National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Grants for Brain Research and Treatment

OVERVIEW: This funder awards grants to support multiple sclerosis studies through grants for research, training, pilot research, commercial funding, patient management/care/rehabilitation research, and health care delivery/policy research.

IP TAKE: There are quite a few funding programs at NMSS, and each one has its own deadlines and staff to contact. Take some time to review the procedures and reach out to the correct person.

PROFILE: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) has a research grants program that supports studies into the progression of multiple sclerosis, prevention, and improving quality of life. It awards grants for training, pilot studies, and commercial funding. It also provides research grants for patient management, care, and rehabilitation, and health care delivery and policy research contracts.

The society was established way back in 1946 and supported its first three research projects in 1947. Its overall investment in research totals at least $870 million. The funder’s main goals of research funding are to stop disease progression, restore what’s been lost in the brain and nervous system, and ultimately find a cure for the disease. Its funding priorities are articulated here.

NMSS has a huge number of funding opportunities, all of which are slightly different, and which are outlined below:

Research Grants - NMSS awards grants for fundamental and applied clinical and non-clinical studies, even including topics like patient management and rehabilitation. The first step for grantseekers is to register for an account on NMSS’s website and fill out a pre-application. These are reviewed by the staff for relevancy, and then select applicants are invited to submit full proposals. Past deadlines have fallen in February and August.

Training Grants and Fellowships - NMSS offers a number of grants and fellowships for specific purposes. They are as follows:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowships - These fellowships support young researchers working on MS related topics for 1-3 years. Past application deadlines have been in August.
  •  Sylvia Lawry Physician Fellowships - These fellowships provide young doctors with up to three years of training in how to carry out clinical trials. Past application deadlines have been in August.
  • Career Transition Fellowships - These fellowships support young researchers for up to five years in order to facilitate the transition from postdoctoral scholars to full faculty. Past application deadlines have been in May.
  • Clinician Scientist Development Awards - These grants support young doctors with up to three years of training in clinical research environments. Past application deadlines have been in August.
  • Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar Awards - These grants support newly-independent researchers (i.e., PIs as opposed to postdocs) for up to five years. Past application deadlines have been in August.
  • Daniel Haughton Senior Faculty Award - This award provides support to established investigators to receive specialized training in an area outside of their current expertise that would enhance their ability to study MS. Past application deadlines have been in August.
  • Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowships in Rehabilitation Research - This fellowship is for mentors at institutions that recruit and select postdoctoral researchers working on MS. Past application deadlines have been in July.
  • Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Care Physician Fellowship - This is a post-residency clinical fellowship designed to train neurologists and psychologists specializing in MS. Applications are reviewed quarterly.

Pilot Research Grants - These are high-risk grants to quickly test novel ideas. Funding is provided for one year. Applications are reviewed quarterly.

NMSS also offers commercial research funding, funding for collaborative research centers, grants to support meetings, workshops and conferences, and several prizes.

It’s a smart idea to download and review NMSS’s complete manual of policies and procedures for funding programs. The funding policy overview also specifies the following area of interest:

  • Immunologic basis of MS
  • CNS repair and neuroprotection
  • Biology of glia/myelin
  • Genetics and gender differences
  • Understanding and preventing disease progression
  • Infectious triggers and risk factors
  • Cognitive and psychosocial issues
  • Patient management, care and rehabilitation
  • Pathology of MS
  • Clinical trials
  • Health care delivery and policy
  • Measures of disease activity, imaging, surrogate and biomarkers


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)