Mental Health: 6 new projects supported in 2020


3mins | News

In November 2019, the Scientific Board selected 6 post-doctoral research projects in the field of Mental Health, following a dedicated call for projects. These six innovative projects, all starting in 2020, were granted with a total commitment of €750K.

Mental Health : a growing health issue, an economic burden

According to WHO “mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders” : it constitutes “an integral part of health, determined by a range of socioeconomic, biological and environmental factors”, and “cost-effective public health and intersectoral strategies and interventions exist to promote, protect and restore mental health.”

The mental health topic is complex and critical. The burden of mental disorders continues to expand with the diagnosis of previously ignored diseases, with significant impacts on human health and major social consequences in all countries of the world: 27% of the adult population aged 18–65 have experienced at least one mental disorder in the past year (including problems arising from substance use, psychoses, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders). Worldwide, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental disorders or problems. Mental disorders are also important risk factors for other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as unintentional and intentional injury.

The rise in mental ill health also presents a growing global economic burden, as was recognized by political and economic leaders who placed it at the top of the 2019 World Economic Forum healthcare agenda. According to the 2018 report of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development, mental ill health is expected to cost the world $16 USD trillion by 2030. The economic cost is primarily due to lost productivity, with an estimated 12 billion working days lost due to mental illness every year.

To reduce the human health and economic burden related to mental health, AXA has launched a dedicated call for postdoctoral projects in April 2019. The new perspectives offered by the academic research supported by the AXA Research Fund with a total commitment of €750K for 2 years will help increase knowledge and design solutions for a better health for all.

Six international researchers

For this call for projects, 76 applications were submitted from top tier universities in 28 countries. 6 innovative projects have been selected for a funding of €125 000 euros each over 2 years.

Impact on wellbeing of exposure to traumatic material: study of in “back office” police and law enforcement staff

Dr. Duran, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Resilience to depression: the role of mitochondrial dynamics regulatory proteins

Dr. Ghosal, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland

A neurocomputational framework for mental health maintenance

Dr. Nord, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Mathematical models of self-beliefs, and link with mental health

Dr. Rouault, Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris, France

Supporting young people's mental health during the transition to work

Dr. Wertz, Duke University, United States

Gut microbiome : Deciphering the metabolic interplay with psychoactive compounds

Dr. Zimmermann, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany


Fellowship grants for young researchers

The AXA Research Fund’s mission is to fund top-tier scientific research and to share scientific knowledge to better respond to the major challenges and opportunities our societies face today. The Fund supports academic projects the world over, in the fields of Health, Climate and Environment, New Technology and Socio-Economy.

AXA Fellowships are one of the types of grants provided by the Fund. They aim at supporting promising researchers (max. PhD+5) whose project is aligned with AXA’s corporate responsibility and strategic priorities. The AXA Research Fund grants aim to be transformative for the researcher and the advancement of their career.

January 2020

Mental health and well-being, a key area of support for the AXA Research Fund Find out more