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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 research that can make a real difference to the lives of people with MS.

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].

You can manage your applications and funded Awards through our online grants management system, CC Grant Tracker

Current funding opportunities

Here are our current opportunities:

  • Autumn Catalyst Awards - funding call now open. Deadline for lay summary development on Monday 11 July 2022. Deadline for full applications on Tuesday 6 September 2022.

You can find more information and how to apply in the funding scheme information below.

2022 Grant Rounds – key information

We have a budget of around £2 million to spend on new research via our grant rounds this year.

Our Research Strategy 2018 – 2022 (see document in sidebar) is at the heart of our approach to research and our mission to improve the lives of people with MS.

This year, we remain focused on funding research questions relevant to our research strategy. We’d welcome proposals relevant to the prevention of MS as this is an area of our strategy that has received fewer applications in the past. Including a COVID-19 element in your proposal won’t make your project out of scope, but you’ll need to clearly demonstrate how it fits with our strategy. And the priorities of people affected by MS.

In 2022 we’ll continue to support capacity building in MS research, encouraging Early Career Researchers and those new to MS research to apply to us. Our Grant Round funding is a vital route for delivering our strategy for improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in MS. From this year we’ll be placing greater focus in this area to support our action plan for EDI in research funding, which you can download from the sidebar on the EDI webpage.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

Research funding schemes

We offer four grant types which you can apply to for funding through our response-mode grant round program. These are designed to support you at different stages of your career in MS research. We also offer several co-funding opportunities with deadlines throughout the year. And occasionally commissioned funding calls in strategically important areas.

You should involve people affected by MS from the early stages of preparing your application. We can help you with this. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information.

We'll always provide information on our available funding on this page. You can select the relevant grant type below for more specific information.

Catalyst Awards

  • Funding amount: Up to £50,000
  • Project duration: Up to 12 months
  • Opening date: January 2022 and June 2022
  • Lay summary development deadline: 7 March 2022 and 11 July 2022
  • Deadline: 27 April 2022 and 6 September 2022
  • Funding outcome: July 2022 and December 2022

Catalyst Awards provide support for short-term, small-scale pilot or proof-of-concept research projects. These may be “high risk, high reward” type projects and must be hypothesis-driven. We run two Catalyst rounds a year.

We intend for researchers from within and outside the MS field to use these Awards to explore innovative ideas in MS research. If merited, your ideas may lead to further support through our larger grant schemes or other funding sources.

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 research strategy. You're also encouraged to consider our top 10 JLA research priorities and our organisational goals when developing your application.

Your Catalyst Award application is eligible for Lay Summary Development with people affected by MS. You can find out more information about this below.

Who’s eligible to apply?

Both junior and established researchers are eligible to apply for Catalyst Awards.

You’re expected to have a contract (fixed-term or tenure) which covers the proposed duration of the grant. You must be based at an UK university or NHS institution and be the Principal Investigator of the project.

What will we fund?

We’ll consider research budgets including running costs (consumables, animal costs, human tissue costs), equipment, and conferences. Please note that a proportion of your salary costs may be considered for Catalyst Awards but only in exceptional circumstances. You can find the full list of eligible costs in our 2022 Grant Round applicant guidance document in the sidebar.

Lay summary development with people affected by MS

You should involve people affected by MS to help design your research. You should do this as early as you can and we can help. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information. 

You can also take advantage of our Lay Summary Development scheme during our open application period.

Lay Summary Development can help you write a clear lay summary for your application. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it will be difficult for them to comment and score your application. And this will have an impact on whether it might be funded.

People affected by MS from our Research Network can provide feedback on your application before you submit. They will look at:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS.

This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your lay summary before you submit.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development request form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately 4 weeks before the grant submission deadline. For 2022, the latest dates you can expect to receive your feedback are 28 March 2022 and 8 August 2022, respectively.

How do I apply?

You must submit your application via our online grants management system.

You can find information for completing your online application in our ‘How to complete your application’ document in the sidebar. And in the help sections of the application forms on Grant Tracker.

For more information you can email [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

What’s the review process for Catalyst Awards?

