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Apply for our Fellows Award

Who can apply Early-career researchers

Funding period3 years

Funding amount £225,000

Research area Relevant to mental health

The Fellows Award supports the best and brightest early career scientists and clinicians as they establish their independence.

We support researchers, from all disciplines, around the world who are asking challenging questions that will contribute to transformative advances in mental health research. Research can be based in the laboratory, clinic or field, and may involve experimental, clinical, theoretical, social science or medical humanities approaches. It must be relevant to the cause, treatment or prevention of mental illness.

In our 2017 funding call, we are pleased to announce that in addition to our existing MQ Fellows Award, we are offering 3 co-funded Fellows Awards. We have partnered with:

  • Arthritis Research UK – the leading authority on arthritis in the UK
  • Autistica – the UK’s leading autism research charity
  • The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute – an organization which focuses on severe mental illness, to co-fund one Fellow based in a Low and Middle Income Country focused on neuropsychiatric genetics

This is the second year we are partnering with Arthritis Research UK. Together, we recognise the significant mental health burden that musculoskeletal disease can bring, in particular as a result of chronic pain, and the impact that this can have on quality of life. For this award we would encourage applications that examine mental health conditions associated with musculoskeletal disorders.

In 2017, we have also partnered with Autistica. Both MQ and Autistica understand that mental health problems are highly prevalent in autism, and that understanding and tackling these problems is a research priority for the autism community. For this award we are seeking applications targeted towards novel research into mental health issues directly associated with autism.  

Additionally, MQ has partnered with The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute. The Stanley Center focuses on severe mental illness and has recently expanded collection efforts in Africa and other Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). This award will support activity targeted towards novel research into mental health issues by offering a Fellows Award to an early-career scientist based in a LMIC focused on neuropsychiatric genetics.

In supporting early career investigators, MQ aim to complement on-going efforts to nurture the academic research leaders of tomorrow.  We are seeking Applicants who are establishing their independence.  Awardees will join a community of MQ supporters and friends who are championing research progress across all sectors of mental health research.

MQ is committed to catalysing interdisciplinary approaches to transforming mental health research. Consequently, awardees will demonstrate their commitment to interdisciplinary research.

Apply now

Start your application for the MQ Fellows Award

Please contact MQ directly for any queries regarding this funding opportunity or the application under

The deadline for submitting applications is the Tuesday April 25th at 17.00 BST. All applications must be made through the electronic application portal.

A PDF version of the application guidance is available to download here [PDF], please read before beginning your application.

A sample copy of the application form is also available in a word document format, which candidates are welcome to use it as a drafting tool if they wish.

Please ensure you familiarise yourself with our research policies before applying.


What's included in all the Awards?

All MQ Fellows Awards and co-funded Awards will provide up to £75,000 ($95,000) per year for three years, or up to £225,000 ($285,000) in total funding.

These funds may be used for any of the following:

  • As start-up funding for a specific project or transition funding for a current project
  • For direct research costs
  • And/or for salary support
    • For the applicant themselves
    • For research assistance staff as appropriate

Indirect costs, such as non-specific estimated costs, including estates costs, library costs, finance and HR costs, are not eligible for funding.


The MQ Fellows Programme is designed to support early career researchers investigating questions that will ultimately improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness. Applicants will have made an outstanding start to their research career as demonstrated by their research results, publications and career track record to date.

Researchers need to be fully committed to this path and at a career stage that demonstrates this commitment. We are seeking Applicants who are establishing their independence through their intellectual efforts and leadership. Applicants will be able to demonstrate that they are either newly independent or will be independent by the time the awards are finalised (end of 2017).  This award is not suitable for post-doctoral research.

The onus to demonstrate appropriate career stage falls on the Applicant. As there are many ways to make the transition to independent researcher status, successful Applicants will make clear their career path and eligibility for this award, and just how they envision that the MQ award will help them make meaningful contributions to advances in mental health research. Investigators who are fortunate to have other substantial funding commitments (research support in excess of £250,000/year, excluding FEC/ indirects) are asked not to apply and will not be considered to be appropriate for this Programme: 

Eligible Applicants must:

  • Be early career researchers establishing their independence:
    • With a PhD, DPhil, DClinPsy, MBBS, MD or equivalent
    • By end of 2017, have accumulated 3-7 years (whole-time-equivalent) research experience equivalent in nature to postdoctoral research,
    • Be able to show that this award will help establish your independence relative to your current position,
  • Be able to demonstrate in their submitted application:
    • That their proposed project addresses a question relevant to mental health, such as the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of mental illness,
    • Consideration of interdisciplinarity.
  • Be eligible to enter the UK for an interview and to participate in annual meetings, if (s)he is not a British national. Applicants are responsible for obtaining their own visa, if required.
  • Complete and submit their application in English.

Applicants will be considered ineligible if the application form is submitted:

  • in an incomplete state
  • in a format other than requested
  • after the stated deadline

MQ recognises that good research takes place in supportive environments and will assess applications accordingly. The host institution should be well recognised in the field and provide strong support for independent research. MQ will accept applications naming either non-profit or for-profit host institutions, providing that these criteria can be met.  MQ reserves the right to request additional information to assess institutional eligibility.  

The application should be accompanied by a statement of support from the Head of Department of the host institution. The reference should demonstrate why the Applicant deserves a prestigious MQ Fellows Award. It should focus on the nature of the Applicant’s contribution to mental health research and comment on how an MQ Award would be transformational to the Applicant.

Application Process

The 2017 Fellows Awards follow a 3-stage application process.  In addition to the MQ Fellows Awards, in 2017 we are offering three co-funded Fellows Awards. Please note that you can only apply for one of the Awards.

Stage 1: Statement of Intent

Applicants are required to complete and submit a Stage 1 application form. This is comprised of a short Statement of Intent, an abbreviated curriculum vitae form, and a statement of support from the Applicant’s Head of Department. This must be submitted through MQ’s online application system by Tuesday April 25th at 17.00 BST.

The Stage 1 Statement of Intent requires a statement of support and signature from the Applicant’s Head of Department. Please ensure that sufficient time is left to obtain this before the relevant deadlines.

Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by MQ staff, the MQ Fellows Committee and, for the co-funded Awards, representatives from corresponding organisation’s staff and committee.

Applications that do not meet submission criteria will not be processed further.  Applicants will be informed of the results of the Stage 1 review by the end of June, 2017.

Stage 2: Invited Proposal

Shortlisted Candidates will be invited to complete Stage 2 of the process.

At Stage 2, Applicants are asked to propose a Mentor for their project, who can be from any field, and whose research is pertinent to the proposed project. 

Stage 2 Invited Proposals will be further reviewed by the MQ Fellows Committee, representatives from the MQ’s co-funding partners (where relevant) and external reviewers. Those successful at this stage will be invited to attend an interview.

Stage 3: Invited Interview

Finalists will be interviewed by the Committee on 30th or 31st October 2017, in London, UK.

Invited Interviews will be conducted in London, UK and related expenses will be covered by MQ. By submitting a Stage 2 Invited Proposal form, Candidates verify their ability to participate in the interview process as scheduled. Final decisions for the 2017 Fellows Awards will be made by the MQ Fellows Committee, on the basis of Candidates’ Stage 2 Invited Proposal form, external review, and performance at interview.

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