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Our Mission

To fund research that gives hope and improves lives, providing a better future for everyone affected by mental health problems


Our Focus

To fund talented early-career UK-based mental health research scientists whose work will lead to the prevention, early diagnosis, or treatment of mental health problems.

Our Vision

A world where mental health problems are better understood, better prevented, and better treated.



Innnovation: We seek to fund innovative and excellent mental health research that will make a difference to people’s lives.


Inspiration: We want to fund research that gives hope to everyone personally affected by mental health problems and that enables researchers, commissioners, and policymakers to provide a better future for those affected by mental health problems.


Inclusion: We welcome diverse perspectives and seek to ensure input into our work by drawing on a broad range of backgrounds and cultures. 


Integrity: We believe that integrity and trust are the foundation of our relationships with our donors, scholars, volunteers, supporters, and other organisations that we work with.

About Mental Health Research UK


Mental Health Research UK is the first UK charity dedicated to raising funds for research into mental illnesses, their causes and cures. Mental Health Research UK was registered as a charity in 2008 (Charity No: 1125538).

In April 2014 Mental Health Research UK linked with the Schizophrenia Research Fund (SRF). The linking came about as over the years both charities have been awarding joint PhD Scholarships in the field of schizophrenia and the trustees of both organisations had a common interest to develop this association further.

The Trustees of SRF and the Trustees of Mental Health Research UK joined the new board of Trustees which now manages both charities. The association makes the future of Mental Health Research UK more financially secure and ensures that at least two PhD Scholarships can be awarded each year for the foreseeable future.

It is one of the few charities in the UK which gives at least 95% of all donations received to our charitable aim - in our case, research. If you support us, nearly every penny you give is helping to make a difference in the long-term .


Funding for mental health research: the need for increased funding from charitable sources


Investment in mental health research is small in comparison with the burden of illness, whether considered in terms of personal suffering or in terms of the burden on the economy as a whole. There are many mental health charities in the UK that support people with mental illness and those that care for them. Some of these charities also fund research either carried out in-house or externally, but the amounts of money are relatively small. There is no equivalent of Cancer Research UK, The British Heart Foundation, or Diabetes UK to name just three of the major charities in other disease areas that fund research in the UK.

We fund research into:

  • The underlying causes of mental ill health 

  • Treatments for mental health problems 


We do not fund research into autism or dementia. Nor do we fund research that involves laboratory animals.


Details of the type of awards that we make can be found here. We may at times co-fund appropriate research projects with other charities and bodies involved in mental health. We also aim to invest in building research capacity through awards to support PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

Mental Health Research UK: a brief history


Mental Health Research UK came about because of the enthusiasm of three people: Professor Clair Chilvers, Dr Laura Davidson and John Grace QC. Clair Chilvers was Director of the Mental Health Portfolio at the Department of Health and between 2007 and 2011 was Chair of Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, one of the largest providers of mental health services in Western Europe. Barristers John Grace and Laura Davidson had independently established contact with some of the leading UK researchers into the

causes and treatment of mental illness. A meeting was held at the Wellcome Trust in April 2007 and agreement was reached that Clair, Laura and John would work together on this initiative.

Discussion with existing mental health research charities explored the possibility of a joint venture with one or more of these charities to raise funding specifically to fund mental health research.  Rethink agreed to be a partner in this initiative and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed. The early support of Rethink was a significant factor in getting Mental Health Research UK off the ground.

The initial business plan for the charity was funded by grants from the South London and Maudsley Charity and the McPin Foundation. Mental Health Research UK registered as a charity in 2008 and John Grace became chair of trustees who were joined by David Pugh. Early fundraising events included a dinner held at Nottingham University in 2011 by the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire which raised funds for the first PhD Scholarship jointly funded by the University. ‘Ramble for Robbo’ a sponsored walk in memory of veterinary surgeon Mark Robinson who took his own life in 2010 was organised by his great friend Ann Dickinson and raised funds for a second scholarship. Ann became a Trustee.

Following an approach from the Schizophrenia Research Fund the charities linked in 2014 and Lord Neuberger and Professor Nick Rawlins joined the Board of Trustees. John Grace sadly died in 2011 and Clair Chilvers took over as Chair.

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