For Researchers

If you're a researcher and want to find out more about MND Scotland's research approach and project funding opportunities, this section is for you.

At MND Scotland, our vision is of a world without MND. The only way that this vision can be realised is through progress in MND research.

Our 2017-2020 research strategy seeks to build partnerships, involve people affected by MND, and monitor the impact of our investment. We’re putting an extra £1.2 million on the table to boost our efforts to beat MND. That takes our total commitment to research so far to £2.4 million.

Our Projects

We currently have four research funding schemes:

Research Projects

Awarded annually, at least one research project will be dedicated to large research projects not exceeding £75,000 per annum and £225,000 in total. These grants will be made available for scientific, clinical and social research. Invitations for applications will be posted on our website in the last week of March each year, with a closing date in the last week of June – annually. Decisions will follow within two months, with a view to appointing grantees for the September term each year.

PhD Studentship

Awarded annually, at least one PhD studentship will be awarded up to a maximum of £25,000 per annum (£75,000 in total over three years) in addition to covering the costs of fees and justified consumables. Invitations for applications will be posted on our website in the last week of March each year, with a closing date in the last week of June - annually. Decisions will follow within two months, with a view to appointing grantees for the September term each year.

Clinical Fellowship

Co-funded with the Chief Scientist’s Office, clinical research fellowships are designed to encourage clinicians to undertake academic research in MND. Fellowships are typically awarded for three years, with projects sponsored by a multidisciplinary research group in a UK University department, Hospital or other research institute. The fellowships provide training in clinical and/or laboratory techniques leading to a higher degree – usually a PhD. This scheme runs every three years, with our most recent Clinical Fellow appointed in 2019. We will not be recruiting for another Clinical Fellow until 2022.

Gordon Aikman Scholarship

Named in honour of influential MND campaigner Gordon Aikman, this scholarship was established in 2017 by the Scottish Government in honour of Gordon. The scholarship of £25,000 (matched by a further £25,000 from MND Scotland) will fund individuals and professionals to develop practical improvements in the way people with MND are cared for. 

Our Approach

It is our view that our funding of research should be on an ‘open’ basis in response to competitive calls. We will not seek to dictate which specific areas of work researchers should be concentrating on but rather we will consider all appropriate projects which are of sufficiently high quality and which have the potential to impact on the lives of those affected by MND.

Annual calls will be made at the same time each year for our four schemes (details above); Research Projects, PhD Studentships, Clinical Fellowships and Gordon Aikman Scholarship.

Peer Review

Applications are subjected to rigorous peer review process, with application materials initially screened by MND Scotland’s Research Committee and on the basis of scientific and/or research quality, applications are then sent to external peer reviewers. Reviews are then sent to the Research Committee, with the highest scoring applications put forward to the Board of Trustees who make the final decision on which applications we will fund.

MND Scotland endeavour to inform applicants as to the outcome of their submission within 2 months of the respective research funding scheme closing date. Due to the nature of the peer review process, this may not always be possible.

Animal Testing

Only where there is no alternative and where the outcomes of the research will be of benefit to those affected by MND, will MND Scotland provide funds which involves the use of animals. Those institutions that are supported by a grant from ourselves must demonstrate that they are adhering to the 3Rs principles of Reduction, Replacement, Refinement. We support the AMRC principles on the use of animals in research as outlined in this statement.

Find Out More

For more information on our research portfolio, including information on applying for funding from us, please get in touch with our Education and Research Officer. You can call Steven Karlsson-Brown on 0141 332 3903 or email him at steven@mndscotland.org.uk.