Funding

We're the largest charitable funder of MS research in the UK. We aim to fund the highest quality research that can make a real difference to the lives of people affected by 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

ECR Skills Development Awards now open for applications. Deadline at 12.00 on Tuesday 7 May 2024. Read more about Skills Development Awards on the ECR Hub.

Catalyst Awards are now open for applications. Lay summary development scheme closes on Monday 8 April 2024. Deadline for full applications at 12.00 on Tuesday 18 June 2024.

Data Discovery Awards are now open for applications. Lay summary development scheme closes on Monday 8 April 2024. Deadline for full applications at 12.00 on Tuesday 18 June 2024.

PhD Fellowships are now open for applications. Lay summary development scheme closes on Monday 8 April 2024. Deadline for full applications at 12.00 on Tuesday 18 June 2024.

Early Career Fellowships are now open for applications. ECR PPI Partnership scheme closes on Monday 8 April 2024. Deadline for full applications at 12.00 on Tuesday 18 June 2024.

You can find more information (including future round dates) and how to apply in the funding scheme information below.

Research funding schemes

We offer five 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.

Our approximate round opening times for each funding scheme are:

  • Project Awards (one round a year): applications open around October.
  • Catalyst Awards (two rounds a year): applications open around March and October.
  • Data Discovery Awards (one round a year): applications open around March.
  • PhD Fellowships (one round a year): applications open around March.
  • Early Career Fellowships (one round a year): applications open around March.

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

Involving people affected by MS in your research

You should involve people affected by MS from the early stages of preparing your application. We can help you with this. You can read more information about our PPI support on our public involvement in research page. 

Using the UK MS Register in your research

Did you know that you can apply for any of our Awards with a research project that's using the UK MS Register? Find out more about using the MS Register in your research.

  • Funding amount: up to £50,000
  • Project duration: up to 12 months
  • Opening date: March 2024 and October 2024
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 8 April 2024 and TBC November 2024
  • Deadline: 12 noon on Tuesday 18 June 2024 and TBC January 2025
  • Funding outcome: October 2024 and May 2025

 

Catalyst Awards are 12 months in duration and have an upper funding limit of £50,000. They can provide support for: 

  • short-term, small-scale pilot or proof-of-concept studies 
  • ‘high risk, high reward’ innovative research studies.  

 All Catalyst Award applications should be hypothesis-driven. Or should clearly outline the research question you’re trying to answer. When designing your Catalyst Award proposal, be realistic about what can be achieved within 12 months. Some studies may not be suitable for a Catalyst Award. But could be submitted as a small Project Award.

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.

Download Catalyst Awards Applicant Guidance [PDF, 542kB]
 Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 Research Strategy [PDF, 1.73 MB] and 2023-2024 Research Strategy Extension [PDF, 225.17 KB].  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 for a Catalyst Award?

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 a 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. You should read our Applicant Guidance document for a full list of eligible costs.

Salary costs for lead applicants, co-applicants and advisers shouldn't be included. But there are some circumstances where we'd consider a proportion of salary for one member of the applicant team. You can find more information about this in the Applicant Guidance.

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.

Read more about involvement in your Catalyst Award application in our Applicant Guidance document [PDF, 542 kB]

Read more about how we can help with PPI on our public involvement in research page.

Our optional Lay Summary Development scheme can help you to write a high quality and accessible lay summary and involvement plan.

You need to write a clear lay summary for your proposal. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. Our funding panels also include researchers without direct expertise in your area of research. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it’ll be difficult for them to comment on and score your application. And this will affect whether it might be funded.  

People affected by MS from our Research Network can give feedback on your lay summary before you submit. They can comment on:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal 
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS
  • How well you have thought through and communicated your involvement plans

You don’t have to complete Lay Summary Development if you don’t want to. You can still apply without it. It’s not part of our review process but can help you to improve your lay summary.

