What kind of research does Epilepsy Action fund?
We fund non-laboratory based research into epilepsy.
Does Epilepsy Action fund basic science research?
No. We focus our resources on promoting and undertaking non-laboratory research into social and clinical aspects of epilepsy.
Do you fund research that uses animals?
No. We only fund non-laboratory research.
If you do not fund research that uses animals, why do you support the principle of using animals in research?
We support the principle of using animals in research only when it is absolutely necessary to advance understanding of health and disease or to develop new treatments. This research should only take place where there are no other viable techniques available.
There is currently no single cure for epilepsy. Research helps to develop a better understanding of epilepsy, so that it can be diagnosed and treated more effectively. Although Epilepsy Action does not fund research that uses animals, we recognise that this kind of research has brought about significant benefits for people with epilepsy. For example, animal research has helped to increase understanding of seizures and develop new medicines and treatments for people with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Action is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). What is the AMRC?
AMRC is a national membership organisation of leading medical and health research charities. Members are registered charities that fund research in the UK, as one of their principal activities. To be a member, you must meet certain membership criteria including publishing a research strategy and using peer review in awarding research funding. The AMRC is a collective voice for medical research charities in the UK.
What are Epilepsy Action’s research aims?
We have six research aims which are outlined in Epilepsy Action’s research strategy.
How does Epilepsy Action fund research?
In recent years, we have offered a range of research awards, from travel bursaries to large project grants, for research into specific areas of epilepsy. Some of these projects are still in progress.
We now offer an annual programme of travel and postgraduate student bursaries. In addition we fund a maximum of two internally agreed research projects each year, which support Epilepsy Action’s strategic aims, campaigning and services.
Who can apply for research funding?
Researchers and PhD students, based at UK universities or NHS Trusts, are eligible to apply for funding.
Who decides which research Epilepsy Action funds?
Applications for postgraduate student bursaries are scored by appropriate members of our Scientific Awards Panel. This is is an independent group of academic and clinical professionals with specific expertise. (This is peer-review.) Applications are also scored by members of our network of research volunteers. These are people who have epilepsy, or have a personal connection to epilepsy. (This is lay review.) Members of our Research Committee consider the scores and make the final decisions about offering the awards.
Recipients of travel bursaries are decided by members of our Research Committee, using a scoring system.
How much does Epilepsy Action spend on research?
We have limited resources to fund research. Most funds come from legacies and donations, so the amount available varies from year to year.
In what other ways does Epilepsy Action support researchers?
We can promote research studies and help with recruitment. We also advise on, and facilitate, active patient and public involvement in research (PPI). This is about enabling people affected by epilepsy to get involved in different stages of the research process, including the development of a study. In addition, we are involved in a number of proposed and ongoing studies, acting as partner, stakeholder, collaborator, supporter or advisor. We can also help by promoting research results.
Another way we support researchers is through Seizure – the European Journal of Epilepsy. This peer-reviewed journal, published for us by Elsevier and edited by Dr Marcus Reuber, features papers, case reports and focused reviews.
Does Epilepsy Action provide opportunities for people with epilepsy to get involved in research?
We are committed to ensuring that people with epilepsy can be actively involved in research. We have acknowledged expertise in patient and public involvement in research (PPI).We have a network of research volunteers who review our funding applications and contribute to consultations for external research teams. This helps to ensure that the research we fund and support is relevant and important to people living with epilepsy. We also recognise that many people with epilepsy are enthusiastic about taking part in surveys, studies and trials. We regularly advertise such opportunities on our website, in our publications and through social media.
What kinds of research does Epilepsy Action carry out?
We regularly carry out surveys to evaluate our work, inform the development of services and support our campaigning. We also work with NHS Trusts and other organisations to help with evaluation and development of epilepsy services.