About the Ramsay Grant Program
Solve M.E. supports investigative research into the underlying causes of ME/CFS through the Ramsay Grant Program; an open, peer-reviewed competition for grants to support pilot studies. The Ramsay Program has been successful in attracting new scientists to the field of ME/CFS, providing much needed funding for researchers to engage with the science of the disease and build pilot data.
Over four cycles, 23 studies have been supported with Ramsay funding. There is a network of over 60 research collaborators that have been involved in the Ramsay Program. Half of the Principal Investigators on these projects applied their expertise to study ME/CFS for the first time ever with support from Ramsay and 17 of the projects have involved early-career stage researchers.
The Ramsay Grant Program Has Three Main Objectives:
- ATTRACT RESEARCHERS to the field of ME/CFS and ensure they stay engaged
- Facilitate applications for LARGER GRANTS based on promising pilot data
- Add to the cumulative, SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE
Each grant typically ranges between $35,000 and $55,000 for a one-year period, with the possibility of renewal for projects yielding promising results. Applications are run through a rigorous, double-blind peer review process in order to ensure projects of the highest quality are selected. Applications receive two independent reviews and proposals are ranked numerically on a defined scale based on relevance, significance, innovation, and quality of the methodology.
Leveraging Impact: Priorities Established in 2019
- Fund more researchers than ever before, with a focus on collaboration
- Require Ramsay investigators to share both positive and negative results to allow other researchers to build on their findings and counteract publication bias
- Mobilize Ramsay Investigators to complete a visibility or advocacy action (e.g. writing an op-ed or visiting with a lawmaker to advocate for an increase in research dollars) as part of their projects.
Seven New Studies Funded in the Fourth Year of Ramsay Program
In the fourth year of the Program, Solve M.E. will support seven studies into ME/CFS. Over thirty investigators and collaborators are involved in the projects, including a number of early career stage scientists. Over half of research teams include at least one Principal Investigator (PI) leading an ME/CFS study for the first time.
The applications focus on key scientific areas, including heritable factors, the microbiome, immune system disturbances, and neurological abnormalities. This application cycle included aspects closer to the clinical edge, like a proposal to validate a wearable sensor as a clinical endpoint for disease severity and a way to better characterize PEM. Several priorities outlined in the Ramsay Toolkit are part of the study plans, including defined severity gradients in cohort selection, provocation (using an exercise protocol), and the use of well-characterized samples from existing biobanks.