In order to move forward in research it is vital that we help young, talented scientists into the world of MND research, as more top-notch researchers equals more top-notch research!
For the past twelve years we have been funding graduate students to learn more about the disease by conducting their own three year research projects under the careful supervision of an expert in MND. Not only do these studentships offer to bring fresh blood into the world of MND research with new and exciting ideas, but real scientific questions about MND research are answered in the process. Once a student has completed their studentship and has passed successfully they are then awarded their doctorate and hopefully choose to further their career in MND research.
However, we can’t (and should not) cherry pick graduates for studentships. The way in which we fund studentships involves researchers – in this case the ‘supervisors’ applying to us for funding. We will only provide funding to projects that can stand up to the full scientific scrutiny of our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (shortened to BRAP) – so it’s all about the quality of the research instead of the quantity of applications we fund.
Each year we have two grants rounds and the latest grants round is dedicated to studentships. In total, we received four summary applications – which are normally a two to three page overview of the proposed work. Two are asking for funding for projects looking into the causes of the disease and the other two are looking at developing future MND therapies. These will now need to be reviewed by our BRAP for their scientific integrity and relevance to classical MND – those that match the required criteria will then be offered to submit a full application where the whole planned project with all their facts and figures for how much money they wish to spend on each part of the project will need to be justified.
We’ll keep you updated as the year goes on to tell you how many studentships will go through to full application, and what projects have been accepted for funding.