McDonald Fellowship Program 2024
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McDonald Fellowship Program 2024

Country: Any World Bank member Country

Duration: 2 years


The McDonald Fellowship enables early career multiple sclerosis researchers from low- and middle-income countries to work in a research institution outside of their own country. During the visit, participants either gain expertise or carry out parts of joint research projects. Following the award, we 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.


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. We 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 application.
  • Working or studying in another country on a project which started within the six months prior to application.
  • Studying in another country on a Du Pré grant project supported MSIF.

For PHD Research:

The McDonald fellowship may also be used to part fund a PhD programme, where the candidate has already been accepted for the PhD programme in a recognised institute (within the six months prior to application) but who doesn’t have enough funding to cover the total cost.

***Note: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.

***This is a joint application from the applicant and host. Before applying, candidates need to have identified a suitable project and host supervisor at an institution outside of their own country.A project host must be agreed before commencing the application.

Application Procedure:

Apply through the application website (Link given below).

  • Identify your project and field of interest.
  • Contact and agree the project proposal with your host (project supervisor in a lab or clinic).
  • Applicant completes all sections of the online application form.
  • After Applicant submits, the Host is contacted to submit a supporting statement* using the same application form.
  • Applicant asks the three referees to send their reference letters to  before the 30 June deadline.
  • Applicants must read the Terms and Conditions of the Award to understand requirements around reporting and payments.
  • Applicants should pay close attention to the lay summary of the application. Advice on how to write a lay summary can be found at the bottom of this page.

Lay Summary:

An integral component of the application is the 500-word lay summary.

Start your lay summary by introducing your topic of research and provide some background. Introduce what your research area is about, why it is important. Then explain the specific problem your research proposal aims to solve, e.g. a gap in the literature, a scientific conflict, etc. Finally, summarise what impact your research would have on people affected by MS.

  1. Use simple language: Use simple, everyday language to explain your research proposal. Avoid using complicated words and phrases that may be difficult for a 12-year-old to understand. Words like “Remyelination, “demyelination”, “myelin” are not common words and should be explained.
  2. Use concrete examples: Provide concrete examples to illustrate your research proposal. This will help the reader understand the research proposal more easily.
  3. Use analogies: Use analogies to explain difficult concepts. For example, the brain and nerves can be compared to a computer with wires that are insulated by myelin, the plastic wrapping of electric cables.
  4. Define technical terms: If you need to use technical terms, make sure to define them in simple language.
  5. Keep it short and simple: Focus on the key points and avoid going into too much detail, but use all 500 words to your disposal. Try to capture the big picture.
  6. Test it out: Before submitting your summary, test it out on a friend, family member, or colleague who is not educated in MS to see if they understand it. If not, make revisions until the summary is clear and easy to understand.
  7. Feel free to share the lay summary with the MSIF research team before submitting.


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