Motor neuron disease (MND) Research

MND Funding Opportunities

Funding Opportunities

We're on a mission to find and fund the smartest, most efficient research to expedite the development of treatments for MND.

  • Through our Discovery Network, researchers will better understand MND and identify new therapeutic targets.
  • Our Advancing Treatments Award will help to translate potential targets into new treatments.
  • Our Catalyst Award will help researchers gather preliminary data for high potential ideas.

Funding the most promising MND research

People living with MND urgently need effective treatments. To catalyse the search for these treatments, we are launching the Discovery Network. 

The Discovery Network is a new funding opportunity for multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional teams to apply for £1 million over 3 years. Teams will take on bold ideas and innovative approaches to better understand the biology of MND, with a focused goal of identifying new therapeutic targets. The Network will be underpinned by a culture of collaboration and open science. My Name’5 Doddie Foundation will facilitate activities of the network and create opportunities for rapid translation of promising findings.

Aligned to the UK MND Research Institute, the Discovery Network will be joined up within the UK MND research ecosystem, enabling access to expertise and creating a national translational pipeline.



Each team will focus on a specific area of MND biology and build on existing expertise, knowledge and tools already developed and accessible within the team. Examples of areas of MND biology may include: autophagy, ageing, immune system, lysosomal function, mitochondrial function, protein homeostasis, RNA metabolism and vesicle transport, although this is not an exhaustive list. Successful applications will provide preliminary data linking the focus of their project to MND development or progression.

Teams will employ a range of innovative techniques, methodologies and expertise to gain new disease insights. This may include new approaches in omics technologies, functional genomics, imaging, complex cell models, artificial intelligence and data-driven research. We encourage the use of a range of models including human iPSCs, animal models (where absolutely needed) and human tissue samples. Use of high quality patient datasets are also encouraged.


Eligibility and funding

  • Teams must be multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional
  • The lead applicant must be based within a UK academic institution, but collaborators can be based elsewhere in the world
  • The lead investigator at each collaborating institution should be named as a co-applicant
  • We encourage postdoctoral researchers working towards independence to be named as lead or co-applicants
  • Commercial companies (such as pharmaceutical and biotech companies) can be named as co-applicants but will not receive grant funding and must adhere to our policies including our open science policy

Each team will receive up to £1 million. The total fund available in 2024 is £4 million.


Application process and timeline

All applications are to be made using our online grant management system, Flexi-Grant. Key dates are outlined below:

  • RFA Released - 28th February 2024
  • Expressions of Interest due - Midday 17th May 2024
  • Full application invitations - June 2024
  • Full applications due - September 2024
  • Decisions communicated - October 2024
  • Research begins - 1st January 2025


Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed by our independent Advisory Board, which is currently being established, according to the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit of the study including ambition of the aims and objectives, proposed methodology, resources and equipment and level of scientific innovation
  • Technical feasibility of the project plan and likelihood of study aims and objectives being reached
  • Potential impact of the project, based on its ability to reveal promising new targets for future MND treatments
  • Suitability of the team to carry out the research, including access to relevant expertise and capabilities
  • Ability of the team to bring valuable tools, capabilities or resources to the Discovery Network 
  • Likelihood of a successful collaboration across the team
  • Commitment of the team to open science and collaboration
  • A cost-effective and realistic budget



If you are interested in providing your expertise and becoming part of a team, the Foundation executive will provide a matchmaking function to interested applicants. Get in touch to discuss further on


Making an application

Before you apply, please read our Request for Applications which provides more detailed information on the Discovery Network and application process.

To register for an account and start your application for the Discovery Network, visit Flexi-Grant.

If you are interested in submitting an application, we encourage you to get in touch with us to discuss your proposal first at


Our acknowledgements

The Discovery Network is underpinned by a model born out of the Milken Institute and applied in Parkinson’s and bipolar disorder. We would like to extend our thanks to the team at BD² for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us, to help us establish this programme.


Find out more

Our Director of Research, Jessica Lee, introduces the Discovery Network scope and application details in the video below.

