funding for partnerships working to transform the understanding of neuroscience and mental health. Partnership grants are expected to support these research areas, but funds can not cover research costs.

Guidance can be found here.


Evaluating the Implementation of the Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health Provision Green Paper

Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Awards: n/a

Deadline: 25 May 2022

HSDR call 22/25 Evaluating the Implementation of the Transforming Children and Young People's Mental Health Provision Green Paper wishes to commission a national alongside-evaluation of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Provision Green Paper implementation programme to the end of 2024/25.

The Green Paper aims to promote good mental health and wellbeing for all children and young people, providing targeted early intervention for emerging issues and access to appropriate services. An evaluation of the implementation is needed to understand the embedding and impact of changes, including the introduction of mental health support teams in schools and colleges.  

Proposals are sought for well-designed research studies, with strong theoretical grounding, evaluating to what extent, and how, the vision and intended outcomes of the three pillars of the transformation programme (creating Mental Health Support Teams (MHST), piloting 4 week waiting times (4WW) and providing training and support for a Senior Mental Health Lead in schools and colleges) have been achieved, as well as generating evidence-based guidance to support further roll-out of the programme.

The proposed evaluation will include both analysis of routine data sets (such as the Mental Health Services Data Set and the National Pupil Database) and primary data collection from a broad range of stakeholders, including education staff, pupils and parents, MHST staff, service managers and commissioners.

Proposed research studies should be designed to track outcomes and impact up to 2025, however, the proposed evaluation may extend beyond the end of the transformation programme with built-in plans to provide regular, interim learning and reporting. The focus of this national evaluation is England, however, this call does not exclude collaboration with researchers and organisations from other parts of the UK.

Research proposals should be co-produced with national organisations and professional bodies, health and social care services professionals, and service users. Links with health and social care planners and with professional bodies is required to ensure impact and scaling up of any research findings to benefit the wider health and social care systems.

Full guidance can be found here.


Implementing the Mental Capacity Act in Practice (Mental Capacity Assessments)

Funder: NIHR

Awards: n/a

Deadline: 19 July 2022

HSDR call 22/11 Implementing the Mental Capacity Act in Practice (Mental Capacity Assessments) seeks high-quality research on how the Mental Capacity Act (2005) has been implemented in practice across health and social care organisations. The programme welcomes applications for cross-UK studies. The main aim is to provide an overview and evaluation of the implementation of Mental Capacity Act assessments, training and assessment tools, and to understand the impacts on people using health and care services.

The HSDR programme wishes to fund high quality research which evaluates training and assessment tools and other available materials and resources, supporting the implementation and delivery of optimal decision-making and Mental Capacity Act-compliant capacity assessments in any settings.

The research funded will be intended to improve outcomes for people who use services and their supporters, health and social care professionals' practice, the quality and accessibility of services, and the provision of evidence for decision-makers. While there is different legislation in place across nations of the UK (The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000), cross-UK exploration would be welcome.

This funding call welcomes applicants from as broad a range of backgrounds and expertise as possible, including (but not limited to) applied health research, mental health, social work, social care, legal and ethics, philosophy and social sciences. Studies will use a variety of methods which must all be clearly explained and justified, most likely based on a mixed methods approach. There should be a focus on lived experience of people using services, their families, their informal support networks and staff. The following areas of interest are examples of the type of research areas in scope for this call:

  • Overview and evaluation (including accuracy, reliability, usability and acceptability) of tools currently used by health and social care professionals to support decision-making and assess mental capacity.
  • Identification of barriers and facilitators to conducting Mental Capacity Act-compliant assessments of mental capacity, and how these can be overcome.
  • Evaluation of training and educational interventions to improve staff knowledge, confidence and consistency in supporting decision-making, conducting Mental Capacity Act assessments and best interest decisions. This will include looking at issues identified by staff as development gaps, such as dealing with 'undue influence'.
  • Identification and evaluation of the components of an effective assessment of mental capacity to improve consistency in delivery and outcomes of capacity assessments, and to facilitate collaborative multidisciplinary working.
  • Understanding the risks and impact of cultural bias, as well as identifying barriers and enablers to consideration of cultural, ethnic and religious factors in supporting implementation of decision-making and assessments.
  • Evaluation of how the Mental Capacity Act has been embedded (or not) in organisations and practice and the impact on, and experiences of, people using services and their carers.
  • Exploration of differences and commonalities in decision-making and assessments carried out by different professionals and in different contexts, from mental health settings to community and home assessments, and how this understanding can be used to improve practice.
  • Effectiveness of multi-agency working within application of the Mental Capacity Act and understanding how this operates across different health and social care settings.

The HSDR programme supports applied research with the aim of improving health and social care services across the UK. It is open to any methodology, or combination of methods, appropriate to answer the proposed research question(s), and this must be fully explained and justified.

Full guidance can be found here