Funding for motor neurone disease research has always been available via open competition. In 2021/22, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) spent £3.8 million on MND research, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the Medical Research Council (MRC), spent around £10.8 million.
The Government has committed to make at least £50 million available for MND research over the next five years, ending in March 2027. In June 2023, we set out how £36.5 million of the £50 million pledged to MND research is now allocated to cutting-edge researchers.
The £36.5 million package includes, £7m of new research grants allocated by the MRC, including three fellowships and four research grants. £8 million for early phase clinical research for MND, speeding up innovative new treatments for patients through the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres. This is made up of a £4.7 million investment in a collaboration of UK researchers who will take forward an early phase platform trial to screen for drugs which have the potential to be successful in clinical trials. It also includes a further £3.25 million investment to train a new group of MND researchers to support future research and £12.5 million to support the best discovery science at the UK Dementia Research Institute.
In June 2022, a £4.25 million MND collaborative partnership was launched to bring the MND research community together, for leading researchers to collaborate on accelerating delivery of new treatments, with £1 million contribution from Government. NIHR is contributing a further £2 million to the MND Collaborative Partnership led by LifeArc to focus on gathering and analysing existing data on the condition to explore the underlying causes of MND and help develop breakthrough new treatments.
£6 million fund, £3 million from MRC and £3 million from NIHR, for a translational accelerator investment which will connect the UK Dementia Research Institute, the MND collaborative partnership, and the UK Dementias Platform.
To support this work, the Government published a joint NIHR MRC Highlight Notice inviting outstanding researchers across the academic and life science sector to submit applications to an open call. For the remainder of the £50 million, we are encouraging all researchers to apply for this funding via open call.