The MS Society of Canada is committed to being a leader in
finding a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS) and enabling people
affected by MS to enhance their quality of life. To help reach
this goal, the MS Society funds research that investigates all
biological and clinical aspects of MS. The MS Society also
supports training and education programs which cultivate a
network of bright young minds and engages them in activities that
fine-tune their scientific skills and knowledge.
Each year the MS Society seeks the necessary scientific expertise required to review applications that are submitted to the Annual Research Competition. These grants provide critical support to researchers who conduct experiments that address important questions related to the cause, progression, diagnosis and treatment of MS.
In 2012, an initiative was launched to involve people in the MS community – termed Community Representatives – in the review process. Community Representatives are people who have a personal connection to MS, and thus are able to comment on how the research will influence their day to day living and what the outcomes of the research mean to them and the broader MS community. Through the engagement of Community Representatives in the review process, the MS Society aims to provide a venue for people affected by MS to have their voices heard in regards to research, while at the same time have the opportunity to learn more about the ongoing research that is happening in Canada.
Each year the MS Society assembles three research review committees for the Annual Research Competition. They review a specific set of applications based on the nature of the proposals and the expertise of the reviewers:
- Biomedical Research Review Committee
- Clinical and Population Health Research Review Committee
- endMS Personnel Awards Review Committee
Each committee includes scientific reviewers and Community Representatives that are selected by the MS Society and the committee chairs. To learn more about the committees and their roles and responsibilities, visit Review Process and Criteria.
Responsibilities of Community Representatives
- Read and become familiar with the MS Society’s research funding programs.
- Participate in an orientation session on the research review process via an online webinar.
- Provide a brief biography that will be posted on the MS Society’s website.
- Review and score the designated lay sections of each application based on a set of review criteria provide by the MS Society.
- Attend an in-person meeting of the review committee, scheduled to take place the week of January 21, 2019 in Toronto, ON. Depending on the committee you are selected to serve on, you may have to attend a one-day meeting or two-day meeting.
- Share your comments for each application with members of the review committee at the in-person meeting.
- Submit a brief report and participate in an interview with the MS Society after the review, sharing your experience as a Community Representative.
Note: All travel and accommodation costs associated with participation in the research review process will be reimbursed by the MS Society of Canada in accordance with our policies.
- A confirmed diagnosis of MS, CIS or NMO, or a close relationship with someone with MS, CIS or NMO.
- Interested in the outcomes and impact of MS research.
- Actively engaged in the MS community.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Proficient knowledge of computer applications and ability to learn and access new software (this will be important when accessing applications to and entering comments).
- Access to a computer or tablet during the at-home review and in-person meeting.
- Experience with taking on roles of leadership and decision-making in a panel or committee setting.
- Confidence to ask questions, voice opinions, and participate in discussions with health professionals and scientists.
- Fluent in English (French an asset, but not required).
- Demonstrates a meaningful understanding of the impact of MS on day to day living.
- Please note that although applications are accepted in both English and French, the majority of the online and in-person review will be conducted in English.
Selection of Community Representatives
Selection of Community Representatives will be done by the MS Society’s research department, in consultation with the chairs of the research review committees and MS Society Division Presidents.