Project information

Funding Scientists of the Future

Seven-year-old Abbi is a born performer; but she’s worried she won’t be able to hold a microphone when she’s older. This is because she has muscular dystrophy - her muscles are weak and gradually wasting away.

We want to fund research into treatments and cures, so Abbi doesn't have to worry.

We fund PhD students and clinicians for three years at a time

Charity information

Muscular Dystrophy UK

Muscular Dystrophy UK logo
  • Need


    A diagnosis of a muscle-wasting condition is devastating. Muscles weaken and waste over time, leading to increasing disability. For many, the tiniest movement can be a struggle, and for some their weakening heart muscles will shorten their lives.
    There are no treatments or cures for muscle-wasting conditions. Research is vital to give hope to children like Abbi; but only a limited number of scientists have the necessary in-depth knowledge of these rare conditions.


    We are working towards a world with effective treatments and cures for all muscle-wasting conditions.
    To achieve this, we need to support top-quality research, and ensure there continues to be enough scientists with the knowledge needed to carry it out. We will support the next generation of researchers to build on the groundbreaking work that has already been done.
    By selecting the most promising young scientists to work on the best research projects we can get closer to treatments and cure.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To support and fund the new generation of neuromuscular researchers


    » By funding PhD studentships, and offering clear and stable support for young scientists looking to go into neuromuscular research.

    We will keep records of who we fund, and what they achieve throughout their placements. At the end of the project they will provide detailed analysis of their work.

    Aim 2

    To ensure we have clinicians knowledgeable about these conditions to support individuals.


    » By funding people early in their careers we ensure that future generations have the best clinicians to support them.

    We will keep records of who we fund, and not only record their achievements through their placements, but also in their early career.

    Aim 3

    To continue our groundbreaking research and develop new approaches.


    » We select only the most promising research projects, through our rigorous and detailed peer review system, to ensure our continuing progress.

    We will record the projects we fund, as well as feedback from the peer review panel and medical committee. At the end of a project, we will receive analysis of the findings.

  • Impact


    Only by funding groundbreaking neuromuscular research now, generating the essential knowledge to understand the underlying causes of these conditions, will we be able to find treatments and cures in the future.
    By having trained researchers and clinicians, families will receive accurate and detailed answers to their questions. By increasing the quantity of clinicians, people will be able to get an appointment more quickly, which will be shown through our regular audits of UK muscle clinics.


    1) Not enough applicants apply
    We publicise these exclusive opportunities through leading researchers. Applicants will receive training with top researchers, making the places popular, ensuring enough applicants.
    2) People drop out mid-way though projects
    Owing to the rarity of the opportunity, and our rigorous selection process, we ensure dedicated applicants.
    3) The research doesn't produce the expected result.
    All findings are valuable. They can support and further other projects.


    We ensure our donors know about our progress.
    The research area of our website is continually updated, ensuring our most recent, public, results are available, and important updates are emailed.
    Our annual review also provides an overview of our research projects, and is available to the public.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £120,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £60,000 Clinical Research Fellow Funds 1 clinical fellow for a year
      £60,000 PHD Studenship Funds 2 PhD studentships for a year

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Various Trusts and Foundations £40,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    We fund researchers and clinicians at top universities throughout the UK - including Oxford, London, Edinburgh and Newcastle.


    Specialist research has the potential to benefit all those with muscle-wasting conditions. These people will also benefit from the attention of specialist clinicians, ensuring they will have better specialist healthcare.
    It will also support the next generation of talented scientists who may not have otherwise been able to follow a career in neuromuscular research or care.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    To select our research, we use a robust international peer-review system, and have laid the foundations for the first potential treatments for some muscle-wasting conditions.
    We also focus on all conditions, and multiple strands of research - meaning we are able to select research most likely to make a difference. By collaborating with other UK charities and international bodies, we can also ensure research isn't duplicated elsewhere.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Marita Pohlschmidt BSc PhD

    Marita is the Director of Research at Muscular Dystrophy UK. She is responsible for overseeing our research strategy and programme of funded research.

    Dr Alison Stevenson BSc PhD

    As Senior Grants Manager at the charity, she manages all the research projects we fund and ensures a robust peer review system for their selection.

    Professor Veronica Van Heyningen CBE FRS FRSE FMedSci

    Prof Heyningen chairs our Medical Research Committee. Before retiring, she was an International Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

    Professor Dominic Wells MA VetMB PhD MRCVS FHEA FSB

    Prof Wells sits on our Medical Research Committee. He uses his research experience to feed into decisions as to which projects receive funding.

Abbi hopes to be a performer one day

Abbi hopes to be a performer one day


could fund another hour of scientific research