National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) is a non-profit organization based in New York City with chapters located throughout the United States. The organization funds research, advocates for social and political change, provides education, and sponsors services that help people with multiple sclerosis and their families.

The NMSS was founded as the Association for Advancement of Research on Multiple Sclerosis,[1] in 1946. Since that time it has become a national, multi-chapter, non-profit organization. It has been rated by Forbes magazine[1] as #63 in the 100 Largest U.S. Charities 2016 Ranking.


The NMSS supports and funds research activities in early research, translational research that develops laboratory results into treatments, and clinical trials to find out whether they are effective in treating MS. In 2012, the Society invested $44 million in more than 350 new and ongoing projects.[3][4]. As of 2016, NMSS has raised $974 million for research[5].

Throughout two 2-day meetings in 2014-2015 the NMSS developed the Wellness Research Working Group and wellness research priorities. The Research Wellness Group provides information regarding self-directed approaches for disease management to people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.[2]

Research rewards consist of several types of contributions to researchers in early to late stages of their careers. The following is a list of awards distributed by NMSS[3] to researchers in 2017.

Research funding and grant programs

Career Transition Fellowship

The Career Transition Fellowship program sponsors postdoctoral training and research funding for scientists who demonstrate a dedication to MS research. Awards are in amounts up to $550,000 for a total of five years of training and research. The training period covers two years and research funding covers three additional years for research in a new faculty position.

Collaborative MS Research Center Awards

The NMSS offers funding to research centers with the intent to promote interaction among researchers. The Collaborative MS Research Center Awards program is intended to create collaboration between MS researchers, including independent investigators, and clinical research organizations. In addition, the program reaches out to professionals working in other fields of research to recruit them into MS research projects.

MS Research Center Awards are obtained through an application process through the NMSS MS Grants web page.

Fast Forward commercial/drug development

Fast Forward is a commercial research funding entity under the NMSS which provides funding for drug development and MS research being conducted through commercial entities such as EMD Pharmaceuticals, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, and others. Researchers interested in the program are able to apply for funding through the Commercial Funding Opportunities web page.

Daniel Haughton Senior Faculty Award

This award was named after a member of the Board of Directors of the NMSS. Its purpose was to provide funding for training of MS researchers who needed additional education regarding the disease. As of 2017, this award was on hold[4] and not accepting applications.

Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholarships

Harry Weaver, PhD, was a researcher in the field of neuroscience who had a dedication to MS research. He was the Director of Research at NMSS from 1966 to 1977. The scholarship in his name is offered to provide salary and research funding for a period of five years to researchers who are beginning their careers in MS research. The program is most often supported through universities.

Health Care Delivery & Policy Contracts

The Health Care Delivery and Policy Research (HCDPR) program funds investigators who are conducting research projects which address NMSS organization's priorities. These priorities are listed by the NMSS as funding, quality, outcomes, and costs for care related to MS.

International Progressive MS Alliance

The International Progressive MS Alliance was founded in 2012 as the International Progressive MS Collaborative. The MS Alliance membership is composed of MS organizations from around the world. The Alliance provides two different funding awards, including the Challenge Award[5] and Collaborative Network Award grants. Both grants provide funding over multiple years to researchers and institutions in the international community.[6]

Mentor-based Postdoctoral Rehabilitation

This program supports a combination of mentors and MS postdoctoral training institutions to recruit and train MS rehabilitation fellows. Mentors are required to be experienced MS researchers who have an established and active participation in their field. Interested parties must submit an application for the program through the NMSS website.

Participants in the program include the Duke University School of Medicine,[7] the Weizmann Institute of Science,[8] University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Utah,[9] and additional related institutions.

Clinician Scientist Development Award

The American Academy of Neurology and NMSS have partnered to develop this grant program. The program focuses on providing grant funding to MS researchers. One such grant was issued in 2005 to support Dr. Green of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, whose research focused on the optical nerve and retina in people with MS[10]..

In 2016, the American Academy of Neuroscience Clinician Scientist Development Program[11] awarded $3 million to research and training programs with a focus on neuroscience. The Clinician Scientist Development Award in Multiple Sclerosis was awarded to Joseph Sabatino, MD, PhD at the University of California San Francisco.

Pilot Research Grants

High-risk pilot research programs[11] focus on cutting-edge ideas and methods which have not been tested which may contribute to MS medical research. The Pilot Research Grants provide one year of research funding to pilot programs in order to develop results which can be used to apply for long term funding programs.


Ruckus Sports, LLC vs. NMSS

On October 26, 2012, Ruckus Sports, LLC filed a legal suit against the National Multiple Sclerosis Society complaining that the organization committed Trademark Infringement for its use of "Muckruckus MS" as the name for its adventure race fundraising event. Ruckus Sports claimed that the Ruckus Trademark had been advertised and used for marketing their adventure charity races since September 2010. The NMSS filed a trademark application for "Muckruckus MS" on November 21, 2011.

The legal complaint, under Case No. 91207735-OPP, was filed in Massachusetts, claiming that the NMSS had committed one count of Federal Trademark Infringement Under 15 U.S.C. § 1125,[12] one count of Federal Unfair Competition,[13] one count of State Common Law Trademark Infringement under Massachusetts Law,[14] and one count of Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices and Unfair Methods of Competition in Violation of Massachusetts General Law c. 93A.[15] According to the website, there were 7 filings in the case, in which the NMSS filed a withdrawal of the Trademark application in January 2013. The website shows that the case was dismissed by the court on January 29, 2013.


  1. "National Multiple Sclerosis Society on the Forbes The 100 Largest U.S. Charities List". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  2. Motl, Robert W; Mowry, Ellen M; Ehde, Dawn M; LaRocca, Nicholas G; Smith, Kathy E; Costello, Kathleen; Shinto, Lynne; Ng, Alexander V; Sullivan, Amy B (2017-01-12). "Wellness and multiple sclerosis: The National MS Society establishes a Wellness Research Working Group and research priorities". Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 24 (3): 262–267. doi:10.1177/1352458516687404. ISSN 1352-4585. PMC 5494005. PMID 28080254.
  3. "List of Current Research Projects Funded by the National MS Society" (PDF). National Multiple Sclerosis Society. January 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  4. "International Progressive MS Alliance". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  5. "Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship in Rehabilitation Research | Research Funding". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  6. "National Multiple Sclerosis Society". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  7. "Home - Office of Sponsored Projects - The University of Utah". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  8. "AAN Foundation, National MS Society Partner for Clinician Scientist Development Award". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  9. Neurology, American Academy of. "Announcing the 2016 American Academy of Neurology Research Program Recipients". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  10. "15 U.S.C. 1125 - False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  11. "15 U.S.C. 45 - Unfair methods of competition unlawful; prevention by Commission". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  12. "Section 14". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  13. "Section 11". Retrieved 2017-05-24.
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