Early Career Research Awards

About the Early Career Research Award

Launched in 2015, up to three TheMHS Awards for Early Career Research in Mental Health (ECR Awards) are offered. Each of the ECR Awards are defined by one of the following:

  • Innovation
  • Best Practice
  • Excellence
Word Definitions

There are three awards defined by the following keywords:

1. Innovation
Investigation concerning a novel or very recent development related to Mental Health service delivery in Australia or New Zealand.


  • Included are practices which may be well established in other countries but have not been tested in the Australian/New Zealand environment.
  • There should be elements of originality, inventiveness, uniqueness and freshness.

2. Best Practice
Translational research and Investigation into Best Practices Mental Health in Australia and/or New Zealand.


  • For entries in this category, Best Practice will be defined as “a program, activity or strategy that has been shown to work effectively and produce successful outcomes and is supported to some degree by subjective and objective data sources.”
  • Research that will improve current treatment, change practices and has an impact on mental health service delivery.
  • The topic of investigation will relate to practices which are generally accepted as current best practice in Australian or New Zealand mental health service delivery.
  • Included is research relating to benchmarking or key performance indicators.

3. Excellence
Research investigations that may underpin or contribute towards the understanding or advancement of mental health knowledge and do not readily fit into the above 2 definitions targeting service provision.


  • The research will target aspects of mental health other than service provision e.g. a neuroscience investigation.
  • There should be elements of outstanding quality and distinction (at an appropriate ECR level).


Please see eligibility and entry criteria by clicking the headings below.

Rules and Eligibility


This award is appropriate for the following entrants:

  • Postdoctoral Researchers with no more than 5 years of research experience (as at closing date of award) from the date of the acceptance letter for their doctoral thesis. Career disruptions and changes will be considered and will need to be described. These include pregnancy, major illness, carer responsibilities/parental leave, clinical work.
  • Employed at a level up to and including Lecturer. Senior Lecturers and above are ineligible to apply.
  • Obligation to Attend and Present the annual TheMHS Conference.
  • Entrants may only submit for one category
  • Different parts of a larger organisation may enter different categories
  • Previous winning recipients can re-apply after one year has elapsed, i.e. if awarded in 2019, entrant may not re-apply until 2021. This is on the condition that the entry concerns a different piece of research or a significant advancement of previously submitted research.

Entry Guidelines

Submissions must include:

Part A
  • Short summary of entry (max. 150 words)
  • Short organisation summary (max. 150 words)

Part B (submitted as a PDF file)

  • Cover Sheet (click to download; 1 x A4 page)
  • Additional description (max. 400 words)
    Intended to expand upon summary from Part A.
  • Focus (max. 200 words)
    Describe how your research illustrates Innovation, Best Practice or Excellence.
  • Potential Impact (max. 200 words)
    Summarise the potential contribution to and/or implications for society.
  • Consumers’ Contribution (max. 200 words)
    Describe any contribution by Mental Health consumers/person with lived experience other than as subjects; e.g. reference group, researcher.
  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 4 x A4 pages)
    Include a brief Curriculum Vitae of the lead applicant only. Your CV will need to include the date your PhD was granted (if relevant) and explain any career disruptions. You may also include the following: career summary, research grants and fellowships, publications, impact of other research, collaborations and community engagement, and professional involvement.
  • Referees
    – One written reference from someone familiar with the research (max. 1 x A4 page)
    – Contact details for an additional referee who may be contacted by phone (max. 1/2 x A4 page)
  • Supporting Material (max. 2 x A4 pages)
    May include photos, graphs, etc.
  • Judges reserve the right to refuse an entry if they feel that it does not meet the selection criteria as listed under “Submission” > “Part B”.
  • Judges reserve the right to withdraw a TheMHS Award at any time, including after the Award is granted, if they find that the entrant does not comply with the entry conditions.

For any questions or concerns, please email awards@themhs.org

Submission Deadline

Wednesday 5th August, 2020

Please note that this deadline has been amended to reflect the postponement of TheMHS Conference 2020 due to COVID-19.