Our 2024 Advancing Treatments Award will support the early-stage development of new treatments to slow, stop or reverse MND disease progression. We will also consider the development of treatments to better manage the symptoms of MND, where they could transform the lives of people living with the condition. We encourage applications for projects with the potential to be effective across a broad range of people living with MND. 

The Award aims to help researchers build data packages that will attract onward investment and strategic partnerships to accelerate promising treatments through further testing and towards commercialisation.



We are accepting applications for projects across two of the strategic priorities in our research strategy:

      1. Validate therapeutic targets 
          We will support studies to robustly validate novel targets for MND treatments

      2. Accelerate new treatments
          We will support the pre-clinical development of novel or repositioned pharmacological interventions for MND

For projects focusing on validating therapeutic targets, we expect applicants to be able to demonstrate the target's relevance (i.e. biological rationale), differentiation, and safety. Applicants must clearly outline how they will demonstrate that target modulation results in pathway modification and rescue of disease phenotype. Successful projects will seek to define target engagement and downstream pharmacodynamic biomarkers.

For projects focused on accelerating new treatments, we will support the development of new pharmacological interventions and studies to demonstrate their efficacy in pre-clinical models. Projects must assess target engagement and build a robust body of evidence using multiple relevant models or approaches. We will also support safety and pharmacokinetic studies, enabling human dose prediction. Successful studies will consider the development of biomarker and patient stratification approaches.

For further guidance, please read our guidance on implementing the Guiding Principles for Drug Discovery and Development in ALS.

Out-of-scope research includes early discovery research aimed at identifying novel targets (for this, see our Discovery Network, applications for which are now open), clinical trials, and health and social care research.



  • Lead applicants must be based in a UK academic institution, although collaborators may be based anywhere worldwide.
  • We encourage early career researchers (ECRs - senior postdocs working towards independence) to apply as lead and co-applicants. Applications must be accompanied by a letter of support from both the ECR’s host institution and principal investigator. 
  • Sub-contracting to contract research organisations is permitted and industry partnerships are encouraged, but pharmaceutical and biotech companies are not eligible for grant funding.
  • Projects that leverage additional funding sources or in-kind support will be looked upon favourably.



  • Eligible expenses include costs for research staff, consumables, and expenses related to conferences and publications. Requests for funding to cover other items must be pre-approved by the Foundation before application.
  • The Foundation does not cover indirect research costs.
  • Awards are for a maximum of £500k for up to 5 years, unless otherwise pre-agreed with the Foundation. Projects exceeding £300k or 3 years should be milestone-gated with clear go/no-go decisions built in.
  • We are happy to explore co-funding projects with other funders. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that funding for the total cost of the project has been secured.

The total fund available for this grant round is £1.75 million.



We hosted an online webinar aimed at guiding potential applicants through the details of the award. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and gain insights on how to perfect their applications. Watch this video to learn more about what matters to us. 


Application Process and Timeline

All applications are to be made using our online grant management system, Flexi-Grant.

Key dates are outlined below:

  • 28th of February - Applications are open for Expression of Interest (EoI)
  • 18th of April from 1 PM to 2 PM - Webinar 
  • 17th of May, midday - Deadline for Expression of Interest (EoI)
  • June - Successful EoIs are invited to Full Application stage
  • August  - Deadline for Full Applications
  • October - Anticipated Award decision


Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed by our independent Research Review Committee. Please note this committee is made up of scientific experts and people affected by MND, who score the applications with equal weighting.

Applications will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Suitability of the lay summary for a lay audience. Lay summaries that are not understandable will be sent back before a full review is completed. Please see Muscular Dystrophy UK's guidance on how to write a lay summary.
  • Strategic fit and potential impact for people with MND
  • Scientific robustness of the proposal including strength of existing evidence, methodology proposed and level of scientific innovation
    • Alignment to the Guiding Principles for Drug Discovery and Development in ALS
  • If animal use is proposed and justified, the appropriateness of number of animals and chosen models
  • Suitability of the applicant(s) to carry out the research
  • Potential of the project to rapidly translate towards the clinic
  • Appropriateness of patient and public involvement, such as whether the ask of people affected by MND in the proposal is reasonable
  • Appropriateness of mitigation of risks associated with the project
  • Cost effectiveness, justification of funds requested and feasibility of the approach within the proposed budget and timescale

Terms and Conditions for the Advancing Treatments Award can be found here.


