Who we are and how we work
The Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) is part of England's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
We are run by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and the University of Manchester. The director of the MHRN is Professor Til Wykes, a professor of clinical psychology and rehabilitation at the Institute of Psychiatry. She was instrumental in setting up the MHRN in 2003.
We work with around 60 NHS Trusts in England that run mental health services. We help research teams find mental health professionals who work in these services who are willing to work with them to recruit the people they care for as participants in projects. All these research projects aim to improve treatment and care, or to find out more about different mental health problems. We offer support to projects run by research teams based at any university in England as long as the project meets the MHRN’s criteria (see Information for researchers pages). However, more than 30 universities are formally involved with the Network (see Universities page). We also offer support to projects that are sponsored by industry.
Our coordinating centre staff are based at the Institute of Psychiatry in south London and at the University of Manchester, and we work through eight regional offices called hubs, each one led by a small team of experienced researchers and mental health professionals working in local universities and services.
Our hubs are home to our clinical studies officers, a workforce dedicated to supporting research projects by identifying and recruiting eligible participants and negotiating with NHS Trusts on behalf of a study team. Many of our clinical studies officers are based within NHS Trusts and they often work alongside research and development staff. Each hub also has an e-science officer offering specialist IT support and advice to researchers.
Involving people with experience of mental health problems and their families
One of our priorities is to give people with experience of mental health problems and their families the opportunity to get involved in the studies we support.
Each of our local hubs works with local service user groups and carers who have a say in running that part of the network, and can also advise researchers about individual projects.
We also run two expert organisations – Service Users in Research and Families/Friends and Carers Together in Research (FACTOR). Both of these are based within our coordinating centre.
Part of a suite of clinical research networks
We are one of a number of clinical research networks in England that are part of the National Institute for Health Research and exist to help research teams run studies and trials within the NHS. Another five networks offer support to research projects that focus on other health specialisms. They are cancer, stroke, diabetes, medicines for children, dementias and neurodegenerative diseases.
The NIHR Primary Care Network supports projects concerned with disease prevention, health promotion, screening, early diagnosis and the clinical management of long-term conditions. Local Comprehensive Research Networks throughout the country support trials and studies about all other health problems and diseases.
The work of all these networks is coordinated through the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre. You can find out about every study supported by all the networks through the publicly-accessible NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database.
page last updated 11 October 2010