The UK MND Research Institute wants to attract people to MND research and train them, so we will be providing 12-to-18 month research pre-fellowships for clinical and non-clinical researchers. Funded by the MND Association and administered by MND Scotland, these pre-fellowships will help them develop their skills and spark an interest in MND research early in their careers, encouraging them to become the next generation of leaders in MND research.

The scheme is different because each researcher will be assigned a ‘buddy’ – someone who is living with MND and has come through the United2EndMND patient group. This will benefit both researchers and patients – researchers will better understand the disease from a patient’s perspective (particularly non-clinical researchers who have limited opportunities to meet patients) while people with MND will better understand the work of the researchers. This partnership will help the scientists to communicate their research to a wider audience, not just their peers.

The data collected during these pre-fellowships will enable fellows to apply for externally funded fellowships, providing an early career pipeline that will train the MND research leaders of the future.

So far, the MND Association has funded three pre-fellowships and funding from the Universities of Oxford and Sheffield will provide a further three. Two of the Oxford-based pre-fellowships have already begun.

David Setters, who is on our leadership group and is living with MND, said: “The buddy programme is an excellent initiative. The more we can focus the attention of early career researchers onto our complex disease, the better. As patients, we will learn a lot about research and we believe our counterparts will benefit from the real-life experience and insights of those living with MND.”

To find out more about some of the researchers taking part, visit here.