£50 million for motor neurone disease research.

The Government has announced it will speed up funding for research into motor neurone disease (MND) across the UK so that NHS patients can benefit from cutting-edge treatment and medicines.

This will ensure funding reaches frontline researchers more quickly enabling faster progress towards treatments. This will be done through Biomedical Research Centres which are collaborations between academics and clinicians.

Further, the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Medical Research Council (MRC) will work together to ensure proposals are referred to the most appropriate scheme for consideration at the early idea stage.

Last year £50 million was committed to MND research over the next 5 years by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Recent successes include stem cell research by the Francis Crick Institute to investigate the processes that cause the disease and the development by the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) of a new form of testing for MND.

The Government is accelerating £29.5 million of the committed funding into specialist research centres and partnerships with leading researchers to reduce bureaucracy and help researchers access funding as quickly as possible.

The £29.5 million package includes:

  • £8 million for early phase clinical research for MND.
  • £12.5 million to support the best discovery science at the UK DRI.
  • a £3 million translational accelerator investment from MRC, to be matched later by another £3 million from NIHR, to join up these investments with other relevant programmes such as the MND collaborative and the UK Dementias Platform.
  • £1 million of Government funding, which was allocated in June 2022 to enhance co-ordination of UK MND research.
  • £2 million additional investment in this MND Collaborative Partnership to focus on gathering and analysing existing data on the condition to explore the underlying causes of MND and help develop breakthrough new treatments.

The remainder of the committed £50 million MND funding is available for researchers to access via NIHR and MRC. To support this work the Government has published a joint NIHR and MRC highlight notice inviting outstanding researchers across the academic and life science sector to submit applications to an open call for the highest-quality projects, responding to progress in science so breakthroughs can reach patients as quickly as possible.

The funding builds on the Life Sciences Vision published in 2021 and sets out the Government’s commitment to speed up innovative neurodegeneration and dementia research, so that new treatments reach patients faster.