Prizes and bursaries


This travelling fellowship is awarded from funds bequeathed by Margaret Mary Slack. This travelling fellowship is intended to encourage senior psychiatric trainees to broaden their academic knowledge and experience in a centre of excellence either in the UK or abroad.

Though not essential, candidates may wish to pursue a research study. Visits are expected to be no longer than two to four weeks.





Who can enter

Applicants must hold the MRCPsych and be on an approved higher training scheme 

Where presented

The successful applicant is expected to present the outcome of the award at the International Congress by submitting an abstract or symposium proposal.


Applicants must work in the UK.

Applicants should submit an application letter addressed to the faculty Chair including the following to

  • The names of two referees
  • A brief CV including research experience, publications/presentations, career aims.
  • A detailed proposal (no word limit, but as a guide we suggest 2 pages), which should include the following: 
    • Clear academic aims and objectives and how they will be met if you are awarded this fellowship
    • Any potential pitfalls and contingency plans
    • How the proposed study / experience was developed 
    • Proposed outputs or dissemination from this experience
  • Information about the host centre, with confirmation that the proposal is acceptable to them
  • An identified supervisor at the host centre
  • Confirmation from the employing authority that study leave will be granted if the applicant is successful.

A panel of psychiatry assessors nominated by the Chair will award the fellowship.

It is not possible to provide detailed feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

The successful candidate will be expected to submit a report to the Chair.

Closing date

31 December.


This prize is named after psychiatrist Duncan Macmillan who helped pioneer a community-centred approach to mental health. The competition is held in partnership with the Institute of Mental Health in Nottingham.

The purpose of the prize is to celebrate and promote the work of psychiatry trainees nationwide.


A £500 first place prize, £250 runner up prize are both available to be claimed as research-related expenses.

How often

Every year

Who can enter

Competition entry criteria is limited to registered trainee doctors in psychiatry in the UK.


  • 2020 essay topic: The next big thing in psychiatry research
  • Each essay must be no longer than 1,000 words and should be emailed to:
  • Essay materials published elsewhere will not be eligible.
  • The winner and runner up will be determined by a panel chaired by the Institute’s Director, Professor Martin Orrell and other senior members of the Institute, along with representatives nominated by RCPsych.  This panel may seek such advice as it deems appropriate in reaching this determination. Decisions made by the panel will be final.

Closing date

Deadline extended to Wednesday 9 December 2020.

2018 winners announced

The Institute of Mental Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists are pleased to announce this year’s winners of the Duncan Macmillan essay writing competition. The competition asked psychiatry trainees to share their ideas on “The next big thing in psychiatry”. 

Andrew Shepherd (University of Manchester) won first prize for his essay “Recognising the importance of group and social dynamics in recovery focussed practices”. The essay argued that by recognising mental health recovery as a social or group process, rather than an individual one, this has implications for the way in which mental health research, care and support are delivered.

Dr Karyn Ayre (Kings College London/ South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) was awarded second prize for her essay “The future of psychiatry research” which argued for new digital methodologies to be used in psychiatry research in order to improve the links between research data and the lived experience of people with mental health problems.

“The quality of submissions for the competition this year was very high making choosing an overall winner a very difficult decision. Andrew and Karyn both chose engaging topics that were well presented and argued. I, on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Academic Faculty Executive Committee, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both winners, and to thank all the other entrants for taking part.” Dr James Stone, Member of the Academic Faculty's Executive Committee. 

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