Build your network
Research into mental health happens within NHS Trusts, Mental Health trusts, and local authorities. Research networks also exist to connect practitioners working in these contexts with researchers who are based within universities. If you are employed by an organisation where research is not happening at the moment, it's a good idea to approach the applied research collaboration (ARC) or biomedical research centre (BRC) nearest you to establish links with people who are carrying out research. Through these organisations and the connections you will develop, you will start to hear about research that is happening in your area, opportunities you can take advantage of, and funding calls which could support your own research ideas.
Research networks bring together researchers who are working in similar areas. The UKRI Mental Health Research Networks make funding calls which support researchers doing studies in particular areas.
NIHR BRCs are collaborations between universities and NHS organisations (including some mental health trusts) that bring together academics and clinicians to translate lab-based scientific breakthroughs into potential new treatments, diagnostics and medical technologies.
- The Maudesley BRC is open to secondments and placements for people who are currently based elsewhere.
- Oxford Health BRC.
NIHR ARCs support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets the needs of, local populations and local health and care systems. They have a focus to work across the NHS, public health, social care and the voluntary and community sector. ARC South London and ARC East of England have a particular mental health focus and in February 2022 11 of the ARCs received additional funding under the NIHR's Mental Health Research Initiative.
The Mental Health Translational Research Collaboration (MH-TRC) brings together the NIHR Infrastructure (Biomedical Research Centres and Clinical Research Facilities) with their equivalents in Scotland and Wales active in the space of experimental medicine and early-phase clinical trials in mental health. Training, capacity development, and mentoring the next generation of future leaders and academics in mental health is a key priority for the MH-TRC.
Each national school is a unique collaboration between leading academic centres in England, carrying out outstanding research in their respective fields. Research funded or supported by NIHR Schools is applied across the country to meet the needs of policymakers, practitioners and the public.
- School for Social Care Research: Its focus is to develop the evidence base to inform and improve adult social care practice in England by commissioning and conducting internationally leading research.
- School for Public Health Research: Its aim is to increase the evidence base for cost-effective public health practice.
- School for Primary Care Research: It collaborates on cutting edge, topical primary care studies that have an impact both at policy level and in general practices around the country.
“Get in touch with the R&D department in your trust. They’ll be aware of the studies that are going on and they’ll be able to put you in touch with the Principle Investigators of those.”
– Martin Webber, Professor of Social Work