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What’s the real impact of MQ’s research?

At MQ, we’re committed to funding the research that can have the most impact on reducing the negative effectives of mental illness.

Our research takes a variety of different forms, and spans all sciences from the lab to the clinic – so how can we demonstrate the impact it has for those affected by mental illness?

We adhere to the five key ways AMRC (The Association of Medical Research Charities) outline to show how research is transforming our understanding and treatment of mental health conditions.

1. Generate new knowledge to increase understanding of mental health conditions, and spark new ideas about how to treat them

Sergiu Pasca’s work, modelling parts of the brain to understand schizophrenia,  provides researchers with essential detail into the early stages of brain development. This allows scientists to begin to answer fundamental questions about how mental illness might develop. It also offers the scientific community an experimental approach to study the brain that will reduce the need for studies in animals.

2. Translate research ideas into new products and services, to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions

Andrea Reinecke’s work developing a one-hour treatment for anxiety, has the potential to drastically change how we treat emotional disorders. Her work is testing an ultra-brief, single-session CBT which could then be developed into a highly effective, economic stand-alone treatment. This could lead to a fundamental change in how mental health care is provided, by allowing easy-to-deliver standardised treatment of a higher number of patients with anxiety in a timely manner.

3. Influence policy and other stakeholders to bring about change that will benefit the lives of those affected by mental illness

Rob DeRubeis and Zach Cohen’s work hopes to improve treatment through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme by using an algorithm to better predict which level of care will be right for a particular individual. Rob and Zach have made all their research free and publicly available and have developed clear computing resources to help researchers and clinicians implement their approach. By continuing to refine their methods and drawing on the knowledge of others within their field , Rob and Zach’s powerful algorithm could be rolled out across IAPT services UK-wide, enabling clinicians to accurately recommend which treatments will work for which individuals – so more people can receive the help they need, faster.

4. Stimulate new research via new funding or partnerships to speed up the discovery process and foster innovation 

Ethel Nakimuli-Mpungu was able to use her MQ Award to leverage further funding from Grand Challenges Canada, and in 2016 was awarded a Transition-to-Scale grant. Having secured match funding from MQ was a key element in securing additional funding from Grand Challenges Canada, who require match funding from a ‘smart partner’ who can help scale the innovation and impact of the project.

5. Develop the human capacity to do research, to ensure the best people and resources are available to drive mental health research forward

Susanne Ahmari is pushing technical and conceptual boundaries in her work looking at brain circuits to gain an understanding of OCD. Since receiving her funding, Susanne’s pioneering work has been recognised repeatedly, including with a $1.6 million (£1.2m) award from the National Institute of Mental Health. The award was given under their BRAINS scheme, which supports highly creative and promising scientists who are committed to finding innovative, ground-breaking, and potentially risky research approaches to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illness.

We will continue to ensure that the research we fund offers the biggest possible impact on the lives of those affected by mental illness. You can find out more about our research aims here. 

Last updated: 3 May 2018

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