Our research work

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Our projects and PhDs

Our projects and PhDs

In our 2022 - 2027 strategy, Shaping our future together, we set out our ambition to increased funding for high-quality research by more researchers, leading to effective treatments for M.E. We will:

  • aim to deliver £2 million investment via our Breakthrough-ME research strategy
  • drive M.E. genetics research forward through a virtual Genetics Centre of Excellence and Genetics Research Summit with the Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh
  • ensure patient and public involvement is at the heart of driving research forward
  • address the shortage of M.E. researchers by investing in a Future Leaders programme
  • co-deliver DecodeME, the world’s largest genetic M.E. study, and seek to expand this research model to provide greater insight and research opportunities
  • work collaboratively to ensure progress in M.E. research is accelerated ensuring M.E. is included in Long Covid research.

Our research-related activity is funded by our Clare Francis Research Fund, named for our President.

You can make a donation to our research activities by:

  • visiting our Clare Francis Research Fund page on JustGiving
  • calling 0117 927 9551 and speaking to the Fundraising team
  • texting CFRF87 and your donation amount (£3, £5 or £10) to 70070 (texts to this number are free).

Our current projects

All funding applications we receive are put through a five-stage funding assessment process, overseen by our Research Panel, with input from our Scientific Advisory Panel and people with M.E. We are currently funding:

  • PhD-level research, jointly with King’s College London, looking at Retrotransposon Insertion Polymorphism, a type of genetic variation (from June 2022)
  • PhD-level research jointly with the University of Oxford, looking at the role for the microbiome and leaky gut as a symptom of M.E./CFS and other conditions associated with chronic disease.
  • a University of Edinburgh PhD Studentship comparing immune cells (T cells) from people with M.E. with those from controls (from June 2018)
  • a brain inflammation PhD Studentship supervised by Prof Neil Harrison, now based at Cardiff University (from June 2018).

As part of our trans-Atlantic partnership with US charity Solve ME, we are funding a two-year, jointly funded, £120,000 fellowship for early-stage career researches, working with Prof Chris Ponting, University of Edinburgh; and Prof Liz Worthey, University of Alabama at Birmingham (from May 2021).

We work in partnership with the UK ME Research Collaborative.

Our Chief Executive, Sonya Chowdhury, is Co-Investigator on the M.E./CFS Biomedical Partnership, leading DecodeME, the world's largest M.E. DNA study.

She has also been Lead for the M.E./CFS Priority Setting Partnership, which worked with the M.E. community to identify their top 10+ M.E./CFS research priorities to influence future research funding, launching its Defining future M.E./CFS research report in May 2022. We hope these will change the research landscape in the UK and beyond.

Sonya is a member of the Interdisciplinary Canadian Collaborative ME (ICanCME) Research Network.


Previously funded projects

Research we funded prior to 2016 (when we launched our five-year strategy with a focus on funding PhDs and our Clare Francis Fellowship) include: