Last week we held our first meeting for all GROW programme alumni – aka: The Great GROW Gathering!
The gathering focused on providing relevant sessions for all the early career researchers in mental health and plenty of time for building those interdisciplinary networks which are so crucial for research. Our current GROW cohort is the third and started in June this year. For the gathering we invited our GROW alumni along to an in-person meeting with our current cohort.
Who was there?
Our GROW programme participants! That is 50 early career mental health researchers from across the UK, coming from a wide range of discipline backgrounds. The first cohort, which was part of the UKRI Emerging Minds network, focused on mental health research with children and young people, whereas our current cohort has a broader mental health research focus on all ages. Bringing everyone together with so many different backgrounds, interests and research areas led to some amazing discussions and conversations. Our coaches were also at the meeting and greatly enjoyed catching up with past coachees.
(most beneficial was) connecting, including with my cohort and others, made new conceptual and methodological connections and also validation and solidarity
What did we do?
We kicked off with a welcome from Cathy Creswell, Jen Martin, Emily Lloyd, and Jessica Goddard from NIHR.
We then went straight into speed networking, mixing up cohorts of GROW participants so people could engage in meaningful introductory conversations with each other. Building networks repeatedly comes up as one of the most important and rewarding aspects of building a mental health research career.
Throughout the day GROW alumni hosted sessions such as:
- research methods beyond RCTs
- fellowship applications
- looking after researchers’ own mental health
- AI and mental health research
- using new technologies in research
- creative methods in research
- mixed methods and mental health research
- representation in mental health research and PPI
After a networking focused lunch break we had sessions run by our GROW coaches Iveta and Clare. These sessions were designed to help build a personal development plan, or to help with prioritisation and planning.
Finally, throughout the day the participants could propose more in depth conversations based on the networking session, a great opportunity to delve more into future research connections and these conversations ranged from co-production, mixed methods and AI in mental health research.
What is next?
Watch this space! We are working on plans for GROW in 2024 and will have news shortly so keep an eye on our Twitter and website.
Check out our Twitter/X account for more action from the day and the thoughts of some of the alumni @MHRIncubator