The MND Association has over 30 years of experience identifying and funding the most promising MND research. We have invested more than £18 million over the past decade, within the UK and across the world.
We are currently committed to funding over 70 research studies. These are categorised into five themes:
These projects aim to understand the causes of motor neurone degeneration. This is essential to allow the development of treatments. Only by understanding what goes wrong in MND can scientists know how to design and where to target drug treatments.
One way in which to understand the function of a gene and how this goes wrong in a disease, or the impact of a biochemical pathway malfunctioning, is to use a model. This might be in mice or isolated cells in a dish. These projects aim to develop new and better models of MND to better understand the causes of MND.
There is currently no diagnostic test for MND and no specific ‘biomarker’ to monitor the disease. These projects aim to find a marker of disease progression to speed up diagnosis, prognosis and disease monitoring of MND.
Biomedical projects are laboratory-based. They aim to identify potential causes of MND, increase scientific understanding of the mechanisms of motor neurone degeneration and develop potential new treatments.
Clinical projects are not laboratory based but still aim to increase understanding of the underlying biology of MND. These include projects such as measures of disease progression.
Healthcare projects are not laboratory based but aim to establish ways of improving care and quality of life of people living with MND. These projects include looking at quality of life factors, including management of physiological and cognitive symptoms.
We are currently co-funding a number of grants under the Marie Curie Palliative and End of Life care grant scheme.
How much do research projects cost the Association?
The MND Association awards research funding annually under four different schemes:
Project grants are usually awarded a maximum of £255,000 for up to three years to allow an in depth investigation of an area of research
PhD Studentships are a cost-effective means of conducting biomedical and clinical research (see above for explanations), while ensuring high calibre graduates can undertake a PhD training in MND-related research. These projects are awarded approximately £100,000 over three years.
MND Association/MRC Lady Edith Wolfson Clinical Research Fellowships are jointly funded by the Association and the Medical Research Council (MRC). They support clinicians (practising doctors) wishing to pursue scientific research and aim to strengthen the links between laboratory and clinic. Our financial commitment to these fellowships varies between £86,000 and £280,000 for up to five years.
Non-Clinical Fellowships aim to retain and develop early and mid-career MND researchers conducting biomedical or clinical research. These fellowships are for up to four years, with the financial award for these projects varying from up to £270,000 for a junior fellowship and up to £440,000 for a senior fellowship.