We are MS Australia, Australia’s national multiple sclerosis (MS) not-for-profit organisation that empowers researchers to identify ways to treat, prevent and cure MS, seeks sustained and systemic policy change via advocacy, and acts as the champion for Australia’s community of people affected by MS.
We are the largest Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to funding, coordinating, educating and advocating for MS research as part of the worldwide effort to solve MS.
Our sincere belief is that we can find ways to prevent and cure MS. Not only eradicating new diagnoses but enabling symptoms to be treated for those living with MS. Our ultimate, singular goal is to enable a world without MS.
Our influence is broad, as the expert, trusted national voice on MS to government and media, and respected supporter of MS medical research in Australia.
We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the help of our MS member organisations and you, our community. With a collective dedication to funding and progressing vital MS research and advocacy, we can together enhance and enrich our mutual work and help bring a louder voice and dynamism to the MS cause.
To help drive essential MS research and advocacy for the MS community, MS Australia supports, collaborates with and represents our state and territory MS member organisations on the national and international stages.
Our four members are:
Our member organisations provide the majority of our funding to undertake an agreed international and national MS research and advocacy agenda. They rely on MS Australia to provide the latest evidence-based information to ensure their community of people living with MS, carers, families and the wider community have the best possible information, resources and services in their own jurisdictions.
Our member organisations are essential to the work we do at MS Australia. Each member organisation has nominated Directors on the MS Australia Board, Governance, Audit & Risk and National Funding Committees.
MS Australia has invested millions into funding and facilitating MS research in Australia and around the globe. We are the largest funder of MS research in Australia.
MS Australia’s funding has supported the growth of Australian MS research, including 26 new research methods, 7 new clinical blood tests, 2 new clinical assessment tools, 18 grants contributed to biobanks, 5 new mouse models, 5 new biomarkers being developed, 7 grants led to the creation of registries and 5 patents.
Our advocacy efforts have helped 15 treatments be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), making them more affordable and accessible for people with MS. In 2006, there were only 2 treatments available.
Our funding program supports Australian MS researchers who are working towards better treatments, preventions and a cure for MS. We have funded over 327 research grants from over 59 universities and institutions around Australia.
Received over 15 industry awards recognising outstanding organisational and campaign achievements including the Telstra Business Awards and Australian Charity Awards.
MS Australia has been improving the lives of people living with or affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) for nearly 50 years.
In 1972, following years of discussion about the need for an organisation to drive awareness, research and support for people living with MS, the state MS organisations formed the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Australia (NMSSA).
During these early years there was quick recognition of the need for a focus on MS research. In 1977, the National Medical Research Advisory Board (MRAB) established a research fund and six years later, this became the National MS Research Foundation (NMSRF).
In 1999, thanks to the work of (then) Chair John Studdy, the National MS Society of Australia had experienced a long period of growth and changed its name to MS Australia – the organisation we are known as today, providing a national voice for the MS community.
During this period of growth in the 1990s, our member organisations contributed a portion of their turnover to the MS Australia research fund, which reached $817,000 in 1995. This funding formed the basis of our research grants program – funding a wide range of Australian MS research projects.
In addition to advancing research funding, MS Australia was charged with undertaking systemic advocacy on a range of issues at the national level that could not be easily undertaken by the state member organisations, who work primarily within their own state or territory jurisdictions.
It wasn’t until 2004 that MS Research Australia was born (a more established version of the National MS Research Foundation). As a subsidiary of MS Australia, the overall aim of our research arm was to substantially increase available funding and focus the national MS research effort. By 2005-2006, a $1 million increase in new MS research funding exceeded all expectations. By 2007-2008, the allocation increased to $2 million.
Our research arm continued to progressively increase the commitment to MS research, launching the community fundraising program, Kiss Goodbye to MS, in 2012. The Kiss Goodbye to MS community rapidly grew and in 2019, the virtual fitness and fundraising event, The May 50K, was born. Since inception, The May 50K has raised over $13.9 million in Australia and $17.3 million globally to accelerate MS research.
In 2020, after consultations with governance experts, it was recommended that MS Research Australia and MS Australia become one entity to ensure we could better meet the needs of Australians living with MS, their carers and families. The amalgamated entity remains committed to funding and facilitating MS research as well as advocating for systemic policy change to improve the lives of people affected by MS.
MS Australia is now the largest not-for-profit funder of MS research in the country, with over $47 million invested in vital MS research.
MS Australia continues to advocate across the health, disability and aged care sectors, analysing and responding to the impact of government policies and initiatives and seeking to improve all aspects of the lives of people affected by MS.
Through MS Australia, Australians living with and affected by MS are actively and directly influencing the country’s research agenda – to accelerate research toward the better treatments, preventions and ultimately a cure for MS.