An additional $3 million has been invested into MS research by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in their most recent funding announcement. This brings the total investment into MS research for 2020 to over $7 million! The first round of NHMRC funding announcements was published in this article. The NHMRC has now announced the recipients of the Ideas Grants and Postgraduate Scholarships. Ideas Grants support focused innovative research projects addressing a specific question and provide salary and research support for researchers. Postgraduate Scholarships provide stipend support to PhD students.
MS Research Australia congratulates MS researchers Associate Professor Justin Rubio (VIC), Dr Yao Xing (VIC), Associate Professor Judith Greer (QLD) and Dr Vivien Li (VIC) who have received grants or scholarships totalling $3.1 million in the recently announced NHMRC funding for 2020. The NHMRC have changed their funding model for the 2020 rounds to support innovative research, support a broad range of health and medical research, and promote collaborations. It is fantastic to see MS researchers receiving support from the government for their ongoing research into MS.
Associate Professor Justin Rubio from the University of Melbourne was awarded a three year MS Research Australia project grant which supported his research until the end of 2019. He has now received a $987,263 Ideas Grant from the NHMRC to study the DNA of myelin-producing cells to learn how these cells repair myelin. It is hoped that this could help develop the first myelin repair medicines for MS.
Dr Yao Xing from Monash University was awarded an $851,840 Ideas Grant from the NHMRC to identify the genes that regulate the regeneration of high quality myelin to develop strategies to optimise myelin repair in people with MS. This work will hopefully lead to treatments to combat myelin damage.
Associate Professor Judith Greer from the University of Queensland has been previously awarded MS Research Australia Project and Incubator Grants. She has now been awarded a $1,118,769.50 Ideas Grant from the NHMRC to improve laboratory models for MS so they can be a much better model of MS than the models that are currently available, thereby facilitating improved translational outcomes.
Dr Vivien Li from the University of Melbourne has been awarded a $130,523 Postgraduate Scholarship from the NHMRC. She will study ways to dampen down the immune system activation that causes damage to myelin, which will hopefully lead to new treatments. MS Research Australia will also be providing an additional $30,000 top up scholarship to Dr Li.
We are very excited by the potential of all of these grants to help improve our understanding of MS and ultimately provide highly targeted and effective approaches to stop and reverse the effects of MS.