UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is investing £1.46M in five citizen science research projects where the public are directly involved in the research process, with its largest investment being given to the Citizen Science To Achieve Coproduction at Scale (C-STACS) study, led by Mike Slade at the Institute of Mental Health (a research partnership between the University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust).
The C-STACS study is led by multidisciplinary researchers at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham (Doreen Boyd, Mike Slade (Principle Investigator), Stuart Moran, Stefan Rennick-Egglestone). The study is co-led with the Centre for Mental Health, ImROC, KCL Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), McPin Foundation, Mental Elf, National Survivor User Network (NSUN), NHS Confederation, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Social Spider community interest company.
The study will drive innovation in the treatment of mental health issues and the support available to enable people to live as well as possible. Citizen science projects enlist members of the public to actively conduct research that will inform a research project’s findings. This could take the form of personal experiences that expand on historical research or scientific data gathering in the home. In addition to benefiting the research process, it allows participants to develop new skills and knowledge which they can then use in their own lives. By drawing directly on the expertise and experiences of people from across the UK, this will produce impactful research that can be valued and shared by all.
Mike Slade, Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Nottingham, encouraged people to get involved with the new research project:
“I’m delighted that our team are leading the first citizen science and mental health study. This is the largest public engagement grant ever awarded by our funder UKRI, underlining the importance of improving mental health in and beyond the UK. Our aim is to harness the expertise of our nine partners, including the NHS and organisations led by mental health service users, to make a real difference to people living with mental health issues. By the end of the first year, we will have started a project about innovation in the mental health system and a project about self-management, and we hope that many people will choose to contribute as citizen scientists to improving mental health for all.”
The project’s links to the NHS through Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will ensure that the research findings that emerge from this unique citizen science project will quickly and efficiently be able to be shared with staff and patients, helping to shape policy decisions and improve services.