Open Call for 2023 McDonald Fellowships Program
Submissions are now open for the 2023 McDonald Fellowships Program that enables early career multiple sclerosis researchers from low- and middle-income countries to work in a research institution outside of their own country.
The McDonald Fellowships are open to applications for virtual or local projects to overcome the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the visit or virtual project, participants either gain expertise or carry out parts of joint research projects.
Following the award, they expect applicants will be able to use the newly developed expertise and networks, continuing to undertake MS research and/or patient care in low- and middle-income countries.
One Fellowship is awarded in partnership with ECTRIMS and is known as the MSIF-ECTRIMS McDonald Fellowship. Another Fellowship is awarded in partnership with MSIF’s member, ARSEP, The Fondation pour l’Aide à la Recherche sur la Sclérose En Plaques. This is known as the MSIF-ARSEP McDonald Fellowship.
- The fellowship consists of a two-year grant, around £30,000 GBP per year, to cover travel and living costs, and an additional contribution of £2,000 GBP per year to the host institution. For 2023 they are more flexible on the use of funds if virtual projects are proposed.
- Provided that it is safe to travel amid the pandemic, they expect that part of the second-year grant to the host institution will be used to cover the candidate’s expenses to attend the annual congress of ECTRIMS, the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS.
- All candidates must:
- Be educated to post graduate level (at least MSc, preferably PhD/MD) in an area relevant to multiple sclerosis
- Be citizens of a low- or middle-income country (all countries with a low, lower middle or upper middle income as defined by the World Bank)
- Focus their research in an area relevant to multiple sclerosis
- Candidates must also be in one of the following situations:
- Working or studying in a low- or middle-income country (all countries with a low, lower middle or upper middle income as defined by the World Bank) at the time of nomination
- Working or studying in another country on a project which started within the six months prior to nomination
- Studying in another country on a project supported by an MS International Federation grant
- Those who previously have held a Du Pré grant are eligible to subsequently apply for a McDonald Fellowship, but not the other way round.
- Candidates are expected to return to their own countries at the end of the study period where they will contribute to advancing care and research in MS.
- The fellowship may also be used as a supplement for work related to MS by a candidate who has been accepted for training in a recognised institute (within the six months prior to nomination) but who doesn’t have enough money to cover the total cost.
- Expanded eligibility criteria
- The 2023 McDonald Fellowship requirements for applicants have been amended. Due to travel restrictions they are considering alternative ways to carry out research projects, allowing flexibility around how the Fellowship is spent, as well as when and where the project would be carried out.
- They encourage potential applicants to think creatively together with their proposed hosts about potential solutions.
- A project may be:
- in a research institute/hospital abroad if travel permits (as in previous years)
- in a research institute/hospital in your home country
- a virtual project, either in full or in part with host institution mentoring
- Note: virtual projects are only possible if the applicant and host are able to demonstrate how to get sufficient mentorship throughout the project duration.
- Projects are only accepted if risk of travel is low; the project can be carried out safely with minimal risk to the applicant; there are sufficient resources and supervision to allow the proposed project to take place; and the project demonstrates sufficient value to the applicant.
- Application forms will be revised to include a question asking the applicant to write a plan for how to conduct the work or a part of the work if unable to travel.
- The McDonald Fellowships are conditional on commencing no later than the end of 2023.
For more information, visit Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF).