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We're the largest charitable funder of MS research in the UK. Through our application and review process we aim to fund the highest quality MS research that can make a real difference to the lives of people with MS.

Find out how we decide what to fund

All projects we fund must adhere to our award terms and conditions

If you have any questions about our research funding, or would like to subscribe to our monthly research opportunities email, please contact us at [email protected].

Current opportunities

2021 Grant Round call for applications now closed

We're delighted to have offered a call for applications for our 2021 Grant Round. Deadlines for all applications have now passed and review of applications is underway.

We'll be in touch with applicants over the summer. We expect to inform successful Catalyst Award applicants in late September. And to inform successful Project Award and Career Development Award applicants in early December.

Information on our 2021 Grant Round (now closed for applications)

As the largest charitable funder of MS research in the UK, we welcome applications 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.

We know it’s a challenging time for everyone so we've broadened eligibility of some awards and extended our usual application deadlines to be as flexible as possible. Because of the disruption in charitable income caused by the pandemic, our budget is smaller than previous years. But we’re pleased to have at least £1 million for new awards this year, to support the MS research community and offer hope to people affected by MS through funding the highest quality, most relevant MS research.

We know there are many research questions related to COVID-19 and MS that are important to answer. However, for our 2021 Grant Round we're prioritising funding for research projects relevant to our longer term strategic aims set out in our 5 year Research Strategy 2018-2022. Including a COVID-19 element in your proposed research won't make the project out of scope, but you'll need to clearly demonstrate how the project fits with our strategy and the priorities of people affected by MS.

We’re keen to support as many MS researchers as possible so value for money will be especially important this year. A priority for us is retaining talented researchers in MS, so we’ve broadened the eligibility for our postdoctoral level fellowships so early career researchers from all areas of MS research can apply.

Grant Round key details

  • Opening date: March 2021
  • Online application platform: http://research.mssociety.org.uk
  • 2021 Grant Round Applicant Guidance document
  • Deadline for lay Application Development: 12 noon Monday 12 April (see below)
  • Deadline for applications:
    • Catalyst Awards Round: 12 noon, Tuesday 25 May
    • Project Awards and Career Development Awards Rounds: 12 noon, Tuesday 15 June
  • Decisions and Start Dates:
    • Catalyst Award funding decisions will likely be communicated in late September with an earliest start date of 1 October 2021
    • Project Award and Career Development Award Funding decisions will likely be communicated in early December with an earliest start date of 1 January 2022

What do we fund?

We'll consider any application that's relevant to MS in our grant round.

We'll have four types of award:

  • Catalyst Awards
  • Project Awards
  • PhD Fellowships (a Career Development Award)
  • Early Career Fellowships (a Career Development Award)

Applications should be relevant to MS, fit with our 2018-2022 research strategy and applicants are encouraged to consider our top 10 JLA research priorities and our organisational goals when developing an application.

Please use the 2021 Grant Round applicant guidance document for more information and to support you in completing your application online.

Who is eligible to apply?

All lead applicants must be based at an UK university or NHS institution and be the Principal Investigators of the project. Project supervisors must apply for PhD Fellowships, not prospective students.

How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted via our online grants management system.

All information for completing your online application can be found in our 2021 Grant Round applicant guidance document and in the help sections of the application forms.

For more information email: [email protected] or call the research team on: 020 8438 0822.

Application development with people affected by MS

Applicants can receive informal comments from people affected by MS in our Research Network before submitting their application. This does not form part of our review process, but is intended to help applicants improve their applications by taking into account the views of people affected by MS.

This opportunity is available for our larger grants only and currently Catalyst Award applications are ineligible for lay Application Development.

Download guidance notes and an application development form

Application development offers you the chance to receive input from our Research Network before you submit your application to our Grant Round.

Involving people affected by MS in the planning of your research:

  • ensures your proposed questions are relevant to their experiences
  • improves the clarity of your lay summary
  • ensures your study design is acceptable to participants with MS.

To take advantage of this opportunity, you'll need to submit a completed Application Development application form to [email protected] by a deadline of 12 noon Monday 12 April.

The comments will be returned to you by Thursday 13 May 2021.

For all enquiries about involving people affected by MS in any stage of your research, please contact the Public Involvement Manager at [email protected]

Important update on changes to our research review processes

We’re making some changes to how we review applications to our open, response-mode funding rounds. Importantly, we’re still offering the same types of awards, but with some slight changes to names, remit and eligibility. All applications will still be reviewed by experts and our funding decisions based on the highest standards of peer review and relevance to MS and our research strategy.

These changes are necessary for us to modernise our approach to research funding as we look to generate the greatest impact we can from our charitable funds.

Our new research review processes are the result of a review of the past 10 years of grant-making activities. And they have developed out of broad and deep consultation with people affected by MS, the research community and research funding administrators. Read more about our review outcomes and the changes we’re implementing for 2021.

You can read more about these changes to our review processes in how we decide what to fund

If you have questions about these changes please email us at: [email protected] or call the research team on 020 8438 0822.

Co-funded post-doctoral Research Fellowships

We’re excited to partner with the UKRI towards Career Development Awards and clinical-focused Clinical Research Training Fellowships. We’ve also partnered with the NIHR to cofund NIHR Advanced Fellowships. Deadlines are throughout the year. Please see our partners websites for more details and to apply.

Closed Opportunities

MS Society jointly funded ABN Clinical Research Training Fellowship – deadline passed

We’re excited to be joint funding a prestigious Clinical Research Training Fellowship with the Association of British Neurologists.

The deadline for this funding opportunity has now passed. For further information on ABN Fellowships see the ABN website.

Animal research policy

Our policy on animal use in research is in line with UK law and the best practice standards set by the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

Read our policy on animal use in research