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, we validate it to make sure it fits the remit of the Catalyst Awards round.
  • If your application is eligible, we send it for independent review by members of The Expert Review Network (TERN) with relevant expertise. This includes review by lay members.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, low scoring applications are then triaged. This involves a shortlisting process by the TERN Review Panel Chair, Vice Chair and a lay panel member. We will tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced.
  • Shortlisted applications are considered by invited TERN members at the Catalyst Awards TERN Review Panel meeting.
  • The TERN Review Panel provides a recommendation to us about which applications should be funded.
  • Our Board of Trustees then considers their recommendations for funding.
  • Following approval by the Board, we’ll communicate official funding offers, awards are made and projects start.

What’s the success rate for Catalyst Award applications?

There was a success rate of 20% for Catalyst Award applications in 2021.

  • 10 eligible applications were submitted
  • We took 5 applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded 2 Catalyst Awards

Project Awards

  • Funding amount: No upper or lower limit.
  • Project duration: Up to 36 months
  • Opening date: Friday 11 March 2022
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 11 April 2022
  • Deadline: Tuesday 7 June 2022
  • Funding outcome: November 2022

Project Awards provide support for research projects designed to answer a single question, or a small group of related questions. Such questions must be directed towards our Research Strategy. Applications must be hypothesis-driven.

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 research strategy. You are also encouraged to consider our top 10 JLA research priorities and our organisational goals when developing your application.

Your Project Award application is eligible for Lay Summary Development with people affected by MS. You can find more information about this below.

Who’s eligible to apply?

Our Project Awards are intended for established researchers, but junior researchers are also eligible to apply.

You’re expected to have a contract (fixed-term or tenure) which covers the proposed duration of the grant. You must be based at an UK university or NHS institution and be the Principal Investigator of the project.

What will you fund?

There is no upper or lower limit for Project Award budgets, but we’ll consider value for money as one of the review criteria.

We’ll consider research budgets including salaries (research, technical), running costs (consumables, animal costs, human tissue costs), equipment, and conferences. Please note that you can’t include your salary costs or those of your co-applicants. You can find the full list of eligible costs in our 2022 Grant Round applicant guidance document in the sidebar.

Lay summary development with people affected by MS

You should involve people affected by MS to help design your research. You should do this as early as you can, and we can help. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information. 

You can also take advantage of our Lay Summary Development scheme during our open application period.

Lay Summary Development can help you write a clear lay summary for your application. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it will be difficult for them to comment and score your application. And this will have an impact on whether it might be funded.

People affected by MS from our Research Network can provide feedback on your application before you submit. They will look at:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS.

This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your lay summary before you submit.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development request form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately 4 weeks before the grant submission deadline. For 2022, the latest date you can expect to receive your feedback is 9 May 2022.

How do I apply?

You must submit your applications via our online grants management system.

You can find information for completing your online application in our ‘How to complete your application’ document in the sidebar. And in the help sections of the application forms on Grant Tracker.

For more information you can email [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

What’s the review process for Project Awards?

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, we validate it to make sure it fits the remit of the Project Awards round.
  • If your application is eligible, we send it for independent, external review by members of the research community with relevant expertise and members of our Research Network.
  • Once we’ve received the external reviews, you’re invited to provide a rebuttal to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 10 days to submit this and we’ll advise you of the rebuttal period dates in advance.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, low scoring applications are then triaged. This involves a shortlisting process by the TERN Review Panel Chair, Vice Chair and a lay panel member. We will tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced.
  • Shortlisted applications are considered by invited TERN members at the Project Awards TERN Review Panel meeting.
  • The TERN Review Panel provides a recommendation to us about which applications should be funded.
  • Our Board of Trustees then considers their recommendations for funding.
  • Following approval by the Board, we’ll communicate official funding offers, awards are made and projects start.

What’s the success rate for Project Award applications?

There was a success rate of 21% for Project Award applications in 2021.