Read more about Lay Summary Development on our public involvement in research page.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development application form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. And should be submitted before the scheme closes.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately four weeks before the funding submission deadline. 

How do I apply for a Catalyst Award?

You must submit your application through our online grants management system, CC Grant Tracker

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. And to check that all sections of the form have been completed adequately.
  • 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. We may also send it for review outside of TERN if necessary or appropriate. For example, if we don’t have relevant expertise or there are conflicts of interest within TERN.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, applications go through a shortlisting process. This involves the TERN Review Panel Chair discussing the review scores and comments. It can also include a Vice Chair and a lay panel member, depending on the applications being considered. They’ll recommend a shortlist of the highest quality and most relevant applications for further review. These will have the best chances of being fundable in this round. The remaining applications will be rejected (triaged). We’ll 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 36% for Catalyst Award applications in 2023. And a success rate of 31% in 2022. In 2023:

  • Eleven eligible applications were submitted across two rounds
  • We took nine applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meetings
  • We funded four Catalyst Awards

  • Funding amount: No upper or lower limit.
  • Project duration: Up to 36 months
  • Opening date: October 2024
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: TBC November 2024
  • Deadline: TBC January 2025
  • Funding outcome: July 2025

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

Download Project Awards Applicant Guidance [PDF, 512kB]
 

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 Research Strategy [PDF, 1.73 mB] and 2023-2024 Research Strategy Extension [PDF, 225.17 kB]. 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 for a Project Award?

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 Project Awards 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.

Read more about involvement in your Project Award application in our Applicant Guidance document [PDF, 513 kB]

Read more about how we can help with PPI on our public involvement in research page.

You can also use of our Lay Summary Development scheme. You need to write a clear lay summary for your proposal. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. Our funding panels also include researchers without direct expertise in your area of research. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it’ll be difficult for them to comment on and score your application. And this will affect whether it might be funded.  

People affected by MS from our Research Network can give feedback on your lay summary before you submit. They can comment on:

  • how accessible your language is
  • how well they understand your research plans
  • the quality of your involvement plans
  • how important the topic is to people affected by MS

Read more about Lay Summary Development on our public involvement in research page.

You don’t have to complete Lay Summary Development if you don’t want to. And can still submit an application without it. It’s not part of our review process, but can help you to improve your lay summary. 

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development application 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 funding submission deadline. 

How do I apply for a Project Award?

You must submit your application through our online grants management system, CC Grant Tracker

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 respond to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 14 days to submit your rebuttal. We’ll advise you of the rebuttal period dates in advance.
  • Based on the TERN review scores, applications go through a shortlisting process. This involves the TERN Review Panel Chair, Vice Chair and a lay panel member discussing the review scores, comments and your rebuttal. They’ll recommend a shortlist of the highest quality and most relevant applications for further review. These will have the best chances of being fundable in this round. The remaining applications will be rejected (triaged). We’ll 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 44% for Project Award applications in 2023. And 23% in 2022. In 2023:

  • Nine eligible applications were submitted
  • We took six applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded four Project Awards

  • Funding amount: See ‘What will you fund?’ section below
  • Project duration: Up to 36 months
  • Opening date: March 2024
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 8 April 2024
  • Deadline: 12 noon on Tuesday 18 June 2024
  • Funding outcome: December 2024

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

Download PhD Fellowships applicant guidance [PDF, 553 KB]
 

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 Research Strategy [PDF, 1.73 mB] and 2023-2024 Research Strategy Extension [PDF, 225.17 kB]. 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. 

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 line with MRC guidelines
  • up to £7,000 per year towards tuition fees 
  • a maximum of £15,000 each year in running costs. 
  • up to £1,000 each year in conference costs.

You can find the full list of eligible costs in our PhD Fellowships 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.

Read more about involvement in your PhD Fellowship application in our Applicant Guidance document [PDF, 553 KB]

Read more about how we can help with PPI on our public involvement in research page.

