The ALIVE National Writer-In-Residence Program

What is the writer-in-residence program?

The writer-in-residence program is a capacity building and career development initiative of the ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation. It supports capacity building objectives around developing the next generation of mental health research leaders and knowledge translation goals. This is a by invitation program that sees writers appointed for 16 weeks to work with the ALIVE National Centre to develop their capacity for research translation activities, develop and hone public communication skills and support wider public and community engagement with mental health research, policy, and practice.

The program will contribute to the development of an individual’s publication portfolio and support the development of research impact activities. A writer-in-residence appointment is beneficial for professional development, promotions, research grants and fellowship applications. For industry based appointments, the residency provides an opportunity to connect practice based work with research and an orientation to the research translation setting.

The goal is for the National Centre to increase the visibility of writers-in-residence and support the development of public engagement with research and practice. Investigators and associate members in the National Centre identify people with talent who write on issues related to mental health care delivery, receipt of services and care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led models, and systems design and transformation, co-design and lived-experience research models. Writers-in-residence typically share their own research and perspectives, when writing about other programs directly rather than reviewing an already existing publication, we ask Writers-in-residence to ensure that permission has been sought.

What do writers-in-residence contribute?

A writer-in-residence contributes regular thought pieces on Nationally focused mental health systems transformation; reflections on recent research publications relevant to mental health; summaries of major reports as they apply to mental health care delivery and systems change; reviews of books, podcasts or recent blogs. Some writers-in-residence may share and draw on their lived expertise to discuss or highlight the issues that they’re focusing on. Thought pieces are typically short pieces and we suggest 800 to 1000 words is a good length for these, longer pieces are usually either a written article from a contributor or a review of a paper or document.

Pieces in the writer-in-residence series may be in short or long form, they may be creatively portrayed as drawings, diagrams or use other visual methods, or they may include a short digital story or moving images. These creative elements are optional, some writers will want to simply write. The ALIVE National Centre HUB will assist writers in creating a writing schedule that accommodates their preferences for short, long, or creative pieces. Each format has a specific word limit and timeframe, as follows:

  • Short Form Pieces (800 – 1000words) – 2 weeks
  • Long Form Pieces article style (2000 – 2500words) – 3 to 4 weeks
  • Creative outputs – visualisations of data or drawings or other creative works – 3 to 4 weeks

More guides for authors are provided on the noticeboard page here.

Who can be appointed as a writer-in-residence? 

This is an invitation only program within the ALIVE National Centre. Individuals at any career stage who work in university research positions, government policy or research project positions, or people working in health care will be supported to develop knowledge translation, communication skills and increase their writing activities. Investigators and associate members identify people with talent and invite them to apply, if you have an interest in being considered let the ALIVE HUB know by emailing

The aim is to support the development of researchers (including lived-experience researchers), health care professionals, and people working for non-government and government organisations and, to increase information sharing and public engagement with mental health research, implementation and translation issues.

The writers-in-residence program is open to all members of the ALIVE National Centre’s networks, staff of our founding partner organisations, and general members of the alive collective. If you have an interest in supporting research translation and would like to develop your public communication skills and community information sharing, ask us about how to apply today.

How does the program work?

Writers-in-residence are appointed for 16-weeks. The role is not a paid position within the ALIVE National Centre. However, writers-in-residence keep track of the hours spent for writing short and long pieces and submit their timesheet at the completion of the program for reimbursement. Typically, short pieces take writers 2 hours per week (32 hours in total). Some writers in residence may choose to use this reimbursement to support a conference registration, open access publication or a flight to a conference and one night accommodation (where appropriately within range of the reimbursement amounts). The reimbursement amounts and processes can be discussed with the Centre Manager and Co-Directors.

The expectation is that writers-in-residence will produce up to 8 pieces for the noticeboards of the ALIVE National Digital Translation Platform (one every 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or 4 weeks depending on the length/form of the piece). Writers can publish more frequently than this, but between 4 – 8 contributions are the expectation in the role. Writers-in-residence will be identified by Centre investigators and associated members as people with talent and potential to benefit from increased visibility and support to develop communications and public engagement skills.

We are interested in knowledge translation that can inform Centre research efforts and sectoral reforms. Of particular interest are:

  • Research, podcasts and recent publications and reports that support greater understanding of cultural security for mainstream services
  • Working with priority populations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, fostering community-led approaches
  • New models of care and innovations to meet the unmet physical health needs of people who live with severe mental ill-health
  • Research on intersecting issues in mental health, such as trauma informed models of care, innovations to address social determinants of health, e.g. in housing or employment, or ways to facilitate social connection
  • The implementation of life course approaches to prevention in community and primary care settings
  • Writers-in-residence who identify as lived-experience researchers or carer, family/kinship group researchers may want to explore lived-experience or family, carer/kinship group research approaches and findings.

Where do the writer-in-residence pieces get shared?

Publications are shared on the ALIVE digital translation platform noticeboards and through all social media channels used by the Centre. Links to pieces will be provided in our bi-monthly Centre news update (published every second month). There will be further connection of the writer-in-residence pieces to the Centre’s wider public engagement efforts.

There are three noticeboards available. All noticeboards showcase work in progress, links for upcoming events, papers recently published by investigators or network members and collaborators in the Centre and related research projects and other useful information. Two bespoke noticeboards are available for the Next Generation Researcher Network and the Lived-Experience Research Collective only, the writer-in-residence can choose to share their posts for a specific network only or on the main landing page which re-appears on the Implementation and Translation Network pages as well.

You can see some examples at the digital translation platform which can be found here.

Guidelines for the noticeboard are available on this post– please note the word limits for the titles and timing of different pieces Please feel free to contact the ALIVE HUB team at any time by emailing