Home / Research / RECOLLECT / Research Groups


Research Groups


Recovery Colleges are a new approach to supporting people living with mental health problems, characterised by coproduction, collaboration and an educational focus. A number of research groups are investigating Recovery Colleges from a range of methodological perspectives. In order to foster scientific collaboration, this pages lists research groups involved in Recovery College research.

If you would like your contact information to be listed here then please email us (researchintorecovery@nottingham.ac.uk) with this information:

  • name of research group
  • website
  • contact name(s) [ideally two] and email(s)
  • 50-100 words about your current / planned study.

NB If you are interested in other aspects of Recovery Colleges, you might want to contact:


Research Groups Investigating Recovery Colleges

United Kingdom

Recovery Research Team, Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, UK

Website: (researchintorecovery.com/recollect)

Contacts: (Recovery Research Team)

The RECOLLECT Study is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research under the Programme Development Grant scheme (grant RP-DG-0615-10008), and runs January 2017 to January 2018. The study aims (a) to develop a fidelity checklist and measure, (b) to establish candidate mechanisms of action and (c) to characterise casemix in Recovery Colleges in England. Addressing these knowledge gaps will inform a future Programme Grant application.

Sussex Recovery College Research and Evaluation group, Sussex, UK
Website: (www.sussexrecoverycollege.org.uk

Contacts: Sara Meddings (sara.meddings@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk), Lucy Locks (lucy.locks@sussexpartnership.nhs.uk)

We have published a number of service evaluations [Dunn et al (2016) Barriers to attendance at recovery colleges; Meddings et al (2014) Co-delivered and co-produced: creating a recovery college in partnership; Meddings et al (2015) From service user to student – the benefits of recovery college; Meddings et al (2014) Student perspectives: recovery college experience). We have also carried out an evaluation of mental health service use before and after attending Recovery College and are currently evaluating Arts based courses at the college. We are co-applicants in the RECOLLECT study (researchintorecovery.com/recollect). We are planning a further research study with a doctoral student from Surrey University to look at mechanisms of change.

Birmingham Recovery College, Newman University, Birmingham, UK

Contacts: Dr Adam Benkwitz (a.benkwitz@newman.ac.uk), Dr Paul McDonald (p.mcdonald@newman.ac.uk).

The Birmingham Recovery College was established in summer 2016, within the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT). Funding was secured for a PhD student (Imran Ali) to evaluate the development of the college during its formative years. Spanning 2016-2019, this mixed-methods project initially focuses on the lived experiences of those involved in the college; including service-users, peer-support workers, Trust staff and Recovery Committee members, in order to both inform the Trust as well as informing practice externally.

Recovery College East, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Contacts: Kate Nurser (katenurser912@gmail.com)

As part of my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with the University of East Anglia, I’ve been fortunate enough to conduct my research within Recovery College East (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust). This includes a service-related project (evaluating outcomes according to the Questionnaire About the Process of Recovery and the Internalised Stigma of Mental Illness Scale) and a qualitative exploration of personal storytelling for mental health recovery (looking at individual experiences of the Telling My Story course, with an IPA framework). A systematic review of storytelling interventions for mental health recovery was also conducted in relation to the qualitative project. All papers are currently under review for publication.

DiSCOVERY research team, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and University of Exeter, Devon UK

Website: (https://www.nsft.nhs.uk/discovery-study)


Professor Chris Fox (Christopher.Fox@exeter.ac.uk) – Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Tom Rhodes, study manager via (discovery@nsft.nhs.uk)

DiSCOVERY stands for post-diagnostic Dementia Support within the ReCOVERY College model. The DiSCOVERY study is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research under the Health and Social Care Delivery Research grant scheme (grant NIHR131676), and runs from January 2022 to January 2024.

Study aims are to work with people living with dementia, their family/friend supporters and memory service/Recovery College staff advisors to (1) build an initial understanding (programme theory) of Recovery College dementia courses through a national staff survey, rapid realist review and discussions with advisors, (2) conduct a realist evaluation of five case study sites, (3) conduct a scoping review of appropriate outcome measures and (4) co-produce with advisors accessible resources of ‘what works’, to support planning, co-production, implementation and evaluation of Recovery College dementia courses, and sharing these with knowledge users from memory services and Recovery Colleges, and the public.


