A £10 million funding competition to support outstanding research to advance the understanding and treatment of mental health conditions was launched by charity The Wolfson Foundation yesterday.

The Foundation is particularly keen to hear research proposals into anxiety, depression and adolescent mental health.

UK universities and research organisations are eligible to apply (individually or collaboratively) and it is likely that a single award will be made.

While most evidence suggests that the rate of mental illness is on the rise, the research charity MQ reports that research in this area only receives 5.8% of the UK health research budget.

The innovation competition has the backing of major mental health charities such as Mind, SANE, Mental Health UK, Place2Be and Rethink Mental Illness.

Wolfson, a charity awarding grants to support and promote excellence across a wide range of fields including health, education and science, is convening a panel of leading international experts in mental health from outside of the UK to review proposals.

Applications can request funding for:

- Endowment of chairs or posts, and programme costs for up to 5 years
- Attracting key talent in the field to work in the UK
- Training early career clinical researchers
- New research facilities or equipment

Research should focus broadly on anxiety and depression. Particular interest will be shown in proposals relating to adolescent mental health as well as those drawing on insights from other areas of medicine.


"The distress caused by mental ill health is hard to overstate – for both individuals and their families, with a wider detrimental impact on the economy and society at large," said Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation. 

"We are excited to be able to make this call for applications in a field of research which has historically been underfunded. There is currently an unparalleled national discussion about the causes and impact of mental ill health."

"We have been keen to define the Initiative broadly to allow research institutions to set out their own visions of how they would spend £10 million to greatest effect.”

Institutions wishing to apply to the Wolfson Foundation’s new mental health initiative should email an outline description of the proposal to the Wolfson Foundation office by Friday 11 January 2019.