Mental Health is a strategic priority for NHMRC. The Special Initiative in Mental Health will support a multidisciplinary, nationally focussed team to establish a national centre for innovation in mental health care as a collaborative network across Australia that will undertake innovative high quality implementation research to improve health outcomes and outlooks for people living with mental illness in defined areas of need.

The Special Initiative in Mental Health (SIMH) will operate as a virtual network across Australia, coordinated by a single institution, through a series of flagship programs and be open to a broad membership of researchers, health care services, carers and consumers in mental health to facilitate innovative service delivery across Australia.

The objectives of the SIMH are to:

  •  focus (at least initially) on the following outcome areas (core research themes):
    • improving experience of care through more effective and innovative models of care and health system redesign, and
    • reducing early mortality through evidence-based strategies for addressing physical, behavioural, psychological and other determinants.
  • foster innovative, multidisciplinary approaches to mental health by bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders with lived experience and professional expertise to define the issues, provide evidence for solutions, deliver improved health outcomes and outlooks for people living with mental illness, and
  •  engage and develop the next generation of mental health research leaders.

To achieve the objectives of the SIMH, the applicants should clearly indicate:

  • how the centre will be established as a national network across jurisdictions, institutions, existing research centres and delivery services
  •  how the proposed structure of the centre (e.g. program and sites) will support outcomes in the identified areas, including not limiting to specific conditions or symptoms
  • how clinical, health services and public health research with a translation/implementation focus would account for a majority of the centre’s work
  • how the co-design and development of projects are undertaken with a diverse range of stakeholders, drawing on the expert knowledge of researchers, policy makers, health statisticians/economists, clinicians, service providers and community organisations as appropriate, as well as the lived experience of consumers and carers
  • the involvement of researchers at various career stages and mentorship opportunities, including interdisciplinary mentorship, to build workforce capacity
  • how health outcomes will be measured and evaluated over time
  • sustainability and financial viability beyond the initial funding of five years, and
  •  a clear and robust governance structure that oversees how the SIMH will be managed. This might include, but is not restricted to, steering committees, scientific advisory groups, ethics advisory boards and national, regional and local coordinators.

The intended outcomes of the SIMH are:

  • long term partnerships between research, health care and service delivery to translate research findings into improved outcomes
  • developing and extending widespread collaborative networks in Australia, and
  • building and developing mental health research capacity.

Peer Review Information

You can find information on the peer review process in the Special Initiative in Mental Health Peer Review Guidelines. These are available for download at the bottom of this page.

Grant at a glance

Level of funding


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