A future free from MND can't happen without people

MND research is complex – it takes time and requires specialised equipment and is therefore expensive to fund. But it is the only way we’ll ever win the fight against this truly heartbreaking disease.

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The Pre-Fellowship scheme

photo of researcher in a lab

Often, researchers need strong data to support their application for a research grant. They need to show their work has real potential, but the challenge is securing enough data - this is where our Pre-Fellowship scheme can help.

The scheme provides early-career researchers with 12-18 months of funding. This is a unique opportunity for them to obtain the experimental data they need to apply for the MND Fellowship scheme. 

Another brilliant aspect of the scheme is that pre-fellows will have access to mentoring from experts in MND, to strengthen their knowledge. They’ll also get the chance to meet people living with MND which is so important. 

Former MND researcher Dr Sophie Nyberg, who now works at the MND Association, details below how difficult it is to secure funding and the difference it can make.

Dr Sophie Nyberg - Research Programmes and Partnerships Manager

Photo of Dr Sophie Nyberg

My name is Sophie and as a former MND researcher myself, I know first hand how expensive research is and just how difficult it can be to secure funding.  

50% of PhD graduates are forced to hang up their lab coats within five years* – what if one of these researchers holds the answer to a cure for MND? 

The hope is that by creating more opportunities for early-career researchers like the Pre-Fellowship scheme, treatments can be found in years, rather than decades. 

I have been in the very position that many early-career researchers find themselves in. After years of studying, I gained my PhD in neuroscience and spent a couple of years in MND research. I wanted to understand why there are so few treatments for diseases affecting the brain and spinal cord. 

However, when my contract came to an end, it was really tough to find another job in my chosen area of research. There simply wasn’t enough funding. So I had no choice but to leave behind my career as an academic researcher. 

We can’t risk losing even more promising MND researchers.  

I knew I wanted to continue making a difference, even after leaving the lab. That’s what led me to my current role at the MND Association.  

Although I’m not in the lab now, I still feel really passionate about making sure there are stepping stones in place for more emerging researchers to continue researching MND. We must keep creating new opportunities to retain and maintain the next generation of MND researchers. 

People are so incredibly important to MND research. People like the researchers who are dedicating their careers to searching for possible new treatments. People living with MND who take part in research, giving scientists more insight into this devastating disease. And you. 

By donating today, you’ll be helping the MND researchers of tomorrow join the search for a cure. 

* S. Milojević, F. Radicchi and J.P. Walsh, 2018, Changing demographics of scientific careers: The rise of the temporary workforce, www.pnas.org 

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Meet the PEOPLE set to push boundaries

Dr Mole and Dr Carroll are the first ever recipients of the new Pre-Fellowship scheme. We caught up with them to learn more about their MND research plans for the future.


Dr Alannah Mole - University of Sheffield


Photo of Dr Mole

“In a previous role I met an inspiring young boy with an incurable neuromuscular disease. I began researching his condition, and discovered that I had a deep interest in diseases that affect movement.

“Through my research I met patients and their families who inspired and motivated me to continue working in MND research.

“It can be difficult to gather enough data to support fellowship applications so Pre-Fellowship funding is particularly valuable. I am very grateful to have been awarded this.

“This funding will support my research into the sequence and timing of events that lead to nerve cell failure in MND – and to ultimately one day find a way to minimise the damage caused.”

Dr Emily Carroll - University of Oxford

Photo of Dr Carroll

“I was devastated to learn of the lack of treatments available and the impact of the disease on people living with MND and their families. This is what motivates me to further understand what causes the disease and find new, more effective treatments.

“There is currently no cure for MND, and new treatments are desperately needed. The traditional drug discovery process is time consuming, expensive and carries a high risk of failure. My research involves looking at re-purposing existing drugs, which are currently used to treat other conditions, and seeing whether they can be effective in the treatment of MND.

“I hope that by examining these existing drugs, we will be able to ‘fast-track’ the drug discovery process for MND. The opportunities this funding provides will really push MND research forward.”


The PEOPLE accelerating MND research

As part of nationwide plans to make great strides in MND research, the UK MND Research Institute was launched in November 2023.

This new initiative brings together a never seen before network of labs, clinical centres and researchers all committed to seeing a world free from MND. The institute will see people living with MND and charities including the MND Association – work together with researchers in a more coordinated way. 

They’ll focus on understanding how and why MND happens, what might work as a treatment, and testing possible treatments in clinical trials.

This is such an exciting development in MND research. More people joining together will bring us even closer to our goal of a world free from MND.


MND research is nothing without people, dedicated researchers and you.

How PEOPLE like you can help

With research projects being very costly, it can be hard to understand the impact your donation could make. But take a look at what it could achieve...

If 70 people each donate £10

it could fund the costs of lab equipment and consumables used by an MND researcher for one month.

If 40 people each donate £25

it could pay for detailed analysis of the DNA of someone with MND to help better understand the causes of the disease.

If 100 people each donate £50

it could fund one year of advanced data-processing and storage for a research project.