The Dean Medal Travel Bursary 2019 – applications now open

A travel bursary to encourage the understanding of MS among young researchers, in memory of Geoffrey Dean, MD (1918 – 2009)

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. The third Dean Medal Travel Bursary is now open for applications. Details of the application process are below.


  • MS Ireland offers the Dean Medal to young 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 young researchers who are directly involved in a MS research project are eligible for nomination
  • Before nomination, candidates need to have identified a suitable project and discussed their involvement with the project supervisor of the host institution
  • Projects must be related to MS

Nomination of Candidates

Individuals can self-nominate but the nomination should include:

  • A letter from the candidate detailing their reasons for the nomination
  • His or her 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. This should be written by the applicant and should be a maximum of two A4 pages including the background to project, aims and 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 Aoife Kirwan – Hard copies should be posted to:

Aoife Kirwan, Information, Advocacy & Research Officer
MS Ireland, 80 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4


The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday, 31st January 2020


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 in MS Ireland’s bi-annual research eZine. 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 Aoife Kirwan

Past winners

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.

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.