    Rest of Europe

    Mayo Recovery College Research Group, Co Mayo, Ireland

    Website:     Our website is being created at present

    Contact:      Rose Mannion (rose.mannion@hse.ie), Mark Garavan (mark.garavan@gmit.ie)

    Mayo Recovery College was set up in 2013 as a partnership project between the HSE and Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). Research has been carried out by means of dissertation on the initial development of the Mayo Recovery College. This piece records narratives from the individuals who founded the Mayo Recovery College.  It describes what each co-founder identifies as recovery, what the recovery college hopes to achieve and the long term hopes and expectations for the recovery college.  The dissertation provides some findings from the initial modules which were co-delivered in the Mayo Recovery College. The next piece of research was an evaluation piece to try and evaluate the connection personal mental health recovery and the attendance at Mayo Recovery College modules.  The most recent piece of research is qualitative research using narrative method grounded theory approach including group facilitated feedback and one to one interviews for those who requested same.  The research question is; how has your recovery journey been since the beginning of September, autumn term. This research attempted to explore the social, educational and environmental conditions in which individual recovery occurs.  There was particular emphasis placed on the relationship between Mayo Recovery College and personal mental health recovery.  The feedback here is rich in content because it contains the personal recovery narrative and explores the journey of the Mayo Recovery College students.

    Tranzo (Tilburg University) / Trimbos Institute, Netherlands

    Website:     Our website is being created at present

    Contacts:    Marloes van Wezel (PhD student; MWezel@trimbos.nl), Hans Kroon (Principal Investigator; Hkroon@trimbos.nl), Christien Muusse (CMuusse@trimbos.nl) and Dike van de Mheen (H.vdMheen@tilburguniversity.edu)

    This project consists of three main studies: (1) Quantitative, evaluating the (cost-)effectiveness of Enik Recovery College in Utrecht, the Netherlands; (2) Qualitative, investigating the meaning and mechanisms of action of Enik RC, and its place in the Dutch mental health landscape; and (3) Evaluating the RECOLLECT Fidelity Measure of RCs in the Dutch context. We will adopt a mixed-methods approach: longitudinal surveys with a matched-control design, interviews, focus groups, and participatory observations. All steps of the research projects will be executed in collaboration with a team of co-researchers, who are participants or volunteers at Enik.

      Outside Europe

      Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada

      The Collaborative Learning College, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada

      Website: Collaborative Learning College (camh.ca)

      Contact name(s):

      Dr. Sophie Soklaridis (Sophie.soklaridis@camh.ca)

      Holly Harris, MA (holly.harris@camh.ca)

      Our project entitled Our Recovery, Our Outcomes: Co-designing an Evaluation of Recovery Colleges was comprised of two simultaneous phases (Lin et al., 2022a). The first phase involved the co-creation of a scoping review that examined how RCs were evaluated and whether they were co-produced with people accessing RCs (Lin et al., 2022b). The second phase involved interviewing people who access, volunteer or work in RCs to explore two questions: 1) What do participants understand to be the most important elements of RCs for their personal recovery? and 2) How do we create evaluation measures that are relevant and impactful to people accessing RCs? (Soklaridis et al., 2023). Since the study took place during the pandemic, participants organically shared how the pandemic affected the experiences of people involved in Canadian RCs (Harris et al., in preparation).

      St Vincent’s Recovery College Research Group, Melbourne, Australia

      Website:     Our website will be launched with the first courses in 2018

      Contacts: Bridget Hamilton (bh@unimelb.edu.au), Rachael Starbuck (rachael.starbuck@svha.org.au), Matthew Scott (matthew.scott@svha.org.au), Wanda Bennetts (wanda.bennetts@imha.vic.gov.au), Melissa Petrakis (melissa.petrakis@monash.edu).

      The St Vincent’s Recovery College consultation and establishment phase, across 2016-2017, has been funded by St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne). A 3-year pilot college will initially run from early 2018 to early 2021. St Vincent’s has implemented the Strengths model in a clinical setting for 10 years, developing a national reputation as leaders in recovery-oriented practice. The service has established a peer workforce in residential, acute and community linkage settings. The research group is responsible for fostering and supporting the philosophy and spirit of coproduction at all stages, from scope, to design, business case, staffing, planning courses, and evaluation of processes and outcomes with consumers, family members, clinicians and community.