Funding Call: The Digital Future of Mental Health

Proposal Submission Deadline: (Closed)

The call: This call represents one of the nine waves of funding from the EPSRC Network Plus in Human Data Interaction (HDI). Each call will be on a different theme, and these themes will frame and support a network of projects responding to the challenges of Human-Data Interaction. In the three years of this research network, these projects will join us to define a new research agenda for ethical data-driven systems. This call is focused on HDI, AI and machine learning technologies and their impact on the digital future of mental health

Why Human Data Interaction?  We are increasingly surrounded by intelligent systems.  These systems are driven by algorithms; sets of instructions, or rules, for a computer to follow.  These systems define much of our everyday experience, mostly without our oversight. How do these systems reach their judgments? What data do they use? Why did they decide this thing and not something else? How can users change the outcome?  How should these systems present their decisions? These questions, and others, are arising again and again. Helping people to understand how these systems work is a core concern for Human Data Interaction.

Scope of the call: On Mental Health World Day, October the 10th, Elvira Perez Vallejos and Alan Munro from the HDI team teamed up with the UKRI eNurture Network+ to run a cross-sectoral workshop at the Institute of Mental Health to help us shape up this theme. Based on the outcomes of that workshop, we particularly welcome proposals that address HDI tenets of Legibility, Agency, and Negotiability in area of digital mental health. Examples include:

  • Privacy, agency and ethics in data collection for mental health prediction and prevention
  • ML/NLP applications for online mental health forum moderation
  • User interfaces for engaging with personal mental health data
  • Self-tracking and behavioural change
  • Sensor data from wearables and smartphones for wellbeing and mental health
  • Acceptability of AI/ML approaches in digital mental health
  • Getting data back to patients & mental healthcare providers
  • Impact of technology use on mental health and wellbeing

These issues are not exclusive – we will consider all projects that address issues core to wearables, sensors, AI and machine learning in the context of mental health. We encourage partnerships between mental health practitioners, service users and academics. For administrative purposes, an academic needs to submit the application.  All projects must also address one or more of the tenets of HDI (legibility, agency, negotiability). The application process is lightweight, and we particularly welcome applications from early career researchers.

Funding available: In this call we aim to fund one project at 50k, one at 10k and 3 at £2,500. Over the coming year there will be further calls under different themes. Please visit the site or follow us on Twitter for updates. Please submit by the deadline – Friday, 14th of February, Valentines day.

Fast turnaround and simple application process: The application process will be less onerous than a traditional research council bid – this is ideal for early career researchers, novel cross disciplinary research, or new and cutting edge ideas.  See the website for example projects.

Lead Organisation: To adhere to the conditions of funding, each project must be led by certain criteria of institution: This is usually an academic institution. But, importantly for this funding call, regulations also allow it to be lead by an NHS Trust, hospital, board, primary care trust or GP practice.

Please also note: we are, however, seeking to fund projects that represent more than one sector and so we particularly welcome projects with non-academic partners.

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