Our optional Lay Summary Development scheme can help you to write a high quality and accessible lay summary and involvement plan.

You need to write a clear lay summary for your proposal. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. Our funding panels also include researchers without direct expertise in your area of research. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it’ll be difficult for them to comment on and score your application. And this will affect whether it might be funded.  

People affected by MS from our Research Network can give feedback on your lay summary before you submit. They can comment on:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal 
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS
  • How well you have thought through and communicated your involvement plans

You don’t have to complete Lay Summary Development if you don’t want to. You can still apply without it. It’s not part of our review process but can help you to improve your lay summary.

Read more about Lay Summary Development on our public involvement in research page.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development application form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. And should be submitted before the scheme closes.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately four weeks before the funding submission deadline. 

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. And to check that all sections of the form have been completed adequately.
  • 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.
  • This involves the TERN Review Panel Chair discussing the review scores and comments. It can also include a Vice Chair and a lay panel member, depending on the applications being considered. They’ll recommend a shortlist of the highest quality and most relevant applications for further review. These will have the best chances of being fundable in this round. The remaining applications will be rejected (triaged). We’ll tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced. 
  • If your application is shortlisted, you’re invited to provide a rebuttal to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 14 days to submit this and we’ll advise you of the rebuttal dates in advance. 
  • 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 17% for PhD Fellowship applications in 2023. And 50% in 2022. In 2023:

  • Twelve eligible applications were submitted
  • We took seven applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded two PhD Fellowships

  • Funding amount: Up to £250,000
  • Project duration: Up to 48 months
  • Opening date: March 2024
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 8 April 2024
  • ECR PPI Partnership scheme closes: Monday 8 April 2024
  • Deadline: 12 noon on Tuesday 18 June 2024
  • Funding outcome: December 2024

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.

Download Early Career Fellowship applicant guidance [PDF, 715 KB]
 

Your application should be relevant to MS and fit with our 2018-2022 Research Strategy [PDF, 1.73 mB] and 2023-2024 Research Strategy Extension [PDF, 225.17 kB]. 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?

If you’re applying as Lead Applicant, you must be the prospective Early Career Fellow. And you must’ve completed a PhD in a relevant science or health discipline. If you’ve completed a doctoral-level qualification other than a PhD, please contact us to discuss your eligibility. You can apply before your PhD (or equivalent) 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 Early Career Fellowship applications are assessed on more than just the experience of the applicant (‘Person’). The quality and relevance of the Project, and the quality of the training plan and environment (‘Place’) are also important factors. So we encourage you to apply even 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 application. 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’re a clinician or healthcare professional you may be eligible to apply for one of our co-funded schemes. We partner with UKRI, NIHR and the Association of British Neurologists to offer clinical fellowships. If you’d like to discuss which funding scheme would be most suitable for you, please email us at [email protected].

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 Early Career Fellowships 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 and application 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. 

Read more about involvement in your Early Career Fellowship application in our Applicant Guidance document [PDF, 715 kB]

Read more about how we can help with PPI on our public involvement in research page.

For Early Career Fellowship applicants, we offer two schemes to support you with patient and public involvement. You can apply either for lay summary development or the ECR PPI Partnership scheme. You can't do both. 

Lay summary development

Our optional Lay Summary Development scheme can help you to write a high quality and accessible lay summary and involvement plan.

You need to write a clear lay summary for your proposal. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. Our funding panels also include researchers without direct expertise in your area of research. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it’ll be difficult for them to comment on and score your application. And this will affect whether it might be funded.  

People affected by MS from our Research Network can give feedback on your lay summary before you submit. They can comment on:

  • how well you have communicated your research proposal 
  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS
  • How well you have thought through and communicated your involvement plans

You don’t have to complete Lay Summary Development if you don’t want to. You can still apply without it. It’s not part of our review process but can help you to improve your lay summary.

Read more about Lay Summary Development on our public involvement in research page.

