The MS Society of Canada relies on counsel from scientific and medical experts when making important decisions regarding research funding and programming, and any matters related to the health and treatment of people living with multiple sclerosis. Various research committees are convened based on the MS Society’s priorities, needs and programs. These committees formulate recommendations that are reviewed and approved by MS Society’s National Board of Directors.
The MS Society invests approximately $12 million in research grants and awards each year. In order to thoroughly evaluate applications for research funding, review committees consisting of experienced clinicians, researchers, and members of the public are convened to discuss and rank applications based on rigorous criteria. Each reviewer is carefully selected by the MS Society in consultation with an appointed Chair to ensure that there is a balance of expertise and knowledge, and that members are not in conflict with the applicants. Members of the public who are affected by MS – called Community Representatives – are also selected based on certain criteria, and are tasked with commenting on whether the research will impact people living with MS and how researchers can effectively communicate their findings to a lay audience. After reviewing all of the applications, review committees present a recommendation for funding to the MS Society’s Medical Advisory Committee.
Below is a list of current review committees for the MS Society:
The MS Society may call upon individuals with very specific research backgrounds, expertise, or experience to advise on certain MS research or healthcare matters. These ad hoc committees vary in size and scope depending on what is being discussed, and can include members of existing MS Society research and medical committees or people who are external to the MS Society. Advisory committees may also review funding applications, if required, or may simply offer counsel on important healthcare issues, funding programs, investment of research dollars, etc.
The Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) is an overarching advisory council comprising of eminent senior researchers and clinicians, as well as members of the public and the MS Society’s National Board of Directors. The MAC carefully reviews and provides expert advice about existing research programs, observes current and future directions in MS research and treatment, recommends ways that the MS Society can achieve key research priorities, and oversees research funding. Members of the MAC are carefully selected by the MS Society in consultation with the appointed committee Chair to represent the range of research and treatment areas in MS (i.e. basic science, symptom management, rehabilitation, socioeconomic, health policy, etc.) as well as to provide unique but equally important perspectives of each individual based on their backgrounds, experience, knowledge, and personal connection with MS. The MAC meets four times a year – twice in person and twice by teleconference – in order to stay abreast of important issues that impact the health and quality of life of people living MS, and discuss existing and prospective research initiatives.