  • 19 eligible applications were submitted
  • We took 9 applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded 4 Project Awards

PhD Fellowships

  • Funding amount: See ‘What will you fund?’ section below
  • Project duration: Up to 36 months
  • Opening date: Friday 11 March 2022
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 11 April 2022
  • Deadline: Tuesday 7 June 2022
  • Funding outcome: November 2022

PhD Fellowships are one of our Career Development Awards, designed to encourage the best science graduates to embark on a research career in MS.

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 research strategy. You are also encouraged to consider our top 10 JLA research priorities and our organisational goals when developing your application.

Your PhD Fellowship application is eligible for Lay Summary Development with people affected by MS. You can find more information about this below.

Who’s eligible to apply?

PhD Fellowships are awarded to the prospective supervisor of the project. You’re responsible for identifying a suitable student. You don’t need to name them when making your application. Students must have a minimum of upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, before starting the project.

The research environment and quality of the training provided will be key considerations for review.

You’re expected to have a contract (fixed-term or tenure) which covers the proposed duration of the grant. You must be based at an UK university or NHS institution and be the Principal Investigator of the project.

What will you fund?

PhD Fellowships are typically around £100,000. We’ll fund PhD stipends in accordance with MRC guidelines, up to £7,000 per year towards tuition fees and a maximum of £15,000 per year in running costs. We’ll also fund up to £3,000 in conference costs.

You can find the full list of eligible costs in our 2022 Grant Round applicant guidance document in the sidebar.

Lay summary development with people affected by MS

You should involve people affected by MS to help design your research. You should do this as early as you can, and we can help. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information. 

You can also take advantage of our Lay Summary Development scheme during our open application period.

Lay Summary Development can help you write a clear lay summary for your application. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it will be difficult for them to comment and score your application. And this will have an impact on whether it might be funded.

People affected by MS from our Research Network can provide feedback on your application before you submit. They will look at:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS.

This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your lay summary before you submit.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development request form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately 4 weeks before the grant submission deadline. For 2022, the latest date you can expect to receive your feedback is 9 May 2022.

How do I apply?

You must submit your application via our online grants management system.

You can find all information for completing your online application in our ‘How to complete your application’ document in the sidebar. And in the help sections of the application forms on Grant Tracker.

For more information you can email [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

What’s the review process for PhD Fellowships?

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, we validate it to make sure it fits the remit of the PhD Fellowships round.
  • If your application is eligible, we send it for independent, external review by members of the research community with relevant expertise and members of our Research Network.
  • Once we’ve received the external reviews, you’re invited to provide a rebuttal to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 10 days to submit this and we’ll advise you of the rebuttal period dates in advance.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, low scoring applications are then triaged. This involves a shortlisting process by the TERN Review Panel Chair, Vice Chair and a lay panel member. We will tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced.
  • Shortlisted applications are considered by invited TERN members at the Career Development Awards TERN Review Panel meeting.
  • The TERN Review Panel provides a recommendation to us about which applications should be funded.
  • Our Board of Trustees then considers their recommendations for funding.
  • Following approval by the Board, we’ll communicate official funding offers, awards are made and projects start.

What’s the success rate for PhD Fellowship applications?

There was a success rate of 16% for PhD Fellowship applications in 2021.

  • 12 eligible applications were submitted
  • We took 8 applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded 2 PhD Fellowships

Early Career Fellowships

  • Funding amount: Up to £250,000
  • Project duration: Up to 48 months
  • Opening date: Friday 11 March 2022
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 11 April 2022
  • Deadline: Tuesday 7 June 2022
  • Funding outcome: November 2022

Early Career Fellowships are one of our Career Development Awards, aiming to attract and retain talented postdoctoral researchers who want to build a successful career in MS research. These grants provide a staged career structure and the opportunity for you to progress towards higher level appointments.

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 research strategy. You are also encouraged to consider our top 10 JLA research priorities and our organisational goals when developing your application.

Your Early Career Fellowship application is eligible for Lay Summary Development with people affected by MS. You can find more information about this below.

Who’s eligible to apply?

You must be the Early Career Fellowship candidate and have completed a PhD in a relevant science or health discipline. You can apply before your PhD is awarded, but the award must be made before the Fellowship starts. We’ve found that Fellowships are usually awarded to researchers after their first or second postdoc. But we’ll still consider your application if you’re earlier on in your career. Fellowships are available to everyone conducting research across the spectrum of MS research.

