It appears that the grandest of all challenges in MS research is education; i.e. getting Researchers and MSers to agree on the unmet needs in the field across all stages of the disease. For example, convincing someone with progressive MS of the importance of prevention, making researchers understand the needs of progressive MSers sand importantly getting the reviewers' and funders' of research to understand the why.
"We have just received the reviewer's comments back from our MRC grant application that involved the repurposing of an anti-viral drug to target EBV in RRMS; I have never had such a dichotomy in opinion in relation to a grant before. The scores wither clustered at the top or bottom end of the scale regarding innovation and international competitiveness. Why? In other words some reviewer's were behind us and wanted the MRC to fund this study, whilst others thought the idea that EBV could be driving MS disease activity to be a worn-out idea that is irrelevant. The problem as I see it is one of poor communication and education; we obviously did not do enough ground work to prepare the field for the hypothesis that underpinned our grant."
"Scientists would hate to admit it but a lot of science, and in particular science funding, is a social science!"
"We are not going to let the rejection get us down. We have picked ourselves up, dusted off our keyboards and have started again. At the heart of our next grant submission will be an international education campaign to make the world realise that we may be onto something when we say EBV is the cause of MS."
"Education, education, education..." Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, 1997.
Labels: Education, Grand Challenges