Mental Health
Research UK

The first UK charity dedicated to raising funds for research into mental illnesses, their causes and cures.

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Since 2008, we have ...











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.

Although only registered with the Charity Commission in 2008, Mental Health Research UK has already made research awards; the first being funded jointly with the University of Nottingham.

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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.

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 annual timeline is as follows:

  • March: Scholarships are advertised via our mailing list and listed on our website.
  • Mid-May: Closing date for applications.
  • July: The panel meets and shortlists applications. Those not shortlisted are informed at once. References and service user reports are organized.
  • September: Deadline for the receipt of references and service user reports.
  • Late September: The panel meets and selects applicants to be offered a scholarship.
  • October: All applicants are notified of the outcome of their application by the end of the month.

Mental Health Research UK makes research awards focusing on research into the causes of, or cures for, mental illnesses.

The specific research topics of interest are selected year-on-year by the Trustees. However, the Schizophrenia Research Fund John Grace QC PhD Scholarship award always focuses on Schizophrenia.

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:

2023/24 stipend: Outside London: £18,662; Inside London: £20,622

2023/24 fees: £4,712

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 being in addition 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.

Applications for our awards need to come from UK universities. Research supervisors must be based at UK universities.

We accept one application per scholarship award from any one university. A university may apply for more than one scholarship if they wish.

Please note that we do not accept any requests for funding from individuals, including current PhD students.

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

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

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.

If your study involves NHS sites in England or Wales you will need to apply for Health Research Authority (HRA) and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) Approval.

Open Access publication of research results

Students can download our application form for open access publication of research results here.

PhD Competition 2025

Mental Health Research UK (incorporating the Schizophrenia Research Fund) is pleased to announce a competition for 2 PhD Scholarships beginning September 2025.

We are inviting applications for PhD scholarships under the theme of maternal mental health. We view this topic in its broadest sense inviting proposals that cover all aspects of mental health during pregnancy and in the first year afterwards. We are interested in proposals that aim to understand causes, risk factors, mechanisms, or treatments. MHRUK does not fund health services research.

John Grace QC scholarship 2025: Maternal mental health

The John Grace QC scholarship should focus on psychotic disorders, including puerperal psychosis.

Application form Application guidelines

MHRUK scholarship 2025: Maternal mental health

The second scholarship is open, and we invite applications on topics such as post-natal depression, developing post-natal family mental health interventions, factors influencing maternal mental health.

Application form Application guidelines

We invite applications from UK Universities for these scholarships. The deadline for applications is midnight on 27th May 2024.

The full terms and conditions can be found here.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please read the guidance above and check our FAQs document. If this does not provide the information that you need, please contact

Please note that for each individual scholarship we can accept only one application per university. A university may apply for more than one scholarship if they wish.

Scholarships Awarded

Find out more about the scholarships that we have awarded.

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