Making an application

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is committed to supporting you throughout your project funding journey, beginning with the chance for 1:1 support even before you submit your Expression of Interest (EOI). This step can be invaluable in strengthening your submission. Should you have any inquiries regarding the Advancing Treatments Award or the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us at


Previous success rate

In 2023 for our Advancing Treatments Award (previously “Project Award”) we recieved 9 expressions of interest, 5 were invited to full application stage and 3 projects were awarded funding.

Applications for our 2023 Catalyst Awards have now closed. Please sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of this page to hear about future opportunities.


As part of our commitment to investing in innovative new approaches, we are offering Catalyst Awards for a maximum of £100k for up to 1 year. 



We will support projects that aim to gather proof-of-principle data for innovative new approaches and enable researchers to bring early-stage promising ideas to life. Successful projects will generate preliminary data that will unlock further investment opportunities.

Projects should have the ultimate aim of slowing, stopping, or reversing the progression of MND. We will also consider projects aimed at developing treatments to better manage the symptoms of MND, where they could transform the lives of people living with the disease.

All Catalyst Awards must align to one or more of our strategic priorities. Examples of the type of research that would fall into these categories are outlined below but please note, this list is not exhaustive.

  • Validate therapeutic targets
    • Identification of novel targets that could be investigated for MND; correlation of target to disease state; demonstration of effective disease rescue; confirmation of therapeutic tractability. Please note, projects with high translational potential will be prioritised.
  • Accelerate new treatments
    • Drug development and pre-clinical studies including PK, PD, target engagement, ADME and toxicology analysis in relevant models.
  • Improve translation
    • Innovative ideas to improve the translation of new treatments from lab to clinic, including but not limited to: investigation into novel patient stratification approaches; identification and characterisation of novel biomarkers for the diagnosis or monitoring of MND; research to enable earlier detection of MND such as identification of high-risk groups or screening tools.

Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal aligns to one or more of our strategic priorities, and have a clear plan for follow-on funding if their project is successful.

Please refer to the guiding principles document before submitting your application.


Eligibility and Funding

Lead applicants must be based in a UK academic institution. Collaborators can be based anywhere in the world. 

Catalyst Awards are a maximum of £100k for up to 1 year.

Eligible costs include research staff costs and consumables. Other costs may be considered if the applicant has discussed it with the Foundation prior to the application being made. The Foundation does not cover the indirect costs of research.


Application Process and Key Dates

All applications are to be made using our online grant management system, Flexi-Grant. The application form will be available from Friday 1st September and applications must be submitted by midday on Friday 24th November. We anticipate making awards in January 2024.

Applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the Research Team ( before submitting an application to ensure that proposals are in scope.


Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed by our independent Research Review Committee according to the following criteria:

  • Strategic alignment with one (or more) of the Foundation’s strategic priorities
  • Potential of the project to impact people living with MND positively, or if the research is at an early stage, potential to lead to follow-on research that will impact people living with MND will be considered
  • Scientific robustness and innovation
  • If animal use is proposed and justified, the appropriateness of the number of animals and chosen models
  • Suitability of the applicant(s) to carry out the research
  • Potential to secure follow-on funding if the project is successful, and for the follow-on research to rapidly translate towards the clinic
  • Cost-effectiveness, justification of funds requested and feasibility of the approach within the proposed budget and timescale

We will prioritise research related to the mechanisms that underpin the development and progression of MND in most people with the disease.

Do you want to discuss your research with us?

We encourage anyone who is interested in a funding opportunity with us to get in touch and discuss their proposal. We are open to discussion with researchers about their ideas, even if they don’t necessarily fit the remit of our Project or Catalyst Awards. Please send us an email at

Hear about future funding opportunities

Sign up below to hear about future funding opportunities. Note, signing up here will not sign you up to our Foundation newsletter. You can unsubscribe to this mailing list at any time by getting in touch with us, or following the link at the bottom of the email you receive.

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