Young Epilepsy & Epilepsy Research UK Collaboration

There are approximately 112,000 children and young people with epilepsy in the UK, and epilepsies that start in childhood are often linked with significant associated conditions affecting learning, motor control, cognition and behaviour. An epileptic seizure may be the first sign of a brain disorder, but it is the impact of the underlying condition on learning, behaviour, and participation in society that may result in the most disabling consequences for the child and family.

This jointly funded fellowship award is a grant of up to £300,000 which will support an early career researcher working in paediatric epilepsy and fund a project with the aim of reducing the impact of epilepsy on children and their families and carers. The fellowship will enable a researcher to investigate an area of research showing real potential and provide them with the funding to develop their own research group in this area.

Fundamental to this partnership will be engagement with the Young Epilepsy “Young Reps”, a panel of children and young people living with epilepsy, who will be asked to identify areas they believe are a priority for research. The outcomes from the engagement with children and young people with epilepsy will influence the decision-making criteria when awarding the joint fellowship.

Epilepsy Research UK Chief Executive Maxine Smeaton said, “Epilepsy in childhood can have a life-changing impact on families. We are driving research into new drug therapies that reduce seizures and the associated side effects and provide families with more effective ways to manage the condition. We are also investing in pioneering research that will bring us closer to preventing epilepsy in the future.”

Young Epilepsy Chief Executive Mark Devlin commented, “Childhood epilepsies can affect almost every aspect of young lives and in severe cases, can put their futures on hold. We are thrilled to offer, this joint Fellowship Grant dedicated to understanding more about the causes and management of childhood epilepsy, and we are delighted that the consultation with young people themselves will ensure the voice of children and young people with epilepsy help to steer this important research.”

Following Epilepsy Research UK’s International Expert Workshop on Epilepsy and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, which Young Epilepsy took part in, a commitment was made to prioritising research to drive innovations in the treatment of childhood epilepsies to reduce the impact of the condition on children and their families and carers.

Professor Helen Cross OBE, Prince of Wales Chair of Childhood Epilepsy, President of ERUK and Young Epilepsy Trustee said, “Contributing to research into the childhood onset epilepsies and associated comorbidities, an often-neglected area, offers a real chance of making a difference to children with epilepsy and their families.”

Those wishing to apply for this fellowship can find the full guidance and application forms here:

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