Research


The Ramsay Research Fund

The ME Association has always regarded the promotion and funding of medical research to be a key priority, and this has not changed.

Dr Melvin Ramsay

We fund research through the Ramsay Research Fund (RRF) which was named after Dr Melvin Ramsay who brought the neurological disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis to the attention of the medical profession in 1955.

Dr Ramsay also helped establish the ME Association which was founded in 1978. He remained closely involved with the charity and continued to be a stalwart advocate for people with the condition, until his death in 1990.

We only invest in biomedical research

We invest only in biomedical research studies and infrastructure projects that will help lead to:

  • A better understanding of underlying disease mechanisms,
  • The development of reliable diagnostic tests for use in clinics,
  • Safe and effective forms of treatment.

ME/CFS is a complex illness with symptoms that cut across several medical disciplines – genetics, endocrinology, immunology, muscle pathology, and neurology in particular. Research into the underlying cause of this disease is rather like piecing together a complex medical jigsaw puzzle.

We actively seek researchers who will examine these underlying disease mechanisms. This must be our top priority if we are to obtain a better understanding of this disease and discover effective forms of treatment.

In the last 10 years we have invested over £500,000 in ME/CFS research, and over £1million in the last 25 years, which we couldn’t have achieved without your support. But we want to do more to exploit the better understanding we now have about the disease, and then build on any discoveries to help change lives for the better.

Index of Published ME/CFS Research

All research relating to ME/CFS can be located in the ME Association: Index of ME/CFS Published Research.

This extensive library of research is updated every month. It is a FREE resource available to anyone.

The Index provides an A-Z of published research studies and selected key documents and articles, listed by subject matter, on myalgic encephalomyelitis, myalgic encephalopathy, and/or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

You can use it to easily locate and read any research in a particular area that you might be interested in, e.g. epidemiology, infection, neurology, post-exertional malaise etc.

You can also find the Research Index in the Published Research section of the website together with a list of Research Summaries from the ME Association that provide lay explanations of the more important and interesting work that has been published to date.

Free Factsheets

We have published the following FREE leaflets for you to download:

How to apply for a research grant

  • We would encourage any researcher to first contact Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association (via admin@meassociation.org.uk) for an initial informal discussion.
  • If you would like to submit a grant application, please do so by proving the necessary information on the research proposition form and returning to us as soon as possible.
  • The next stage in the process will require submission of a formal grant application, but this should not be completed until your proposition has received approval. We aim to reply to all propositions within four weeks of receipt.
  • Grant decisions are based on the guidelines produced by the Association of Medical Research Charities and we will normally include both an internal and external peer review of all formal grant applications.

How much do we spend on administration?

We make no administration charge. We are very aware that people who give money to research want to see it spent on research – and not swallowed up by administration expenses.

The Ramsay Research Fund is a restricted fund which means that all donations are used exclusively for research activity.

We do not employ any extra staff to deal with routine administration or the research we are funding, and any support that is required is done so voluntarily or is met out of our general funds.

What is our position on animal testing?

  • The MEA Ramsay Research Fund is not funding any research that involves the use of animals nor do we have any plans (or applications) to fund research that involves the use of animals.
  • We would not completely rule out the use of animal research if we were convinced that information from this could lead to an effective form of treatment for ME/CFS and that there was no other way in which this research could be carried out.
  • But this is clearly a hypothetical situation that is very unlikely to occur because research into the treatment of ME/CFS is being conducted through clinical trials involving human volunteers.

Why is it so important that we raise money for ME/CFS research?

We believe that a key part of our role is to offer hope to the estimated 265,000 people with ME/CFS in the UK. They desperately want to return to a normal way of life, and one of the best ways to achieve this goal is to fund quality biomedical research that might discover why ME/CFS occurs and how it can effectively be treated.

ME/CFS research in general is appallingly underfunded compared to other serious medical conditions and we do as much as we can to address this imbalance. While we are limited by the resources we have and can only fund small studies, we will work with research teams on making bigger grant applications to the Medical Research Council and National Institute of Health Research.

We need to support studies that can replicate existing research and build upon discoveries with gold standard trials. The field is littered with small-scale studies some of which are very interesting, but we need much larger studies if we are to make real progress in the understanding and acceptance of ME/CFS.

Medical research is very expensive – so finding the underlying cause of ME/CFS and effective forms of treatment isn't going to be easy. But that has not and will not prevent us from trying!


Visit the other pages in this section:

  • Research Projects:
    RRF investment in infrastructure and laboratory research. Also, position statements on long-term initiatives like the Rituximab clinical trial and the Post-Mortem Tissue Bank and how you can donate tissue after death.
  • Published Research:
    RRF studies from 2000 to present; PACE Trial reanalysis and critical commentary, and MEA illness management reports and critical trial reviews; MEA research summaries and research updates.
  • Volunteering for Research:
    ME/CFS research requiring volunteers.
  • CFS/ME Research Collaborative:
    The ME Association is an active member of the Executive Board of the CMRC. Here you can learn more about this organisation, become a member, read the conference reviews, and meeting summaries.

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