MS Research Australia is delighted to announce that $1.834 in funding has been awarded to new research projects commencing in 2016.
This year, 24 excellent research projects were selected to receive funding from a highly competitive pool of applications from researchers around Australia. MS Research Australia grant recipients are determined by the Research Management Council, who rigorously review all applications to identify the best quality projects to receive funding in line with the scientific agenda to accelerate research advances that will prevent, better treat and ultimately cure MS. You can read more about our grant review and allocation process here.
Of the 24 new projects, the research spans a wide range of academic fields including both basic research and clinical and allied health studies, and includes researchers from most Australian states. Dr Matthew Miles, MS Research Australia Chief Executive Officer said ‘2016 represents another great year for MS research. The variety of new projects showcases Australia’s research strengths, but also provides the diversity that is crucial if we are to continue to make progress towards finding answers to this highly complex disease.’
‘We are very grateful to all our partners and supporters, your continued support enables some of the best MS research in Australia.’
The 2016 funding awards include six major Project Grants, three Postdoctoral Fellowships, three Postgraduate (PhD) Scholarships, six Incubator Grants, four undergraduate Vacation Scholarships, and two Ian Ballard Travel Awards. The new projects complement the ongoing research projects and collaborative platforms funded in previous years (visit www.msra.org.au/research for more information).
This year is a highlight for vitamin D research, with several projects focusing on understanding the mechanisms and pathways through which vitamin D and genetics interact to influence MS onset and disease course, including undergraduate vacation scholarships exploring vitamin D genes, and an Ian Ballard Travel Award to support an international collaborative study of vitamin D measurements. These projects will provide crucial information on the mechanism of vitamin D’s role in MS and will complement the clinical data being generated by the PrevANZ vitamin D MS prevention trial already underway.
In addition, several major projects are studying innovative methods to promote myelin growth and repair in MS, including a Postdoctoral Fellowship co-funded by MS Research Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Other projects are using specialised genetic technology to explore new treatment avenues for influencing immune system function.
Research projects targeting rehabilitation and symptom management in MS have also been successful in obtaining funding, including a new clinical trial of a specialised program for treating depression in people newly diagnosed with MS. Two PhD scholarships have been awarded to students to continue work funded in 2015 by MS Research Australia, including a PhD scholarship to investigate heat sensitivity in people with MS during exercise.
A snapshot of all the research projects will be available in the March issue of the MS NEXT newsletter and summaries are available on our website here.