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2021 PREMISE Seed Funding and Career Development Grants Awarded

19 October 2021
Critical support for the next generation of mental health and substance use researchers
The Matilda Centre has awarded six grants to support HDR students and early-mid career to enhance their research programs and undertake career development activities.

The Matilda Centre is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2021 Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Illness and Substance Use (PREMISE) Seed Funding and Career Development Grants. All applicants are commended for their outstanding and innovative proposals.

PREMISE is a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence led by the Matilda Centre, aiming to provide a world first synergy of the leading prevention and early intervention research and translation programs in mental health and addiction across five Australian universities (University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Melbourne, University of Newcastle, and Deakin University).

These unique grants will support recipients to disseminate their research, undertake training and build their national and international research networks.

2021 recipients

This year, three early-mid career Seed Funding Grants, and five Career Development Grants were awarded. Recipients were from the Matilda Centre and the Black Dog Institute.

Early-Mid Career Seed Funding Recipients

Research Fellow, the Matilda Centre

Marlee will lead a co-designed study that will be the first to synthesise evidence exploring associations between youth participation in decision-making and advocacy and mental health outcomes. Findings will inform best practice guidelines for facilitating youth participation in a ‘mentally healthy’ way.

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Research Fellow, the Matilda Centre

Katrina will adapt recruitment strategies for the ‘Re-Train Your Brain’ trial in response to COVID-19 social distancing/isolation restrictions. ‘Re-Train Your Brain’ is an innovative and cutting-edge randomised controlled pilot trial investigating the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an adjunct online, comorbidity-focused cognitive re-training program for young Australians with co-occurring anxiety and problematic alcohol use – to prevent the escalation of symptoms into chronic and entrenched disorders in adulthood.

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Research Fellow, the Matilda Centre and the Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health

Louise will lead a 30-day micro-randomised trial (MRT) among 271 adolescents in NSW using an existing app (Health4Life+), that uses self-monitoring and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy strategies to empower young people to improve alcohol use, smoking, other health behaviours and mental health. This study seeks to address barriers and determine the most effective strategies to increase app engagement among adolescents.

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Career Development Grant Recipients

PhD student, the Matilda Centre

Bridie will collect bio-samples from a sub-sample of 100 adolescents in NSW currently participating in the Health4Life study. The bio-samples will be used alongside participants’ mental health, health behaviour and socio-demographic data to distinguish any relationships and will allow Bridie to answer a key research question for her PhD research:  What is the relationship between nutrition, mental health and other lifestyle behaviours (including substance use) on the onset of chronic inflammation in adolescents?

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PhD student, the Matilda Centre

Rachel will attend two short courses to support her to develop skills in 1) Mendelian Randomization (MR), a recently-developed approach in genetic epidemiology and 2) contemporary epidemiological methods and theory. Funding will also support Rachel to publish a systematic review of studies employing causal methods to investigate alcohol–health relationships in a leading international journal.

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Postdoctoral Fellow, the Black Dog Institute

Jiahui will attend a spatial analysis course to develop skills that will be used to examine spatio-temporal clustering of suicides and self-harm at local areas in Australia which will form part of the effectiveness examination of the LifeSpan trial. Funding will also support her to attend the 2022 National Suicide Prevention Conference.

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Postdoctoral Research Associate, the Matilda Centre

Siobhan will lead a systematic review of the literature on evidence-based prevention and early-intervention strategies for intimate partner aggression (IPA), co-morbid alcohol use, and associated mental health outcomes in adolescents and young adults. This review will form the first step of a broader research and development project aimed at creating a novel, web-based ‘healthy relationships’ program for the prevention and early intervention of IPA for teens aged 15-16 (year 9). This module will complement existing prevention programmes developed by Matilda Centre researchers for substance use and mental health prevention in teens e.g., the Climate Schools prevention programs.

Senior Research Fellow, The Black Dog Institute

Bridianne will purchase online collaboration software to support virtual brainstorming and collaboration sessions between researchers and various stakeholders involved in a translational health service partnership with Flourish Australia – the service provider for two Headspace centres in Sydney (Castle Hill, Bankstown). The collaboration tool will also be used to conduct focus groups with focus groups and end users and data collected will inform future grant applications aiming to addressing gaps in waitlist care, a critical period of high risk for young people.

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