GW4 Crucible grants seed funding for five mental health research projects

August 15, 2022

Seed funding has been awarded to five collaborative GW4 Crucible projects that aim to tackle the challenges of poor mental health and autistic identity.

GW4 Crucible offers future research leaders a six month leadership development programme and the opportunity to come together with their peers to consider new interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to research and its impact.

The successful applicants all stem from this year’s programme, which had the theme ‘Building Back Better: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing Research’.

One in four people in the UK experience mental ill health each year, with growing concern this could worsen due to issues such as Covid-19, climate anxiety and racial inequalities.

GW4 granted more than £21K in total to the following projects:

  1. Establishing a sustainable interdisciplinary network of GW4 university staff to bring about positive change in the higher education community for improved mental health
    Led by Dr Rachel Paskell (University of Bath), this project aims to establish a sustainable GW4 university staff network from different backgrounds and disciplines to better understand poor mental health in the higher education staff community, what is currently being done, and further needs.
  2. Hystories: Amplifying women’s voices for better outcomes in reproductive mental health – A journey through menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
    Led by Dr Siobhan Mitchell (University of Exeter) and Dr Kayleigh Easey (University of Bristol), the group seeks to understand more about the unique mental health needs of women at key stages of reproductive transition, to promote women’s narratives and identify ways of amplifying these voices to establish and facilitate opportunities for support.
  3. Mental health in schools: Multidisciplinary conversations about what it is and why it matters
    Led by Dr Rachel Wilder (University of Bath) and Dr Katie Howard (University of Exeter), this project intends to investigate policy and funding in and through schools, by developing interdisciplinary conversations and an intersectoral network focused on mental health in education.
  4. Towards a transdisciplinary archiving methodology for mental health: piloting a ‘time capsule’ of pandemic mental health for now and the next crisis
    Led by Dr Chris Sandal-Wilson (University of Exeter), this group aims to develop a transdisciplinary methodology for archiving experiences during Covid-19 and a prototype ‘time capsule’, to evaluate whether engaging with the past can help communities build back better mental health.
  5. ‘My autistic brain’: How neurobiological narratives shape the identity of autistic adults
    Led by Dr Josie Henley (Cardiff University), this project aims to improve understanding of whether and how autistic individuals develop and deploy neuro-narratives, by examining how autistic adults understand the neurobiological basis of their condition and how this shapes their self-identity.

Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, GW4 Alliance Director, said: “The panel were very impressed by this year’s applicants. The scope of these successful projects demonstrates the value in bringing early career researchers together from across disciplines and institutions, offering them a platform to engage in new conversations, and to forge new interdisciplinary approaches to research.

“This seed funding is intended as a stepping stone to large-scale collaborations and these projects certainly have the potential to advance future research, which is really encouraging.”