The Round-Up – August 2021

Hello, and welcome back to The Round-Up!

August is traditionally a slightly slower month, with summer holidays and the allure of sun and sea dragging people away from their desks and computers. But that’s not to say that I don’t have some exciting bits and pieces to share from across the 8 UKRI mental health networks today.

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Save the date!

September brings us a melding of the minds, with the fantastic TRIUMPH-led, cross-network event coming up. Alongside keynotes from Kay Tisdall, Rory O’Connor and Julie Cameron, there will be a poster session (with a £100 prize!), numerous Ask the Expert sessions and ample opportunity for ECRs to present their work to their peers. This is being supported by Emerging Minds, eNurture, MARCH and the Loneliness & Social Isolation network and the #MentalHealthResearchMatters team.

It’s going to be a great one, make sure not to miss it! For more info on the program, and to register for the event click here. And if you are an ECR and want to submit a poster, click here. To submit an abstract, click here.

And just to wet your whistle for this event, why not watch the recording of the recent Emerging Minds webinar looking at young people’s mental health priorities during and beyond Covid-19? In this webinar, the CoRay team share an up-to-date summary of the evidence base on how the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 11-16 has been affected by the pandemic and what the priorities are now for young people.

Or if you’re an Early Career Researcher who is interested in Loneliness and Social Isolation and just can’t wait until late September to throw your hat into the network-shaped ring, why not join a network for ECRs researching loneliness? Loneliness & Social Isolation network members Phoebe McKenna-Plumley and Catrin Noone coordinate the research network for Masters, PhD, and early postdoctoral researchers to build a community, share ideas, and develop pathways to collaboration with other early career loneliness researchers. If you’re interested, you can get in touch with them at

The good news for Early Career Researchers continues this month, as I insert a not-so-subtle and shameless plug for an upcoming feature on the MentalHealthResearchMatters website. In the coming months, we will be launching an ECR section on our website, which will host a variety of resources from across the networks, providing a central hub for all ECR related ongoings and content from across the 8 networks. This will be kicked off by a two-week series where we look back at the event held in December for ECRs which focused on funding, tips, advice and open science principles. There is a lot of great content from that 2 day event, and it seems a crying shame to not re-share it. So stay tuned! Now back to the regularly scheduled programming…

Funding opportunities

SMaRteN have announced the launch of their new Co-Creation project. Starting October 2021, SMaRteN will support a different researcher each month, to connect with students and complete a set of online co-creation activities. This is a really fantastic opportunity for a researcher who is passionate about engaging students in their research. But be quick! The deadline for applications is Monday 30th August. You can find all of the details here. SMaRteN will support you to recruit and engage the students and will provide small awards of up to £300 to facilitate this activity – this will be paid directly to the students participating in your co-creation activities.  

Following along with the ECR theme which seems to be running throughout this update, it’s not too late to apply for VAMHN’s fourth round of the Early Career Researcher (ECR) Training Bursary Scheme, which aims to support junior researchers to attend training courses, research placements at institutions other than their own, and conferences. Applicants will be assessed on their funding needs as well as their case for support. The maximum bursary value is £250. This round is currently live with a deadline of 1 November 2021 at 5pm. For further information and how to apply, visit this page.

A reminder that Emerging Minds have launched their third and final network funding call – ‘The Big Question’. This call focuses on why even when we know ‘what works’ isn’t this necessarily implemented in policy and practice? How do we improve evidence-based decision making? To learn more about this funding call, join the network for a webinar on Monday 27th of September from 11am-1pm, which will highlight existing research and evidence on this topic and share priorities identified by policy makers and commissioners of services, as well as the priorities of parents, carers, and young people.

Keep and eye out for Closing the Gap‘s Impact Accelerator award, which is an amazing opportunity to speed up the impact of your research! Apply for the IAA & give yourself a chance to receive funding which will allow your research findings to be communicated, translated & accelerated to users & moved forward – helping your research to have a real world impact. All info for this will be coming in September, so make sure you follow Closing the Gap on twitter so it doesn’t slip by you.

The Closing the Gap collaboration fund is also live and open, and they invite proposals for projects to support and encourage emerging collaborations around severe mental ill health. Find more information here.

Read and learn

Closing the Gap have just published a pre-print about the digital divide in people with SMI. The findings were quite shocking – 42.2% of people who took part in the study lacked foundation skills whereas the figure is about 16% in the general population. Read the pre-print here.

I recently sat down with some MARCH network members to have a chat about their projects and the involvement with the network. These include Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, chair of the Special Interest Research Group ‘Interdisciplinary Research Methods’, and Dr Karen Burnell and Dr Paul Everill, who lead the plus fund project ‘Developing guidelines for involving people experiencing mental ill-health in heritage projects’. A massive thank you to all three for being such fascinating interviewees, and we’ll be sharing those conversations soon on the #MentalHealthResearchMatters website.

Additionally, MARCH have shared a very apt paper called Creative cross-sectoral collaboration: a conceptual framework of factors influencing partnerships for arts, health and wellbeing. Have a read here.

eNurture have been sharing some essential reading from eNurture grant recipient Dr Aiman El Asam, who was one of the recipients of an eNurture grant in their first funding round in 2019 for his project ‘Vulnerability, Online Lives and Mental Health: Towards a New Practice Model’. In this blog post, Aiman outlines what his team has achieved with the support from eNurture.

Now I was experiencing online life more as young people know it. As a researcher this has provoked many thoughts.

Dr Aiman El Asam

On top of that, the eNurture team have collated some innovative research articles to keep you up to date from across their grant holders, leadership team and much more! All articles focus on the impact of the digital environment on the mental health of children and young people. Dive in here.

The cherries on the cake

And just in case you didn’t think you’d be seeing enough of the TRIUMPH network in September, there is another – yes, another! – event which they are hosting on the 15th of September at 2-4pm, entitled ‘Understanding and preventing youth suicide’. Further details on this webinar are TBC, but make sure to save the date and keep checking this page for further updates from the TRIUMPH team.

And if you’re feeling a little nostalgic, join Closing the Gap as they take a walk down memory lane, as they revisit some old events and funded projects on their twitter feed. It’s so important to pause and look back at all of the fantastic work that has occurred over the last 18 months, and appreciate everyone’s tremendous work during such difficult times.

That brings another edition of The Round-Up to a close. Keep an eye on the #MentalHealthResearchMatters website for further updates! Thanks for reading, we’ll see you next month.