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PhD funding 

Are you a researcher looking for funding? Mental Health Research UK can help. 

Mental Health Research UK has one competitive round of PhD Scholarship awards per year, launched in the Spring, for submission in May, with decisions made in the Autumn to start the following year. The process is as follows:


  • March:                    Advertise Scholarships to our mailing list, and show on website. 

  • Mid May                 Closing date

  • July:                       Panel meets and shortlists. Those not shortlisted informed at once. Referees and Service user reviewers                                       organised.

  • September:            Deadline for referee and Service user reports.

  • Late September:    Panel meets and makes decision.

  • October:                 Remaining applicants notified.


The trustees decide year on year the focus of the awards but one, the Schizophrenia Research Fund John Grace QC PhD Scholarship award, always focuses on Schizophrenia. Applications for our awards need to come from UK Universities. We accept one application per Scholarship award from any one University. 


User and carer involvement 

Best practice will be followed to ensure that service users and carers are involved at all stages with the prioritisation of research topics and the commissioning of research. For example: 

All research project applications will be peer-reviewed by service user reviewers as well as academic reviewers 


If you would like to be advised of our next round of awards, please click on the link to sign up: 

Our awards cover fees and stipend only and are based on the Medical Research Council’s minimum stipend and fees for UK students, currently as follows: 


2021/22 Stipend: Outside London - £15,609 Inside London: £17,609 

2021/22 Fees: £4,500. 


Funding will cease at 4 years or on submission of the PhD thesis, whichever is earlier. 


The fourth year is regarded as a ‘writing up’ year and the grant will be the stipend and thesis fee only. In the event of early submission, a brief application to retain the student for the remainder of the period within the total cost envelope will be considered. College fees will be considered, where advertised by the University, as additional to the tuition fee. 


Mental Health Research UK will consider a small grant towards Travel and Conference allowances, where the student is presenting, subject to prior approval. No contribution will be made towards Research Training and Support grants. 


If your University fees or stipend are different from the above, we will consider these provided you advise us with your application. 


Please note that Mental Health Research UK is an NIHR Non-commercial partner.


Mental Health Research UK aims to make a significant improvement to the lives of people with mental illness, by funding research into causes and cures. We know it is often challenging to find resources to support PhD studentships and that is why we focus our funding on these awards, supporting mental health researchers of the future.

NIHR Non-commercial Partner 

Mental Health Research UK is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) non-commercial Partner. This means the studies that we fund may be eligible to access the NIHR Study Support Service which is provided by the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The NIHR Clinical Research Network can now support health and social care research taking place in non-NHS settings, such as studies running in care homes or hospices, or public health research taking place in schools and other community settings. Read the full policy: Eligibility Criteria for NIHR Clinical Research Network Support.


In partnership with your local R&D office, we encourage MHRUK award holders to involve your local NIHR Clinical Research Network team in discussions as early as possible when planning your study. This will enable you to fully benefit from the support available through the NIHR Study Support Service. To find out more, please visit:

If your study involves NHS sites in England you will need to apply for Health Research Authority Approval. For guidance on submitting an application please visit:

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