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The review and award process


Round 1: initial applications review

Following receipt of the completed application form, all applications are blinded before review by the Steering Committee.

For the first round of review, the names of all applicants and their institutions are completely blind to the members of the Steering Committee to keep the scientific merit of the proposals as the key criteria for selection. All proposals are rated from 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest) against each of the following criteria:

  • Relevance to clinical practice
  • Innovative research in MS
  • Robust scientific rationale
  • Feasibility
  • Practical utility

A final score is then calculated and the projects ranked accordingly. The Steering Committee shortlists a number of applications to go through to the next round of the awards process based on this blinded ranking.

Round 2: review of shortlisted proposals 

Applications identified by the Steering Committee for further consideration will be invited to submit a formal proposal including a detailed protocol and budget for the proposed research project.

The protocol should include the objectives, design, inclusion/exclusion criteria, methodology, planned assessments (timelines and events table), planned interventions, if applicable, and statistical plan. The budget must cover any or all patient-related costs, drug costs, study-related costs for personnel dedicated to the study (but may not include the cost of any fringe benefits for personnel), diagnostic fees and services, data management expenses, statistical services, institutional overhead and Institutional Review Board fees. The proposed project milestones and milestone payments must also be included. These details will be set out in full for those applicants invited to submit a formal proposal.

Based on all the information provided, the Steering Committee will discuss and judge all detailed proposals, and will make its final decisions on the proposals that will receive a GMSI award.

The Steering Committee for GMSI comprises external, fully independent specialists in the field. The Steering Committee undertakes a rigorous process of review and assessment of eligible projects before validating its selection of grant Awardees.

Meet the Steering Committee

Notifications to applicants

After each round of selection, successful applicants will be contacted individually about the status of their application and will eventually be requested to submit additional information. Applicants who are not selected to proceed to the second round will be informed that they have not been successful on this occasion. All applicants whose projects pass to the second round of review will have to submit the formal protocol, budget and a signed document that confirms their acceptance of the GMSI rules and regulations for advanced applications.

What is the Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation (GMSI)?

1. How is the awarding of the grant formalized?

The awarding of the innovation grant is subject to the signature of a contract between each Awardee and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which documents the conditions of the grant and the further collaboration between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and the Awardee(s).

2. Do Awardees have to get involved in publicity surrounding the GMSI?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany retains the exclusive right to make any press release or any kind of public communication about the Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation, the grant(s) and the Awardee(s).

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany would encourage the Awardee(s) to present any data at ECTRIMS on project completion.

3. What happens to applications that are not successful?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany treats all submissions confidentially; applications are archived for 10 years and stored under restricted access.

The Steering Committee is not able to provide feedback or explanation on the reason why projects were not selected.