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UK CFS/M.E. Collaborative

UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative

The UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative (CMRC) aims to promote the highest quality of basic and applied evidenced based and peer reviewed research into CFS/M.E.  Action for M.E. has been an Executive Board member of the CMRC since it was set up in 2013 (read its Charter, which was revised in August 2016). The CMRC brings together researchers, major funders and M.E. charities to: 

  • provide a mechanism for M.E. charities, researchers and clinicians to work together in a coordinated and collaborative way
  • increase awareness of M.E. within the research community
  • highlight priorities for research funding to assist funders such as the Medical Research Council
  • aim to increase funding for M.E. research.


2017 annual science conference

Experts in neurovirology and orthostatic intolerance will take the lead for the fourth annual UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative (CMRC) conference, which will this year be held in Bristol on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 September. This year’s conference focuses on the biology of M.E. and how researchers can work together collaboratively to further research it. 

Check out the the event programme for full information.

The two-day CMRC conference is open to professional and student researchers (undertaking a research associated programme at an academic institution), and CMRC Associate Members – that’s anyone with an interest in M.E. who isn’t a researcher. It’s free to become an Associate Member: see the 'Join the CMRC' section below to download an application form.

Registration for the 2017 CMRC conference for Associate Members is £45 for each. As the CMRC does not receive enough income to cover costs, it has to ask for this contribution, which is heavily subsidised to enable access to the conference for people with M.E. If you are unable to meet the cost of the ticket but would still like to attend, please contact the CMRC (via Action for M.E.) to request a full/ partial waiver.

This year, Action for M.E. will record presentations using our HD video camera, and upload them to our YouTube channel at the end of each day. Our aim is that, depending on upload speed, films will be available within 48 hours.


Previous conferences

The third annual CMRC conference took place on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September 2016 at the Novotel, Newcastle Airport, with speakers including Dr David Patrick, University of British Columbia; Dr Zaher Nahle, Vice President for Research and Scientific Programs at Solve CFS/M.E; and Prof George Davey Smith, University of Bristol.

Read and/or download reports of


The M.E./CFS Epidemiology and Genomics Alliance (MEGA) project

Announced at the 2015 CMRC conference, Chair Prof Stephen Holgate announced a Grand Challenge to initiate a national UK study that will collect samples from more than 12,000 men, women and children with M.E., plus healthy controls, and focus on phenotyping and subtyping data using statistical analysis, bringing in genomics and other areas. A Grand Challenge workshop was held in April 2016 in Bristol, resulting in the M.E./CFS Epidemiology and Genomics Alliance (MEGA). Visit the MEGA website to find out more - and read why about Action for M.E. is supporting this essential research project.


Increasing funding for M.E.

Launched at its 2016 conference in Newcastle, the CMRC's M.E./CFS Research Funding report highlights that research into M.E./CFS represents less than 1% of all active grants given by UK mainstream funding agencies. M.E./CFS has been a high priority for the Medical Research Council (MRC) for a long time, yet it receives very few high-quality applications in this area. Based on this report, and the scientific discussions at the conference, the MRC will review its M.E./CFS highlight notice, the mechanism by which researchers are alerted to areas that are a high priority for the MRC, with a view to encourage more applications.

Prof Stephen Holgate, Chair, UK CFS/M.E. Research Collaborative, says: “This report presents hard evidence of the chronic lack of research funding for M.E./CFS from major funding agencies. I am delighted that the MRC will now review its highlight notice as a result, and hope that the report proves to be a foundation for other mainstream funders to reassess their attitudes towards M.E./CFS and review their funding policies towards the illness.”


Join the CMRC

You can join the CMRC as a professional member (£20 per year or £15 a year for students*). This type of membership is open to all UK-based medical practitioners, all other health care professionals, researchers and charities involved in research or with an interest in M.E. research.

Being involved in research is defined as:

  • researchers - published peer reviewed papers within the last 2 years, or conducting research (PI, co-applicant or researcher) in peer reviewed studies.
  • health care professionals - supporting research through active involvement in peer reviewed projects. For example, Principal or Chief Investigator in a hospital recruiting patients in to a trial or study that has undergone peer review.
  • charities - not for profit organisations supporting research through involvement on steering groups/patient advisory groups on research projects that have undergone peer review or by funding M.E. research.

*Students in this category are defined as those doing research and registered for a further degree (PhD, doctorate, MSC).

Benefits of membership include:

  • being able to contribute to work streams designed to deliver the aims and objectives of the CMRC.
  • contributing to research strategy
  • being kept up to date with work stream progress and new initiatives.
  • reduced fees for attendance at the annual general meeting where work streams will present their progress in meeting objectives and researchers will be able to present research findings.

Associate membership (free) is open to those interested in supporting the CMRC. Associate members are not expected to be actively involved in M.E. research but will want to support it.

Associate members are kept up to date with work stream progress and new initiatives, and are invited to take part in associate member sessions at the CMRC's annual conference.

To join the CMRC, please download an application form.


Read meeting minutes

The Executive Board of the CMRC meets four times a year to discuss the work of the CMRC and report on actions taken. Click on the links below to read minutes from the following meetings: