Our meningitis research strategy

Our vision is simple; a future where no-one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives. One of our key priorities is to fund research that aims to prevent meningitis and related septicaemia


Why is research needed?

Despite amazing advances in scientific understanding of how to treat and prevent meningitis, the disease still causes death and disability every year. While meningitis and septicaemia can affect all age groups, bacterial meningitis and septicaemia kill more children under five than any other infectious disease in the UK. High quality scientific research is essential in understanding and improving diagnosis, treatment, prevention and outcomes of meningitis.

Our research strategy

Meningitis Now funds high quality scientific research with the ultimate aim of preventing and eradicating all forms of meningitis and associated disease, making the devastation of meningitis a thing of the past.

We have chosen to focus on prevention because it is the most effective way of saving lives. This is because meningitis and septicaemia strike so quickly, sometimes causing death within hours. It is also difficult to diagnose before it becomes advanced, meaning patients are often already critically ill when treatment begins. It is therefore better to prevent the infection from ever occurring.

A number of very effective vaccines have already saved thousands of lives. However, there are still strains and types of meningitis which are not preventable by vaccination or other means, and investment in further preventative research is therefore urgently required.

We primarily invest in early stage research that works towards the prevention of meningitis through vaccine development and refinement, and by improving understanding of pathogenesis (how disease happens) and risk factors for infection. We also fund research that is focused on preventing meningitis through other means.

We invest in this type of research because it drives innovation and discovery, providing an evidence base for further investment from the pharmaceutical industry and larger funders. We also fund research on vaccine evaluation and implementation, to better inform preventative strategies and reduce risk of infection. 

All research funded is excellent quality, original, innovative, high-risk, and of benefit to people living in the UK. We review our research strategy on a regular basis and are currently looking at future priority areas for funding.

The ultimate aim of the strategy is to eradicate all forms of meningitis and associated diseases. 

How our research helps others

The UK has always been at the forefront of meningitis vaccine research. The knowledge gained through the research we fund not only moves us closer to eradicating the disease in the UK, but also adds to the global understanding to help fight the disease worldwide.

Our meningitis research grants

Every year we run a grant awards programme, outlining the areas of research that we want to fund. 

We invite established research groups from across the UK with a track record in preventative research into meningitis and its associated diseases to apply for grants to aid existing or new research. All research must take place in, and have benefit to, the UK. Scientists apply by completing a grant proposal, stating the aims and objectives of the study along with the funding that is required.

Grants are awarded for up to three years and to a maximum value of £250,000. This funding is used to cover the costs of research and support staff, consumables required to carry out the research, and equipment.

You can read more about how we decide what to fund, and our policy on use of animals in research, on our apply for a grant page.

Our impact

Once awarded, all our grants are carefully monitored through progress reports and site visits.

The fight against meningitis can only continue if research teams around the world continue to work together. We ask that where possible our research teams share their findings through publication and presentations so that others can benefit from their work.