The Dean Medal Award

Geoffrey Dean

Geoffrey Dean was an internationally regarded epidemiologist who in several seminal studies established the importance of environmental influences on the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. His work continues to have relevance to this day. Active in research up to his death, Dr Dean published a total of 120 papers during his illustrious career. His last was published in 2008 at the age of eighty-nine. 

The Dean Medal award, established in 2010, is intended to enable new MS researchers to travel to centres of excellence to enhance their understanding and knowledge of MS. MS Ireland wishes to encourage the dynamic and innovative work so keenly exemplified by Dr Geoffrey Dean. 



  • MS Ireland offers the Dean Medal to early career MS researchers to enable them to undertake short visits to other MS research centres, to learn new techniques, or to further joint research projects 
  • The aim is to encourage cross-fertilization of skills through collaborative research projects
  • One award, every two years approximately, to the value of €2,000
  • The funds are intended to contribute towards travel and living costs or to top-up an existing grant to extend a visit 


  • Individuals working in Ireland, preferably early career researchers who are directly involved in a MS research project
  • Before nomination, candidates need to have identified a suitable project, discussed their involvement with the project supervisor of the host institution and procured two written references
  • Projects must be related to MS
  • Research must comply with the HSE National Policy for Consent in Health and Social Care Research. It is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that ethical approval is secured from the host institution.  

Application Procedure:

Individuals can self-nominate, in order to apply the following information must be submitted by COB on the 22nd of September 2023

  • A letter from the candidate detailing their reasons for applying for the award 
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Testimonies (references) from at least two people with whom the candidate has worked
  • A description of the field of research that the candidate wishes to be trained in, or the research project that he or she wishes to carry out/extend. This should be written by the applicant and be a maximum of two A4 pages in length including (1) the background to project, (2) its aims and (3) the methodology to be used. A list of references should be added as an appendix which may also include figures
  • A signed letter of support from the project supervisor of the host institution, indicating that appropriate facilities will be made available. The letter should be on institution-headed notepaper
  • Candidates are required to submit both electronic and hard copies of all the above documents. Electronic copies are to be emailed to Alison Cotter – Hard copies should be posted to: Alison Cotter, Advocacy & Research Officer, MS Ireland, 80 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4


The deadline for receipt of applications is the 22nd of September 2023


The members of the MS Ireland’s Research Committee consider and select successful candidates. Please allow eight weeks.

Evidence of Results:

After the Dean Medal has been awarded and the research took place, a short report will be required for submission to the MS Ireland’s Research Committee and for publication. Electronic copies of reports, papers, abstracts and posters resulting from the visit should also be submitted.

Papers produced as a result of or in connection with Dean Medal funded research should acknowledge MS Ireland’s Research Committee. If possible, such acknowledgements should also reference MS Ireland’s website

Queries and nominations for the Dean Medal should be submitted by email to Alison Cotter


In 2011 the first award was made to Mary O'Flaherty from NUI, Galway. Mary worked in the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and was working on an MS project looking at how molecules associated with a particular kind of cellular stress known as ‘endoplasmic reticulum stress’ may affect how well brain slices recover from myelin loss. Mary used the bursary to travel to Imperial College London to study with Professor Richard Reynolds regarding a particular procedure used in her studies.

In 2015 a second award was made to Dr Nonnie McNicholas from St Vincent’s Hospital who travelled to the Karolinska Institute in Sweden to further her research into to the measurement of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers indicative of disease progression in people with MS. Read more about Dr McNicholas’ work in our research eZine.

In 2017 the award was made to Sravanthi Bandla of NUI Galway who travelled to the University of Glasgow to gain a better understanding of the therapeutic activity of ER chaperones in the context of multiple sclerosis.