Applications open for second round of Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant

10 February 2020

Applications are now open for the 2020 RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant, named for an elected RCVS Council member who tragically passed away in 2017.

This is the second year of a five-year commitment in which the £20,000 grant will be awarded, to fund research that focuses on mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary professions, including areas such as prevention, diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

“We were very impressed with the range and number of proposals last year and we are looking forward to seeing what this year’s applicants will propose. We know that incidents of mental ill-health are disproportionately high in the veterinary professions and mental wellbeing research specific to the veterinary professions is incredibly important for identifying gaps in provisions and outreach, and developing interventions that can support every member of the veterinary team,” says Lizzie Lockett, RCVS CEO and MMI Director.

“We are encouraging anyone interested in applying for this grant to start considering topics they want to explore and that they think could contribute to the growing evidence-base on veterinary mental health.”

Dr Kate Stephen pictured with Sarah Brown's familyScotland’s Rural College (SRUC) was awarded the inaugural grant and Dr Kate Stephen (pictured right with Sarah's mother and sister), a Behavioural Scientist at SRUC’s Epidemiology Research Unit, is leading the project, which aims to identify how better to promote job satisfaction and to break the cycle of negative thoughts and poor mental wellbeing identified amongst farm vets.

On being awarded the grant, Kate said: “It was an honour to win the first year of the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant.  The grant has made it possible to find out directly from vets about what gives them most satisfaction about their work and how they cope with the challenges.  It has been interesting to hear about experiences of large animal practice and we are grateful to all the vets who have participated so far.  We hope, in the next stage of the project, to collate their advice and to develop and test an intervention that they have recommended.  Ultimately, we hope that this will be of benefit to livestock vets around the UK.”

Applications for the grant are welcome from individuals at all stages of their research careers, including those who have not previously been published. Researchers must be affiliated with a university and ethical approval must be in place.

Applicants should submit a proposal relating to any aspect of mental health or wellbeing in the veterinary professions. Proposals should be a maximum of 3,000 words and include aims, methods, ethical considerations, proposed timelines, and a bibliography. Any academic literature referred to within proposals must be accurately referenced.

The successful applicant will be informed in May, with the recipient receiving their award at Royal College Day, which takes place in London, on Friday 10 July 2020. They will then be invited to present their research findings at a future Mind Matters Initiative Research Symposium.

Applicants should send their research proposal to Rachel Pascoe, Mind Matters Initiative Officer, at r.pascoe@rcvs.org.uk by 5pm on Thursday 30 April.

For those who would like further guidance on completing their grant applications, the RCVS Knowledge team will be providing a workshop this year on Thursday 27 February. Those interested in attending must register with Rachel by Thursday 20 February. Guidance on how to prepare a research proposal can also be found on the Economic and Social Research Council's website.

More information on the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant can be found on the Mind Matters website.

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