GROW Objectives and Impacts

GROW Programme: objectives and impact

The goals of the GROW Programme are to enable early career researchers in mental health to: 

  • work on their professional goals;
  • be part of a network of early career mental health researchers who can support each other during the programme and beyond;
  • be supported to achieve their goals in a fully funded programme;
  • develop professional networks, skills and experience to work across sectors and disciplines and make a difference through mental health and addictions research.

GROW demographics

When selecting researchers for the GROW programme aim to bring together a diverse group of researchers who are all tackling mental health issues from different angles. Our aim is to provide participants with new connections, tools, and insights into their research area by learning from others and contributing their experience as well.

In addition, we are aiming to connect researchers across the United Kingdom, particularly focusing on researchers working in areas and institutions currently under represented in mental health and now addiction research.

An overview of the demographics of the 75 GROW participants as of 2024, is seen in the charts below.

The statistics for profession/academic area represent cohorts 2, 3 and 4. The statistics for geographic location are for all four cohorts.




We approach assessment of impact with qualitative and quantitative surveys, and anecdotal feedback. Below is a chart tracking the responses to the first four survey questions through time:

  • Q4 - I feel I am working towards clear professional goals.
  • Q5 - I feel part of a supportive network with my peers in mental health research across the UK.
  • Q6 - I feel confident and able to work across sectors and disciplines.
  • Q7 - I have the networks, skills and experience to make a difference to children & young people's mental health.


We also use softer measures of impact which are individual and hard to quantify. For example, we are in touch with all alumni and often get reports of career direction changes which have come about as a result of the confidence GROW, specifically the coaching element, has provided to help people achieve their aims within the mental health research field.

Increasing impact

As a result of our evaluation process, we have identified the coaching sessions as one of the key parts of the programme which participants felt really had a positive impact on their career development. In the first cohort we have therefore increased the coaching offer from four to five sessions, and have provided alumni with the opportunity to have follow-up coaching sessions. This is something we are keen to continue going forward.

We have also acted on the incredible impact we have seen of participants being part of a supportive network of peers. In 2023 we introduced our GROW Gathering. This was an in person meeting in London including the current cohort at the time and as many alumni as wished to / were able to attend. This was the first time cohorts had mingled and was successful, generating future work connections. We will be holding the event again in 2024.

Testimonials from our GROW programme alumni

Evaluation Reports

Cohort one was originally run as part of the Emerging Minds Network. An overview of the first cohort can be found on the Emerging Minds website at this link: GROW Researcher Development Programme

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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