Dont have an account?Sign up here
Spinal Research is committed to funding the highest quality international research into a cure for spinal cord paralysis. We support both basic science and clinical research and aim to increase research capacity by encouraging talented young graduates into the field through our PhD studentships.
Research may be centred at the bench but to be productive requires collaboration and a healthy exchange of ideas. We facilitate this by bringing our scientists together every year at our Annual Network Meetings, the first in this field, and publish an Annual Research Review – a compilation of reports from our grant holders – documenting their most recent developments.
We continually encourage international cooperation of effort and as a founding member of the ICCP (International Campaign for Cures of spinal cord injury Paralysis) we have been instrumental in bringing essential guidelines on the conduct of safe and effective clinical trials for spinal cord injury.
The Trust boasts an internationally-recognised Scientific Committee who guide our scientific strategy and preside over a peer-review process that ensures awards are made only to the highest quality research projects. Spinal Research recognises that for complex multisystem diseases and pathologies, such as spinal cord injury, it is sometimes necessary to use animals as part of the overall research endeavour.
Spinal Research is aware of the responsibility that this places on it to ensure, whenever possible, alternatives to the use of animals are explored. All laboratories must hold a certificate issued by the Home Office and have gained approval for their work from a local ethical and animal welfare committee before any work involving the use of animals is permitted.
Spinal Research and its Scientific Committee have developed a strategic approach to research, to make the route to therapies for paralysis as logical, safe and speedy as possible. In line with this, we have regular grant rounds.
The charity is fortunate to have an eminent Scientific Committee comprising many experts in this highly specialised field who volunteer their time and knowledge, and who drive our strategy and research programme from start to finish.
The research grant award process starts with a decision by the Scientific Committee on the most relevant area of science at the time. There follows a call for proposals, done by advertising in international scientific publications such as Nature, The Lancet and Neuroscience.
At this stage applicants are invited to submit a short Letter of Intent, clearly stating the particular scientific question they would like to address. Each Letter of Intent is scored by a panel of experts and ranked on merit.
Based on this, the best candidates are invited to submit a full and detailed application. When completed forms are returned, we start the further process of Peer Review.
Every submission received is sent out to all Scientific Committee members and also two external referees with particular expertise in the applicants’ chosen discipline. Each full proposal is scored and reviewers’ comments are collected and sent to the Scientific Committee for a final decision on fundability. Their recommendations are considered at the next Spinal Research Trustees’ Meeting and the Trustees give their approval to funding individual projects.
This rigorous approach in deciding what research to fund is crucial to ensure that income raised by our supporters is not wasted.