Funding advice and tips for early career researchers

We hosted a fantastic online event aimed at ECRs in collaboration with the eight networks, in December 2020.

There were two things ECRs wanted from a cross-network event: information on funding and networking.

We packed the first event with presentations from four mental health research network representatives and eight MH network plus-fund recipients.

The network reps talks were a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes information about their funding processes, a strong application, and pointers on key selection criteria. These funds are unique opportunities, but there’s plenty we can learn from them about applying for research funding. 

Here, we bring you the recordings of these four talks:

Dr Sian Oram – Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Research Network

The key take-home: read, reread, and check again that your proposal fits with the funding call, and that you’ve been clear to the reviewers how your proposal fits. For example, the VAMHN team were looking to ensure representation from ECRs, survivors, and the third sector.

Find out more about VAMHN’s funded projects here and ECR opportunities here

Emily Lloyd – Emerging Minds

Emily shared feedback and reflections from the reviewers of their first funding call.

The key take-home: the importance of demonstrating valuing expertise, including payment and opportunities for people with lived experiences, and the importance of true co-production from the start – not a last-minute add on.

Find out more about Emerging Mind’s funded projects here.

Dr Alice MacLachlanTransdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH)

For their funding call, TRIUMPH focused on intervention work to improve young people’s mental health and work focused on pathways to impact and further funding. The bar was high to achieve a truly transdisciplinary approach, including co-production with young people.

The key take-home: keep in mind the wide range of expertise and perspectives that the reviewers (including their young people reviewers) when writing applications. What was particularly impressive was how TRIUMPH included young people in their review process, and how useful their feedback was to assess the feasibility of engaging young people with the work.

Find out more about TRIUMPH’s funded projects here.

Dr Ellie Pearce Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Network

Five out of six of their funded projects (and 76% of applications) were led by ECRs. The applications required the inclusion of lived-experience perspectives with many applications, including a person with lived experience as a co-applicant.

The key take-home: complete all sections of the application and make sure that you address all aspects of the funding call.

Check out the Loneliness network’s funded projects here.

Seeing your application through the eyes of the folk assessing it is a valuable ability. Our speakers were kind enough to share their top tips for funding applications. So, we’re sharing their tips for funding applications in this slideshow!