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About Research


F.A.Q. About Society- Funded MS Research

Introduction | Funding | Decisions/Oversight | Programs | Focus | Philosophies
Intriguing Leads | Progressive MS | Discoveries We’ve Made | Progress


What type of Research Support Does the Society Offer?


Sixty-two percent of all projects are multi-year research grants, accounting for 72% of research award expenditures. Awards include:


        Research grants: investigations of 1-5 years by experienced scientists for basic, clinical and rehabilitation research; average new award $475,000

        Collaborative Research Center Awards: 5-year grants to interdisciplinary teams of researchers to stimulate cross-pollination of ideas and attract new minds to the field of MS; maximum award $825,000

        Pilot research grants: short-term projects to test new ideas; maximum award $44,000

        Postdoctoral fellowships: research projects from 1-3 years by investigators working under the mentorship of senior scientists; average new award $150,000

        Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowships: support for up to 3 years to train young doctors to conduct MS clinical trials; max. award $120,000

        NMSS/AAN MS Clinician Scientist Development Awards: 2 years of support to young physicians to receive training in MS clinical research; up to $75,000/year

        Career Transition Fellowships: awards up to 5 years to facilitate the advancement of promising young investigators into full
faculty positions; about $550,000

        Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Awards: 5-year projects by promising young investigators starting their careers as independent researchers; average new award $600,000

        Daniel Haughton Senior Faculty Award: research by established investigators to provide specialized training to facilitate moves into new areas of MS research; award varies

        Health Care Delivery & Policy Research contracts: multi-year projects to investigate aspects of health-care delivery and health policy issues related to people with MS. Typically $150,000 annually


In addition, the following research awards, established through special donations, are offered by the Society:


  • Ralph I. Straus Award: $1 million cash prize to any scientist(s) whose research leads to the development of a way to prevent or arrest MS;
  • John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research: annual cash prize awarded jointly with the American Academy of Neurology to an investigator for outstanding contributions to research.


What’s Special About the Society’s Pilot Research Program?


The Society’s Pilot Research Program was begun in 1987 to fund short-term projects to investigate new, untested ideas and attract new researchers to the MS field. These unique grants allow researchers to quickly gather data needed for full grant applications and determine whether their novel ideas are worth pursuing. 


The Society funds 50-55 of these one-year grants per year, at a cost of $44,000 each. We offer quick turnaround time applicants usually know within 2 months if they will receive funds. This program attracts “new blood” to MS research about half of all recipients are new to National MS Society funding.


Why Does the Society Support Research Training?


The Society’s postdoctoral training program began in 1955 to attract promising young scientists and clinicians to the field of MS and to ensure their proper training. Ours is the only postdoctoral training program in the U.S. specifically focused on MS. This investment in training frequently pays off: Some of the most prominent researchers making breakthroughs today were Society trainees.



Some key reasons we support training:


  • To ensure there are highly trained investigators and physicians focusing their attention on problems of MS.
  • Research fellows are the “hands” that get much of the work done.
  • Most who have ever received training from the Society are still in MS research.