Childhood Mental Health Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel

This Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) advises on research investments under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to improve the mental health of children.


The Australian Government has committed $50 million from 2024-2025 under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to improve the mental health of children. Funding is from the MRFF’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer-Driven Research initiative.

The EAP has developed the MRFF Childhood Mental Health Research Plan, covering children aged 0 to 15 years. The plan will outline short (1-2 years) and medium (3-4 years) term priorities that:

  • determine the factors that affect the mental health and wellbeing of children
  • find ways to improve access to evidence-based treatments and their delivery
  • address inequities in childhood mental health and psychological distress outcomes
  • inform implementation of current and future policies and programs in child mental health. 

Find out from EAP members how the research plan will improve children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Terms of reference

View the EAP’s terms of reference.


The Australian Government appoints the EAP. It is chaired by an independent Chair and includes members with expertise or experience in childhood mental health care research or service delivery. At least one member is a member with lived experience.


Background and experience

Declarations of interest

Professor Jennifer Hudson (Chair)

Professor Jennifer Hudson is the Director of Research and Deputy Director at the Black Dog Institute.


Professor Vicki Anderson

Professor Vicki Anderson is the Head of Psychology at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She is also the Director of Clinical Sciences Research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.


Professor Yvonne Cadet-James

Professor Yvonne Cadet-James is the Research Director of the Apunipima Cape York Health Council. She is also Adjunct Professor of the Indigenous Education and Research Centre at James Cook University.

  • Member of Council – National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
  • Chairperson – Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus (PCIC).
  • MRFF and NHMRC funding recipient.

Ms Shannon Calvert

Ms Shannon Calvert is a Lived Experience advisor and Consumer Co-Chair of the National Mental Health Consumer Carer Forum. She is also a Committee Member of the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders.

Lived Experience Co-Production Co-Lead, Australian Eating Disorder Research and Translation Centre (consortium led by the InsideOut Institute).

Professor Helen Christensen AO

Professor Helen Christensen is Scientia Professor of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of New South Wales. She is also a Board Director of the Black Dog Institute.


Associate Professor Beth Kotze

Associate Professor Beth Kotze is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Sydney Local Health District.


A/Professor Sarah Maguire

A/Professor Sarah Maguire is the Director of the InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders.


Professor Liz Pellicano

Professor Liz Pellicano is Professor of Autism Research in the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London, United Kingdom.


Professor Susan Sawyer

Professor Susan Sawyer is the Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She is also the Geoff and Helen Handbury Chair of Adolescent Health at the Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne.


Professor Maree Teesson AC

Professor Maree Teesson is Director of the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney. She was the National Mental Health Commissioner from 2018 to 2021.

Director of Climate Schools Pty Ltd.

Chair of Australia’s Mental Health Think Tank

Professor Caroline Homer AO

Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (AMRAB) representative

Professor Caroline Homer is Deputy Chair of AMRAB, and is the Co-Program Director of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the Burnet Institute. She is Emeritus Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney. Professor Homer is also Chair of the Council of National Health and Medical Research Council.

Director and President of Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Ms Nyree Gale

MRFF Consumer Reference Panel representative

Ms Gale has worked across research and clinical work for over a decade. She is a strong advocate for people with lived experience of mental health challenges and/or suicide.


Declarations are accurate as of 19 June 2023.

No conflicts of interest required action beyond ‘register’ as defined in the MRFF Declaration of Interest Policy Statement.


The EAP met 3 times to develop the research plan.

Related committees and groups

The Childhood Mental Health Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel reports to the Minister for Health and Aged Care.

The Health and Medical Research Office provides secretariat support to the panel.


Childhood Mental Health Research Plan Expert Advisory Panel contact 

This expert advisory panel advised on research investments under the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to improve the mental health of children.

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