GMMH receives more than £1.4 million Research Capability Funding (RCF) from NIHR to support ground-breaking research | News and Events

GMMH receives more than £1.4 million Research Capability Funding (RCF) from NIHR to support ground-breaking research

Funding places GMMH third out of 248 NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Boards nationally.

Research & Innovation at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) has been awarded more than £1.4 million in Research Capability Funding (RCF) for 2023/24 (April to March) from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). This is the third largest RCF allocation out of the 248 NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Boards that have been awarded the funding. The award follows a successful 2022/23 for Research & Innovation at GMMH during which total year-on-year NIHR income increased, including six new grants totalling more than £4million over three-to-five years.  

NIHR Research Capability Funding is allocated to NHS organisations that undertake NIHR research to support them to maintain research capacity and capability. GMMH’s £1.4 million award demonstrates the level of research activity happening within the Trust, which continues to set GMMH apart from many mental health Trusts nationally.  


Research & Innovation at GMMH: 2022/23 highlights 

In the business year 2022/23, more than 1,600 service users, relatives, carers and staff participated in more than 100 research projects approved by the Health Research Authority in GMMH.  

Since April 2022, GMMH has also successfully won six new NIHR grants, totalling more than £4 million over three-to-five years. This includes funding for the following trials: 


BAY: Behavioural Activation for Young people with depression   

GMMH was awarded £2 million to host this major trial, led by Professor Bernadka Dubicka, Consultant Psychiatrist at GMMH, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of York, and honorary MAHSC (Manchester Academic Health Sciences) Professor at the University of Manchester. The study will investigate whether junior mental health practitioners can deliver low-cost interventions to tackle the mental health crisis affecting children and adolescents. 


Talking with Voices: A novel dialogical therapy for adults with auditory hallucinations 

Following a successful feasibility trial, GMMH was awarded £1.4 million to host a randomised control trial investigating whether Talking with Voices, a new form of therapy, is an effective treatment for people who hear persistent and distressing voices. Talking with Voices is based on the idea that what voices say may reflect real-life conflicts and difficulties in the life of the voice hearer. The treatment involves a therapist ‘talking to your voice by asking it questions. The voice hearer then listens to the responses and repeats them out loud. 


GMMH to lead mental health research theme at NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) 

In October 2022, GMMH announced that it was a key partner of the Manchester BRC, leading research into mental health in the city and across the North West. This is the first time that mental health has been included as a research theme for the Manchester BRC, and it is a theme that is more important than ever. Currently one in four people in England experience a mental health problem each year, but only one in eight receive treatment. Building on GMMH’s clinical expertise and ongoing research in collaboration with the University of Manchester, GMMH will lead themes around developmental neuroscience and the use of data and digital science to inform public health interventions. This will include investigating the mechanisms by which early trauma increases risk of mental health problems in adolescence, and novel treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders.  


GMMH first NHS Trust to deliver gameChange virtual reality therapy for service users with severe social anxiety and avoidance 

GMMH are proud to be delivering gameChange Virtual Reality therapy through five mental health teams across the Trust. gameChange therapy uses a virtual reality (VR) headset where service users enter simulations of everyday situations, such as a café, shop, doctor’s surgery or shopping centre.  The therapy is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and works by reducing anxious thoughts and feelings that patients have about the simulated situations. This pilot project to test the implementation of gameChange follows the successful delivery of a randomised controlled trial in GMMH in collaboration with The University of Oxford, Oxford Health NHS Trust and The University of Oxford spinout company Oxford VR. GMMH has overcome initial barriers to implementation and is leading the way in real-world implementation. Preliminary analyses suggest this brief intervention, delivered by peer support workers and assistant psychologists, is resulting in large, clinically significant reductions in agoraphobic avoidance. 


Alice Seabourne, Medical Director at GMMH commented: 

“We’ve had a very successful year for Research & Innovation at GMMH. We continue to attract significant funding for our ground-breaking research. This allows us to offer our service users and staff across Greater Manchester every opportunity to get involved in research. This is a crucial part of how we can improve services and outcomes both for our service users and beyond. We know from The Marmot Review that Greater Manchester continues to be an area of heightened social deprivation and inequalities – these are key risk factors for mental health and we want to use our research to help overcome these inequalities. 

“At any one time, we are recruiting for around 50 different studies covering the mental health spectrum, from studies with children and young people, through to dementia studies with older service users. We’re proud to be at the forefront of mental health research, and we want to continue to make sure our research matters and has real impact for people with mental health difficulties everywhere.” 

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