Challenge Awards

Challenge Award grants are short-term innovative pilot studies to begin filling knowledge and infrastructure gaps. In 2014 the International Progressive MS Alliance awarded their first Challenge Awards to encourage scientific innovation, and Infrastructure Awards to promote data sharing and knowledge management.

A total of 22 projects (since reduced to 20), with researchers based in nine countries, were awarded grants with the goal of removing barriers to developing treatments for progressive MS. The projects focused on clinical trials and outcome measures, biomarkers (measureable indicators) of progression, gene studies, rehabilitation trials, new disease models, and research to better understand the pathology of progression.

The 20 projects were chosen from 195 research proposals submitted by researchers in 22 countries. These were then reviewed by the Alliance’s 40-strong Scientific Review Committee.

This first round of funding is the start of an ambitious programme that will see a total of €22 million invested in progressive MS research over the next six years. The funding will also help forge international collaborative research networks — leveraging research already underway and stimulating new research.

The 20 first-round projects will focus on six areas:

Clinical trials and outcome measures

Biomarkers of progression

Gene studies

Rehabilitation trials

Underlying pathology of progression

Developing new disease models

The research community’s response to our first call for innovative research proposals has been exceptional, and speaks to both the unmet need and the galvanizing force of this international initiative. For the first time, MS societies around the globe are funding research together, without considering geography, in order to find the answers the progressive MS community urgently needs.

Cynthia Zagieboylo, Chair of the Alliance's Executive Committee and CEO of the National MS Society (USA)


Download the Progressive MS Alliance summary of all grants

Download the press release

Download the press release in Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish

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