MS Society 2021 Research Funding Round Open for Applications

The MS Society is the UK’s largest charity for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. The Society is committed to bringing high standards of quality health and social care within reach of everyone affected by MS and to encourage and support medical and applied research.

The MS Society research funding programme provides a range of support for projects that will increase understanding of the cause, and find new effective treatments for MS, as well as improve care and services for people affected by MS.

The Society has announced that the 2021 application round is now open, including the Catalyst Award, Project Grant, PhD Fellowship and Early Career Fellowship. A total of £1 million is available for the 2021 research funding programme, which has been updated and now includes a more streamlined application process.

Projects/applicants must be based at a UK university or NHS institution. Applications will be judged on scientific merit and relevance to MS and should be in line with the Society’s Research Strategy 2018-2022.

Catalyst Award – up to £50,000 over a maximum of 12 months for short-term, small-scale pilot or proof of concept research projects to explore innovative ideas in MS research. Projects should be hypothesis driven and may be ‘high-risk, high-reward’ in nature. It is envisaged that the awards will encourage established and more junior researchers from both within and outside the MS field to explore innovative ideas in MS research, with the potential to lead to further funding from the Society or other source.

Project Grant – funding over a maximum of 36 months for researchers at universities or NHS institutions in the UK to conduct hypothesis-driven projects designed to answer a single question or a small group of related questions in MS research. There is no upper or lower funding limit

PhD Fellowship – funding over three years to support a research project in MS and practical research training leading to a PhD.

Applications should be made by the prospective supervisor, who should be associated with an established multidisciplinary research group in a UK university department or similar research environment in the UK. The award will provide an annual stipend (at MRC rates) for the candidate, up to £7,000 per year for tuition fees at home student rates and up to £15,000 per year for project costs.

Early Career Fellowship – funding for up to four years (48 months) to support postdoctoral researchers conducting projects relevant to MS at a UK university or NHS institution under the guidance of an experienced supervisor. In contrast to previous years, the fellowships will support projects across the spectrum of MS research (including biomedical research) and are not restricted to the Care and Services elements of the MS Society Research Strategy. Applicants should have completed a PhD in a relevant science or health discipline and have the support of a named supervisor who will be actively involved in the project.

For the 2021 application round, the MS Society acknowledges that, while many applications may be seeking to address research questions regarding COVID-19 and MS, it is still aiming to prioritise funding for projects that address its research strategy and other priorities. While applications that include elements of COVID-19 research will not be out of scope, all such applications must clearly demonstrate how the project fits with the MS Society research strategy and the priorities of people affected by MS.

Applications are submitted online via the MS Society CC Grant Tracker application system.

Applications for the Catalyst Award should be submitted by the deadline on 25 May 2021.

Applications for the Early Career Fellowship, PhD Fellowship and Project Grants should be submitted by the deadline on 15 June 2021.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.