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development application form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. And should be submitted before the scheme closes.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately four weeks before the funding submission deadline. 

Early Career Researcher PPI Partnership

We’re offering Early Career Fellowship applicants extra support in developing your lay summary and involvement plans for your Fellowship. The PPI Partnership Scheme is only available to researchers applying to our Early Career Fellowship award round. We’ve designed this scheme to support early career researchers, who may have less experience of PPI, to develop their skills in this area. 

You’ll receive more intensive PPI support compared to our Lay Summary Development scheme. You’ll be paired with someone (or a small group) affected by MS who’ll be your PPI partner. Your partner can help you develop your ideas from the perspective of those affected by your research topic. You’ll receive verbal feedback from your PPI partner through a series of online meetings, rather than one-off written feedback as with Lay Summary Development. This format gives you a chance to ask for clarification on the feedback you receive and to ask follow-up questions. You'll take your re-drafted application back to your PPI partner to show the changes you have made based on their feedback. And actively work with them to make improvements before you submit.

You don’t have to take part in the ECR PPI Partnership if you don’t want to. You can still apply without it. This isn’t part of our review process, but is intended to help you to improve your application. 

If you’d like to take part in the ECR PPI Partnership, you’ll need to complete the PPI Partnership application form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. And should be submitted before the scheme closes.

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You should expect to meet with your PPI partner from late April to early June 2024.

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. And to check that all sections of the form have been completed adequately.
  • 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.
  • This involves the TERN Review Panel Chair discussing the review scores and comments. It can also include a Vice Chair and a lay panel member, depending on the applications being considered. They’ll recommend a shortlist of the highest quality and most relevant applications for further review. These will have the best chances of being fundable in this round. The remaining applications will be rejected (triaged). We’ll tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced. 
  • If your application is shortlisted, you’re invited to provide a rebuttal to the reviewers’ comments. You’ll have 14 days to submit this and we’ll advise you of the rebuttal dates in advance. 
  • Shortlisted applications are considered by invited TERN members at the Career Development Awards TERN Review Panel meeting.
  • If your application is shortlisted, you'll 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 40% for Early Career Fellowship applications in 2023. And 66% in 2022. In 2023:

  • Five eligible applications were submitted
  • We took three applications through triage to the TERN Review Panel Meeting
  • We funded two Early Career Fellowships

  • Funding amount: Up to £50,000
  • Project duration: Up to 12 months
  • Opening date: March 2024
  • Lay summary development scheme closes: Monday 8 April 2024
  • Deadline: 12 noon on Tuesday 18 June 2024
  • Funding outcome: October 2024

Our Data Discovery Awards provide support for research projects designed 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) 

Download Data Discovery Awards Applicant Guidance [PDF, 482kB]
 

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. 

The UK MS Register must check that your proposed project is feasible before you submit your application to us. This is essential to confirm that the UK MS Register holds the appropriate data for your project. And to confirm the estimated cost of accessing the data. You’ll find more information on this process in the ‘How do I apply?’ section below. And in the Data Discovery Awards Applicant Guidance.  

Who’s eligible to apply?

Both junior and established researchers are eligible to apply for our Data Discovery 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.

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. 

Read more about involvement in your Data Discovery Award application in our Applicant Guidance document [PDF, 481 KB] 

Read more about how we can help with PPI on our public involvement in research page. 

Our optional Lay Summary Development scheme can help you to write a high quality and accessible lay summary and involvement plan. 

You need to write a clear lay summary for your proposal. People affected by MS will review your application alongside experts in your field. Our funding panels also include researchers without direct expertise in your area of research. If your lay summary is too brief or too complex, it’ll be difficult for them to comment on and score your application. And this will affect whether it might be funded.   

People affected by MS from our Research Network can give feedback on your lay summary before you submit. They can comment on: 

  • how well you've communicated your research proposal  

  • the importance of the topic to people affected by MS 

  • How well you've thought through and communicated your involvement plans 

You don’t have to complete Lay Summary Development if you don’t want to. You can still apply without it. It’s not part of our review process but can help you to improve your lay summary. 

