MS Australia implements an informed scientific agenda to accelerate advances that will prevent, better treat and ultimately cure multiple sclerosis.
The MS Australia scientific agenda focuses on funding research that will increase our understanding of the biology driving MS and how to stop MS from triggering the disease, causing further damage and how to repair existing damage that can reverse disability. This is a medium to long-term strategy. It requires extensive funding, collaboration and coordination.
In the short term, MS Australia funds clinical research that measures the benefits of alternative symptom management approaches. Social research through the Australian MS Longitudinal Study measures the physical, social and economic impact of MS on Australians for advocacy and service development purposes.
To address these significant unknowns, MS Australia invests in various research streams. Funding in these streams includes both investigator-driven applications and ‘national collaborations and platform’ funding:
MS Australia Funded Research
Social and Applied Research
Genetics and Epidemiology
Immunology and Virology
MS Australia identifies significant MS research in two ways; the first is via an annual peer-review process, the second is by proactively identifying, coordinating and funding major collaborative projects called ‘Platforms’.
Each year MS Australia initiates a rigorous international peer-review process to identify high quality MS research to fund. Annually MS Australia will fund over $2 million in projects and capacity-building grants including fellowships and scholarships.
MS Australia grants give scientists an opportunity to focus on generating new insights that inform our understanding of the disease. Capacity building is an investment in the future of MS research by creating opportunities for early career researchers to gain scientific training, to learn from leading MS experts and nurture a commitment to cure MS. These early career researchers are the next generation of MS experts.
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Platforms represent a major investment in infrastructure or a collaboration that will accelerate MS research activity. MS Australia acts as a catalyst for blue sky research. We work with researchers to undertake the research that other funding agencies consider ‘too risky’ to fund, but has the potential to yield the greatest outcomes for people with MS.
With guidance from the broader scientific and health professional community, MS Australia establishes and maintains national collaborations to address scientific questions that no one researcher could solve in isolation.
Currently, MS Australia has several platforms underway including:
In developing a Platform, MS Australia consults with as many relevant Australian and international researchers as possible.
This ensures that we only fund Platforms that:
MS Australia’s research approach has changed the way MS researchers can do MS research in Australia.