“On the eleventh day of Christmas MND research gives to you… ELEVEN members on our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel”
Thanks to a record-breaking MND research grants round of over 40 applications from researchers around the world, we’ve got a busy year ahead! We’ll be reviewing all of these applications and deciding which should be funded to help us achieve our vision of a world free from MND.
We are currently preparing for our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP) meeting in April. This panel of MND research experts, along with Association trustees, discusses each application in detail. They then decide whether the research is good enough to be funded by the Association and fits within our research strategy.
Our panel are a bit like the ‘strictly come dancing’ judging panel, all with their own personalities and interests, judging which MND research application is the best and deserves to go on to be funded!
Dr Jean Waters is a former trustee of the MND Association who is living with MND, here she blogs about what it was like being a member on our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP) and what it was like being a trustee.
A member of BRAP
Like most people living with MND I have a vested interest in MND research and am always interested in learning where it has got to and what is on the horizon. Having a medical background gave me a little more insight into the field than many and so when I first became a trustee I was delighted to represent the board on the BRAP. Continue reading →
This week is Volunteering week and we’re celebrating volunteering on our MND Research blog for our ‘blog a day’. Peter Bickley is an MND Association trustee and member of our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP). Here he blogs about his role as a voluntary Trustee and what it’s like to be part of BRAP.
Until 2001 I had never heard of MND. Then, after the usual delay and uncertainty, my father was diagnosed with this unfamiliar disease; he died in 2002. The MND Association did not feature prominently during his illness, not through want of trying but because he simply did not want to know; this is not unusual, it is understandable but having seen it in action I am sure it is mistaken. So the efforts of the MND Association at the time were appreciated by those of us around him and the Association came onto my radar as a charity to support which, in a modest way, I did. Continue reading →
The day finally arrived on 11 April 2014 for our biannual Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP) Meeting. This important date in our research calendar is when grant funding decisions are discussed before being put forward to our Board of Trustees for approval.
But before we get to the meeting, there is a lot of preparation that is needed. As you are aware from previous blog posts, applications go through various stages of review, including summary review, invites for full applications and external review. Before the meeting itself there is yet another stage of review for the applications, which is known as internal review. This might seem a bit ‘admin-heavy’, but since we are only able to fund a quarter of such a wide variety of proposals, ranging from cell-based studies to clinical research, we need to be confident that we’re funding the ‘best of the best’. With so many new ideas, ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ can be a difficult and time-consuming process!
This is a very exciting time for us. We are again in the middle of another bumper grants round with 23 full applications received. We have received applications from researchers already known to us, new and international researchers, allowing us to further widen our researcher network.
Full applications give a detailed plan of what the project is about, what the main aims are and how these will be met. Preliminary data can also be provided within the application form to strengthen the proposal, as well as costs.
January marks the start of a very busy time for the grants team. The next step for each application once received is to be processed and then sent out externally for peer review.
As posted recently, we are just starting our next research grant application round – and the number of summary applications received broke the record set a year ago.
We received 26 applications – 5 for PhD studentships and 21 for projects (requiring more experienced scientists). These cover a wide range of areas, including genetics and cell-based research building on recent discoveries, further development of animal models, and the search for potential new treatments for MND.
Only one application didn’t fit our criteria, so the remaining 25 will each be reviewed by three members of our Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP). This left Natasha very busy last week sending out packs of summaries to BRAP members, as well as logging all the applications on our IT systems, and acknowledging their receipt to the applicants.
When all the reviews are returned later this month, the reviewers’ scores will be used to determine which applicants are asked to submit full research proposals.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of our research funding grants round – in the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about our current portfolio of research projects then please visit our ‘research we fund’ section of our website.