About Us

MAGNET is Australia’s first clinical trial network focused on adult mental health – driving better prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Launched in 2021, with AU$12 million of funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), MAGNET brings together world-leading researchers, consumer and carer groups, practitioner colleges, research peak bodies, health systems and industry partners, insurers, and Government agencies across all mental health conditions, from psychosis to eating disorders to addiction and beyond.

Our Vision

MAGNET’s overarching vision is to be a leading network internationally for high-quality mental health clinical trials that serve community needs.

Our Mission

MAGNET’s mission is to unify and improve adult mental health clinical trial research and translation in Australia. MAGNET aims to create a reusable, sustainable and shared infrastructure to strengthen the capacity, quality, effectiveness, and translation of mental health clinical trials.



Mental health disorders are the greatest cause of disability currently affecting Australians adults. However, current treatments are not meeting the needs of people living with some of the most debilitating conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

Australia is a global leader in mental health research – home to approximately 10% of the world’s top 100 researchers in the field – yet mental health clinical trials are fragmented across the country. MAGNET generates and coordinates large-scale definitive trials that will translate into much needed new therapies.

MAGNET is transforming the way mental health treatment is developed and tested in Australia.


We provide lived-experience leadership, and strategies to enhance health treatment access for communities across Australia.

We provide researchers with the resources they need to design, develop, and co-ordinate their clinical trials. These resources include access to world-leading statisticians with expertise in mental health clinical trials, assessment training guidelines and materials, data safety and management boards and guidance on ethics.

Our six integral platforms, led by Professor Susan Rossell at Swinburne University, are designed as a reusable resource to help establish, coordinate, and standardise clinical trials across Australia and globally. These platforms will provide the shared infrastructure needed to improve clinical trial quality and feasibility both nationally and globally.

Learn more about each of our platforms here.



Community engagement is at the heart of what we do. We can only achieve our bold mission by working with people who have lived experience, and by welcoming people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity. For too long, clinical trials have been designed for, and not with, our community.

Our model has empowered lived experience leaders to actively shape MAGNET into what it is today, and this continues into the development of our future work. We use a Consumer and Carer Participation Framework to create community partnerships. We want to connect with people to bring genuine outcomes to mental health. We are creating First Nations Governance and Wellbeing and Lived Experience Research Partners advisory groups.

We will help put the lived experience of people with mental health conditions at the centre of research efforts, ensuring the clinical outcomes are effective, relevant, and meaningful.

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is any research study that is designed to examine the effect of a novel treatment in comparison with an alternative standard treatment. The nature of such treatments can be anything that has a biological effect and includes drugs, surgical procedures, behavioural treatments, procedural alternations, and preventative care.

Clinical trials are generally carried out in stages from small numbers of participant to large population level involvement. This is to ensure that adverse events are always minimised, and participant health and wellbeing is preserved.

Information about the design and conduct of a clinical trial must be registered on a publicly accessible website that conforms to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

The main registry for both interventional and observational studies is the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) 

There are a further 15 clinical trials registries that comply with WHO standards, a full list can be accessed at this link. https://www.who.int/clinical-trials-registry-platform/network/primary-registries

What are the Phases of a Clinical Trial?

Phase 0 Clinical Trial

Phase 0 clinical trials are also referred to as exploratory studies or pilot studies. These types of clinical trial are designed to examine how the body responds to an experimental drug.

Typically, small does are administered for a short duration and to a limited number of participants. This is to ensure that adverse effects can be carefully monitored and addressed quickly and efficiently.

Phase I Clinical Trial

A Phase I trial is conducted to test a new intervention for the first time. This is generally conducted on a small number of participants to identify and address any adverse side effects and to establish a safe dosage range.

Phase II Clinical Trial

A Phase II trial is conducted to test a new intervention in a larger group of participants (e.g. often several hundred). This phase of clinical trial aims to determine how effective a treatment might be and to further monitor adverse effects.

Phase III Clinical Trial

A Phase III clinical trial is conducted to study the effectiveness of a treatment in a larger group of participants (e.g. several hundred to several thousand) when compared with other standard treatments or standard care procedures. Phase III clinical trials provide further evidence of effectiveness and opportunities to monitor adverse events in larger groups of people.