You must be based at an UK university or NHS institution and be the Principal Investigator of the project. You need to name a supervisor on your applications. They must be actively involved in the project and are responsible for supporting you throughout. Supervisors are required to sign-off the application before you submit.

If you are a clinician wanting to do a research PhD or postdoctoral research alongside clinical service, we partner with UKRI, NIHR and the Association of British Neurologists to offer clinical fellowships. You can find more information under co-funded postdoctoral research Fellowships.

What will you fund?

Your salary is funded as part of the Fellowship. We’ll consider research budgets including running costs (consumables, animal costs, human tissue costs), equipment, and conferences. You can find the full list of eligible costs in our 2022 Grant Round applicant guidance document in the sidebar.

We support flexible and part-time working for Early Career Fellows (part-time working should be a minimum of 50% FTE). If you'd like to discuss this further within the context of your application, you can email [email protected].

Lay summary development with people affected by MS

You should involve people affected by MS to help design your research. You should do this as early as you can, and we can help. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information. 

You can also take advantage of our Lay Summary Development scheme during our open application period.

Lay Summary Development can help you write a clear lay summary for your application. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it will be difficult for them to comment and score your application. And this will have an impact on whether it might be funded.

People affected by MS from our Research Network can provide feedback on your application before you submit. They will look at:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS.

This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your lay summary before you submit.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development request form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately 4 weeks before the grant submission deadline. For 2022, the latest date you can expect to receive your feedback is 9 May 2022.

What’s the review process for Early Career Fellowships?

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, we validate it to make sure it fits the remit of the Early Career Fellowships round.
  • If your application is eligible, we send it for independent, external review by members of the research community with relevant expertise and members of our Research Network.
  • Once we’ve received the external reviews, you’re invited to provide a rebuttal to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 10 days to submit this and we’ll advise you of the rebuttal period dates in advance.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, low scoring applications are then triaged. This involves a shortlisting process by the TERN Review Panel Chair, Vice Chair and a lay panel member. We will tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced.
  • Shortlisted applications are considered by invited TERN members at the Career Development Awards TERN Review Panel meeting.
  • If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to interview at the Review Panel meeting.
  • The TERN Review Panel provides a recommendation to us about which applications should be funded.
  • Our Board of Trustees then considers their recommendations for funding.
  • Following approval by the Board, we’ll communicate official funding offers, awards are made and projects start.

How do I apply?

You must submit your applications via our online grants management system.

You can find all information for completing your online application in our ‘How to complete your application’ document in the sidebar. And in the help sections of the application forms on Grant Tracker.

For more information you can email [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

What’s the success rate for Early Career Fellowship applications?

There was a success rate of 20% for Early Career Fellowship applications in 2021.

  • 5 eligible applications were submitted
  • We took 3 applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded 1 Early Career Fellowship

Data Discovery Awards

  • Funding amount: Up to £50,000
  • Project duration: Up to 12 months
  • Opening date: Monday 14 March 2022
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Friday 1 April 2022
  • Deadline: Wednesday 11 May 2022
  • Funding outcome: August 2022

We’re launching our new Data Discovery awards to increase our understanding of MS risk factors. We hope these will provide a more combined approach to assess someone’s risk of developing MS and ultimately help us to develop new preventative strategies.

These awards will be for up to £50,000 for one year. You must use data from the UK MS Register, either alone or with other existing datasets. Your project should aim to do one of the following:

  • Uncover new risk factors for developing MS, with a particular emphasis on modifiable risk factors (towards primary prevention)
  • Further characterise known MS risk factors in a way that will take us towards preventative strategies
  • Increase our understanding of modifiable risk factors and comorbidities that influence MS progression (towards secondary prevention)

We won’t fund applications relating to licenced pharmacological interventions for MS. You must also include public and patient involvement in the development and delivery of your project.

You can download more information on these awards in our ‘Data Discovery Award funding brief’ document in the sidebar.

 

Lay summary development with people affected by MS

You should involve people affected by MS to help design your research. You should do this as early as you can, and we can help. Go to our public involvement in research page for more information. 

