CFS/ME Research Collaborative

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UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative

The UK CFS/ME Research Collaborative (CMRC) was established in April 2013 as a working group of researchers, research funding organisations and M.E. charities. The ME Association is an active member of the Executive Board.


To promote the discovery of the biological mechanisms that underpin CFS/ME, which, together with clinical observation, will drive the development of targeted new treatments for this highly underserved patient population.


  • To design, implement and analyse the outcome of a cross-stakeholder,
    comprehensive, national research strategy for CFS/ME and experimental medicine.
  • To create an open cross-sector platform for effective knowledge-exchange and data sharing both nationally and internationally, in order to optimise research, raise awareness of the disease, and influence policymakers and investors.


  • We are an intellectually generous community sharing data, best practice and technologies.
  • We are a creative community harnessing new ideas, new technologies and new ways of working.
  • We are a collaborative community inviting all stakeholders to join our programmes and shape our activity.
  • We are an enabling community, facilitating the leverage of further resources for CFS/ME research.

For more details please see the 2018 CMRC overview.


The CMRC is chaired by Stephen Holgate from the University of Southampton who is also Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician. It was largely because of Professor Holgate’s involvement in the MRC Expert Group on ME/CFS and his continuing determination to discover the underlying causes of the disease and find effective forms of treatment, that the collaborative was born.

The ME Association, as an active member of the MRC Expert Group, also supported Professor Holgate in establishing the CMRC and strongly believes in the importance of this working partnership – especially in helping to bring ME/CFS to the recognition of mainstream science as a legitimate biomedical disease in desperate need of increased funding.

In September 2015 it was announced that The Wellcome Trust and National Institute of Health Research would join the collaborative as observers, and that Wellcome and Arthritis Research UK would also provide significant sponsorship for the research conference. You can read more about this, here.

In March 2018 the CMRC announced a new strategy and reorganisation, extending executive membership to members of the patient advisory group from MEGA. You can read the accompanying statement, here.

CMRC Research Conferences

The 2018 conference

The 5th CMRC annual science conference will take place in Bristol on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 September, with speakers to be announced.

Registration fees for people with M.E. and their carers start from £50 for a single day’s conference pass to £250 per person (or £405 per shared room) for a two-day conference pass including drinks reception, delegates dinner and overnight accommodation.

  • Visit the ME Association website blog for more information about the conference.
  • For ticket prices and how to book your place, visit the CMRC Eventbee page.
  • If you are a researcher and want to submit an abstract for the conference, please download the abstract form for more information.

Previous conference reports:

MEGA (ME/CFS Epidemiology and Genomics Alliance) Project

Launched as a ‘grand challenge’ by Stephen Holgate at the 2015 CMRC conference, the MEGA project aims to establish the world’s largest ME/CFS bioresource, collecting clinical data and tissue samples from 12,000 men, women, and children affected by the disease.

Once established, it had been hoped that the bioresource would enable a dedicated team, including some of the UK’s top biomedical researchers, to investigate underlying and contributory disease mechanisms. At the end of 2016 MEGA recruited a patient advisory group who worked with the research team to make outline grant applications to UK funding bodies.

Unfortunately, the two applications for funding (made to Wellcome and separately to the MRC) were not successful in 2017 and the future of MEGA is uncertain. As at May 2018 we are still awaiting an update from the CMRC about the situation.

ME Association position on MEGA

Dr Charles Shepherd reiterated the ME Association position in March 2017: “The MEA position on MEGA remains exactly the same – we will make a decision as to whether we are going to endorse and support the MEGA study when we have ALL the key information relating to concerns and questions about patient selection, diagnostic criteria, inclusion of people with severe ME/CFS etc etc. We will also take note of what the MEGA PAG (Patient Advisory Group) are saying.”

For more information about MEGA including blogs and FAQs please visit the MEGA website.

Visit our other pages in this section:

CFS/ME Research Collaborative

Executive Board and Becoming a Member or Associate Member

Executive Board Meeting Summaries

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