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Building a research community to tackle mental illness

As Chair of the Fellows Committee it is a delight to see four exceptional early-career stage mental health scientists receive the 2015 Fellows Awards.

There could not be a more important time to champion mental health science. The sheer impact of mental illness globally demands action. And exciting scientific developments provide a platform for innovative long-term solutions.

MQ’s Fellows Award has been developed to meet this challenge head on. It is unique internationally – dedicated purely to mental health research. It supports the most promising scientists with ideas that may just help us unlock the major challenges faced equally by people and cultures worldwide.

It does this by removing traditional borders and barriers in a variety of ways:

Crossing disciplines

MQ Fellows can be from any academic discipline that can bring light to the major challenges in mental health. We encourage the exploration of compelling, transformative, research questions from across psychiatry, clinical psychology, neuroscience, molecular biology, social sciences and beyond. Some research projects particularly shine out by creating exciting links between disciplines.

Providing mentorship

The MQ Fellows Award seeks to support people’s careers in mental health – and this is a team endeavor. As early career scientists, the Fellows are setting out on their path into independence, forging their careers in compelling new areas of enquiry in mental health research. Mentors are important in this journey. They can also be from any discipline – indeed many bring a complementary perspective – and can be located anywhere. Some Candidates were notable for having established themselves in a network of mentors and advisors.

Building a community

Fellowship programmes should be about more than just each individual Fellow. Mental health research can be a lonely place – mental health scientists can be the only one of their type or among few in their departments and institutions. Through its Fellows Award programme, MQ is seeking to facilitate a new community of awardees and associates to champion the field. Fellows are connecting with colleagues and embracing new ideas with mentors across institutions. Importantly, they’re all coming together as a network at our MQ Annual Science meeting in London. This meeting is opened to early career researchers in mental health from around the UK in addition to our fellows – and we look forward to our next one in February 2016.

It is a pleasure for us on the Fellows committee to work with MQ in its quest to transform mental health through research. After this round of interviews our committee only wished we had the resources to award more fellowships.

Last updated: 2 June 2016

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