You can also take advantage of our Lay Summary Development scheme during our open application period.

Lay Summary Development can help you write a clear lay summary for your application. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it will be difficult for them to comment and score your application. And this will have an impact on whether it might be funded.

People affected by MS from our Research Network can provide feedback on your application before you submit. They will look at:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS.

This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your lay summary before you submit.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development request form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. Please see the form for the relevant submission deadline.

 

How do I apply?

You must submit your applications via our online grants management system.

You can find all information for completing your online application in our ‘Data Discovery Award funding brief’ document in the sidebar.

For more information you can email [email protected] or call us on 020 8438 0822.

Co-funded opportunities

Co-funded postdoctoral Research Fellowships

UKRI Career Development Awards and Clinical Research Training Fellowships

We’re excited to partner with the UKRI towards their Career Development Awards and clinical-focused Clinical Research Training Fellowships.

Career Development Awards support postdoctoral researchers to establish your own research group and transition to independent investigator.

Clinical Research Training Fellowships support clinicians to undertake a PhD or other higher research degree. The scheme also provides a route for postdoctoral applicants who achieved their PhD some time ago but who have not been research active since due to clinical training commitments to reacquire research skills.

NIHR Advanced Fellowships

We’ve also partnered with the NIHR to co-fund their Advanced Fellowships. These are for postdoctoral researchers at various stages of your career. The Fellowship funding is for 2-5 years and you can complete it on a full- or part-time basis (between 50-100% whole time equivalent).

If you are a clinical applicant, you can request up to 40% of your time to dedicate to clinical service or development. This time will be paid for by the Award.

How do I apply for a co-funded Fellowship?

Deadlines are throughout the year. You can find more details and apply through our partners’ websites.

How do we decide what to fund?

All research funding applications we receive are reviewed by other researchers with relevant expertise (peer review) and by people affected by MS (lay review).

Depending on the funding scheme you have applied to, the review process may be slightly different. Some of these reviewers may part of The Expert Review Network (TERN). All of our funding panels are made up of TERN members with relevant expertise to the funding round and applications being assessed.

You can find an overview of the review process for each funding scheme in the tabs above. There is also a diagram of the review process in our 2022 Applicant Guidance document, which you can download from the sidebar.

 

Our review processes

As a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), we follow their principles of peer review. These principles are the benchmark for ‘best practice’ for reviewing funding applications to medical and health research charities. And ensure quality and fairness in decision-making.

You can find the scoring criteria used by our review panels as an appendix in the Applicant Guidance document. This can be downloaded from the sidebar.

We are audited by AMRC every 5 years to make sure we are still keeping pace with best practice. Our review processes were last audited in 2020 and meet the criteria for best practice.

Closed opportunities

Project Awards and Career Development Awards call for applications now closed

We're pleased to have offered an open call for our Project Awards and Career Development Awards. The deadline for these has now passed. We'll tell applicants the outcome of their applications in the Winter. We'll offer these Awards again in 2023.

Data Discovery Awards call for applications now closed

We're excited to have offered the first call for our new Data Discovery Awards. The deadline for these has now passed. We'll tell applicants the outcome of their applications in the Autumn.

Spring Catalyst Awards round now closed

We're delighted to have offered our Spring Catalyst Awards round for cutting-edge MS research. The deadline for the Spring round has now passed. We'll tell applicants the outcome of their applications in the Summer. We'll also be launching a further call for Catalyst Awards later in the year.

BIRAX Ageing call for applications now closed

We’re pleased to have partnered with the British Council to support UK-Israeli research through the BIRAX initiative. The deadline for this opportunity has now passed. You can find further information on the British Council’s website.

Targeting shared mechanisms in autoimmune conditions call for applications now closed

We're pleased to have offered a call for applications with the Connect Immune Research Partnership and The Lorna and Yuti Chernajovsky Foundation for Biomedical Research. The deadline for this opportunity has now passed. Versus Arthritis are administering this call on behalf of the Connect Immune Partners and the Chernajovsky Foundation. You can find further information on Versus Arthritis 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

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