Research Grant Round open

10th January 2019

We’re inviting applications for research grant funding to help fight back against meningitis

Meningitis Research Grant Round 2019 blog

We have restricted funding for research projects that will look into two types of bacterial meningitis in the UK – TB meningitis or pneumococcal meningitis.

Up to £100,000 a year, with a total grant of £250,000 over three years, is available for successful applicants.

Proud to fund cutting edge research 

Jane Blewitt, our Research Co-ordinator, said, “We’re proud to fund cutting edge, innovative and impactful research that increases understanding of meningitis and related diseases."

“Thanks to the generosity of a one-off legacy we’re looking to support projects that focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment or outcomes of TB meningitis or pneumococcal meningitis."

“To be successful, research groups will need to be based in the UK and have an established record of research into meningitis or associated diseases.”

Builds on established programme

This new grant programme builds on our established research programme, which has seen over £12 million invested since our formation in 1986.

Since then, five lifesaving vaccines have been introduced into the UK immunisation schedule, saving thousands of lives, but the disease still causes death and disability every year and many others continue to live with the life-long impact. 

“High-quality scientific research is essential in understanding and improving diagnosis, treatment, prevention and outcomes of meningitis and investment in further research is urgently required,” Jane added.

Successful project

One recent project funded by us from a research team at University College London, led by Professor Jeremy Brown, has developed a new technique with the potential to produce cheaper vaccines that protect against more strains of pneumococcal bacteria and therefore prevent more cases of this type of meningitis. The encouraging and exciting results, together with other work by the researchers, has enabled the team to secure a Medical Research Council grant to continue this study. (Read the details of the completed project here.)

“High-quality research will assist us in delivering our goals of saving lives, preventing disability and rebuilding futures,” Jane added.

We’re a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and adhere to its principles of best practice. Our projects are overseen and reviewed by our Scientific Medical Advisory Panel, made up of expert scientists and clinicians in the field of meningitis. 

Application forms for the new grant round can be found here and preliminary applications should be submitted by midday on 19 February 2019.

TB meningitis – the facts

TB meningitis (Tuberculous meningitis) is caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Infection begins elsewhere in the body, usually the lungs, but in about 1 - 2% of cases the bacterium causes TB meningitis.

  • There are around 150 – 200 cases reported each year in the UK.
  • TB meningitis usually develops slowly.
  • Anyone can get TB and therefore TB meningitis, but it is more likely to affect those living in poor conditions, such as the homeless and those with other illnesses – especially HIV infection.
  • TB infection usually begins in the lungs and in about 1 - 2% of cases the infection can progress to TB meningitis.
  • At least 20% will suffer long-term after-effects. These are often severe and may include severe acquired brain injury, epilepsy, paralysis and hearing loss.
  • Tragically, between 15-30% of patients will die, despite receiving treatment and care.

Pneumococcal meningitis – the facts

Pneumococcal meningitis is caused by bacteria called streptococcus pneumoniae. There are over 90 strains (or serotypes), but only a minority commonly cause disease.

  • There are around 200 reported cases of pneumococcal meningitis each year in the UK.
  • Most cases occur in babies and young children under 18 months of age.
  • The elderly and people with conditions that affect their immune systems are also at increased risk.
  • Approximately 15% of cases will result in death.
  • Although most people will make a good recovery, 25% of those who survive pneumococcal meningitis can be left with severe and disabling after-effects.
  • There are vaccines available in the UK routine immunisation schedule to help prevent pneumococcal disease in the UK.

Find out more about our research grant or apply for funding here.