Researcher Disinterest Still Hampering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Field



By Cort Johnson in Health Rising.


A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveals that during the three grant review panels from July 2017 to April 2018, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) researchers applied for a total of 12 grants.  It was the lowest number of grant applications to the panel dating back at least 12 years. Despite the increased interest in ME/CFS, the last five years have shown a more or less steady decline in individual grant applications from ME/CFS researchers.

  • 2011  – 20
  • 2012  – 30
  • 2013  – 16
  • 2015  – 26
  • 2016  – 13
  • 2017/18 – 12

The explanation for the low number of grant applications used to be that the grant review panels were packed with pain researchers who would not score ME/CFS grants well. That explanation was demolished when the pain researcher panels vanished with no uptick in ME/CFS grant application rates. Another idea has been that the NIH funds a lower percentage of ME/CFS grant applications than in other diseases.  An analysis suggested that wasn’t true either – ME/CFS studies appear to be being approved at normal and at times higher than normal rates.


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Link to ME Research Funding story

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