Read more about Lay Summary Development on our public involvement in research page. 

If you’d like to go through Lay Summary Development, you’ll need to complete the Lay Summary Development application form. This can be downloaded from the sidebar. And should be submitted before the scheme closes. 

You should email your completed form to [email protected]. You’ll receive feedback on your summary approximately four weeks before the funding submission deadline. 

How do I apply?

Before you can submit your application to us, you must check the feasibility of your proposal with the UK MS Register. The process for this is as follows:

  1. Complete and submit an initial Expression of Interest form to the UK MS Register team. They’ll then contact you to arrange a call to discuss your proposal further.

    Complete the ‘Working with the UK MS Register Expression of Interest’ form
     
  2. If your proposal is suitable, the UK MS Register team will ask you to complete a DDA Feasibility Assessment Form to provide more information. Including your project aims, methodology/protocol and statistical analysis plan.
     
  3. If your proposal is confirmed as feasible by the UK MS Register team, they’ll send you a PDF copy of your DDA Feasibility Assessment Form. This must be included in the application you submit to us.

Please be aware that the UK MS Register team will need to receive details about your project at least four weeks in advance of our application submission deadline. So please make sure you factor time in to complete these UK MS Register feasibility checks.

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

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

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

What’s the review process for Data Discovery Awards?

  • Once you’ve submitted your application, we’ll validate it to make sure it fits the remit of the Data Discovery Awards. And to check that all sections of the form have been completed adequately. We’ll also check that the UK MS Register Team have confirmed the feasibility of your proposal.
  • If your application is eligible, we send it for independent review by members of the MS Register Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) who have relevant expertise. This includes review by lay members. We may also send it for review outside of the SSC if necessary or appropriate. For example, if we don't have relevant expertise within the SSC. Or there are conflicts of interest.  
  • If we receive a higher number of applications than we can take to the Review Panel meeting, applications will go through a shortlisting (triage) process. This’ll be based on scores from independent review.   
  • This involves a shortlisting process by the Review Panel Chair. It can sometimes include a Vice Chair and lay panel member. They’ll recommend a shortlist of the highest quality and most relevant applications for further review. These will have the best chances of being fundable in this round.  The remaining applications will be rejected (triaged) . If shortlisting is required, we’ll tell all applicants the triage outcomes around a month before funding outcomes are announced.  
  • Shortlisted applications will then be considered by the SSC members at the Review Panel meeting. We may also invite experts from outside of the SSC where necessary or appropriate. For example, if we need additional expertise or there are conflicts of interest.  
  • The SSC Review Panel provide 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 Data Discovery Award applications?

There was a success rate of 20% for Data Discovery Award applications in 2023. And 33% in 2022. In 2023:

  • Five eligible applications were submitted and were reviewed by the SSC at the Review Panel Meeting.
  • We funded one Data Discovery Award.

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.

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. 

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

2024 Catalyst Awards Round 1 and Project Awards call for applications now closed

We're pleased to have offered calls for our Catalyst Awards Round 1 and Project Awards. The deadline for these has now passed. We'll tell applicants the outcome of their applications in May and July respectively. 

Catalyst Awards will open for applications in Spring 2024. Project Awards will open again for applications in Autumn 2024.

MS Society Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) in Symptom Management call for applications now closed

We're delighted to have offered a call for the first MS Society DTC in Symptom Management. This deadline for this has now passed. Applicants will be told the outcome of their applications in the winter.

Connect Immune Research Lab Placement Grants call for applications now closed

We're pleased to have offered a call for applications with the Connect Immune Research Partnership for Lab Placement Grants. The deadline for this opportunity has now passed. The British Society for Immunology are administering this call on behalf of the Connect Immune Partners. You can find more information on the BSI 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