The awarding of new MS Research Australia grants, this year totalling almost $1.9 million in funding, is the result of an extensive grant review process undertaken by the MS Research Australia Research Management Council
The Research Management Council (RMC) is a multi-disciplinary team of fourteen clinicians and researchers with extensive expertise in a range of fields relevant to MS research. The Council is responsible for reviewing grant applications and recommending funding allocations. Applications are also reviewed by at least two international experts and their assessments are taken into account by the Council. A key factor being considered is not only the scientific quality of the project, but the relevance and potential impact of the research to make a real difference for people with MS.
Also in attendance at the RMC proceedings are two invited observers who attend on behalf of the MS community. These individuals are well informed about both MS and the research process and bring a dedication and passion for furthering Australian MS research efforts.
At the 2014 RMC meeting, the observer roles were filled by key members of the Australian MS research fundraising community.
Carol Langsford OAM, is the co-founder and Chairman of the Trish MS Research Foundation. Carol and Roy Langsford lost their daughter Trish to a severe form of MS, at the age of just 30 years.
Carol says ‘I was extremely impressed the first time I attended a Research Management Council meeting and in fact, the process far exceeded all my expectations. It is really comforting to know that the very thorough and rigorous process ensures only the highest quality research is eligible for funding.’
The second observer in attendance this year was Mike Hemingway. Mike was a founding member of the Foundation 5 Million grassroots fundraising initiative and, along with his wife Katrina, in 2014 organised a team to walk the breadth of the UK and raised over $220,000 for the Kiss Goodbye to MS campaign.
Mike says ‘As a person with MS I feel privileged to be a part of the RMC process and to see the broad range of discussions where every application gets a fair hearing, in order to choose the research projects that will have the best value for people with MS. Leaving the meeting, I always feel incredibly energised and optimistic about the future of MS research in Australia.’