Phase IV Clinical Trial

A Phase IV clinical trial is the largest study design, often involves several thousand population representative group of participants. A phase IV trial aims to identify all possible adverse effects that may occur with widespread use over extended periods of time.
For further information on specific aspects of clinical trial design please refer to our fact sheets on this page.

Acronyms in common usage

AE – Adverse event

An unexpected medical problem that occurs during a clinical trial


CTN – Clinical trials network

A body established to represent a number of institutions in advocating for research within a prescribed area of interest. It is also common for a clinical trials network to offer a range of centralised resources e.g. biostatistical and assessment of benefit to network members.


DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

A compendium of mental health disorders used widely by researchers and clinicians throughout the USA and Australia. Currently in its 5th edition.


EEG – Electroencephalography

A form of measurement of electrical activity in the brain using electrodes attached to the scalp.


fMRI – Functional magnetic resonance imaging

A form of medical imaging that aims to measure changes in blood flow that occur within active parts of the brain.


FRAC –  Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

An independent committee responsible for overseeing funding  provided to MAGNET, to ensure transparency and accountability. An acronym used commonly within MAGNET correspondence.


GCP – Good clinical practice

A set of governing principles that underpin all research endeavors and particularly those involving human participation. The principles of good clinical practice are informed by the declaration of Helsinki, a statement of ethical principles governing medical research emanating from revelations uncovered during the Nuremberg trials, following World War II.


HREC – Human research ethics committee

An established committee registered with the national health and medical research council that evaluates, assesses and monitors all research involving human and animal participation.


ICD – International classification of diseases

A compendium of the extent, causes and consequences of disease and death worldwide. Currently in its 11th edition.


MAGNET – The Mental Health Australia General Clinical Trials Network

The peak body representing mental health clinical trials research in Australia. MAGNET includes over one hundred members from research institutes located in each state and territory of Australia.

MEG – Magnetoencephalography

A form of measurement of magnetic fields produced by the brain’s electrical currents. Magnetoencephalography is used to map brain function and to identify the exact location of particular structures.


MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging

A powerful form of medical imaging that uses a combination of magnetic fields and radio waves to accurately model biological structures internal to the body.


MIA – Multi-institutional agreement

Particular funding bodies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) require an explicit agreement or contract be established between two or more parties, such as universities and industry partners.


OG – Operations Group

A working committee consisting of the lead chief investigator, secretariat, trial leads, First Nations and Lived Experience Research Partners (LERPs), and other key investigators responsible for MAGNET’s day-to-day operation. An acronym used commonly within MAGNET correspondence.


PICF – Participant information and consent form

This document informs research participants about the nature of the proposed research, the advantages, disadvantages and potential risks associated with participation. The PICF also provides for explicit written consent for participation in the research and except where there is a waiver of consent granted by an ethics committee, is a mandatory precursor to research participation.


RCT – Randomised clinical trial

The gold standard approach to comparing one treatment against another. Commonly involving the comparison of a novel treatment with a placebo, active placebo or treatment as usual  and involves the random assignment of research participants to either arm of the trial. Randomised clinical trials are used to test questions that a proposed treatment is superior, equivalent or non-inferior to the control.


SAE – Serious adverse event

An event that occurs during the conduct of a clinical trial that results in death, disability, hospitalisation or is life-threatening.


SAC – Scientific advisory committee

The MAGNET scientific advisory committee is charged with the task of developing a set of recommendations that will guide the application by sponsors/chief investigators of potential clinical trials for endorsement by MAGNET. An acronym used commonly within MAGNET correspondence.


SC – Steering committee

The MAGNET Steering Committee  provides high level oversight of the network, advises on and approves various aspects of the network including strategic direction, governance, and scope. An acronym used commonly within MAGNET correspondence.


TGA – Therapeutic goods administration

A statutory body established by the Australian federal government to evaluate, assess and monitor the use all therapeutic goods made available to the public. This includes medicines, medical devices and other biological agents in use by community members.