Exciting new opportunities for mental health research

10 Nov 2022

Tackling the barriers to getting involved in mental health research is the aim of three exciting new opportunities open to all those working in mental health in the North Thames region.

Funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR), through a programme called Mental Health Research for All (MH-ALL), the new opportunities are aimed at people at all levels, from those who have never been involved in research before to those looking to develop and further their research career.

Anyone who works in or with mental health services can apply, including staff from NHS Trusts, local government, public health, social care, or community care. The programme is particularly keen for applications from people working in mental health in East London and Essex, from candidates from minoritised communities and in roles in mental health and social care with limited opportunities to engage in research.

Professor Peter Fonagy, who co-leads the MH-ALL programme, said: “These new opportunities are an important step in ensuring that all patients and all staff are able to benefit from getting involved in research, irrespective of where they are based, what their previous experience, social background or diagnosis may be. We want to encourage as many staff as possible to apply for these opportunities.  We would like to see more research taking place all across our region.”

Staff who have little or no background in research can apply for six-month part-time internships, which will give them funded time out from their current role to join a team working on an active research project. They will gain hands-on experience of how a research project is delivered and develop key skills. Their salary will be covered for the period of the internship, and they will receive training to become a research champion, provided through the North Thames Applied Research Collaboration (ARC-NT) Academy.

For staff who have some previous research experience, the programme is offering part-time career development fellowships, running for either six or twelve months. These will allow staff funded time out from their current role, to develop a proposal for a PhD or to apply for other funding. They will receive advice and support from established researchers and research skills training. The research can cover any area of mental health care (except dementia, which the NIHR supports through a different programme).

More experienced staff who have already been involved in research have the chance to take their ideas forward through a ‘Springboard’ grant. They can apply for up to £10k funding to disseminate research they’ve already undertaken, take existing research on to the next stage or to develop a new idea. The funding can cover, for example, publication of results, attendance at a conference or feasibility studies. All research should be focusing on the needs of the local community in any area of mental health care, except dementia.

The three-year MH-ALL programme aims to tackle the barriers to mental health care research participation, both for service users and for staff, and to increase the amount of mental health research taking place across the North Thames region.

Applications for internships close on December 5 and for the fellowships and Springboard grants on December 12. Anyone interested can get more information and help with their application through webinars being held throughout November. For informal queries please contact mh-all@ucl.ac.uk 

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