A $2 million gift will be used to build a world-class multiple sclerosis research program in Winnipeg.

The University of Manitoba and the MS Society of Canada announced the $2 million donation from the Waugh Family Foundation on Thursday.

Some of the money will help create a new MS research chair who will "build a world class research program in the university's Faculty of Health Sciences, leading a team of researchers who will make significant contributions to our knowledge of the disease," a news release from the U of M says.

The funds will also provide financial support for new studies and projects at the university.

"My family and I are proud to stand with the University of Manitoba and the MS Society to help end MS. It is our hope that this gift will build on the university's outstanding MS research program and eventually lead to a cure," Rick Waugh, president of the Waugh Family Foundation, stated in the release.

Canada has the highest global rate of MS, a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve.

It is estimated to affect more than 3,400 Manitobans and 100,000 Canadians.

In the last several years, the U of M has transformed its MS clinical and research programs, obtaining more than $13 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other national and international organizations, including the MS Society.

The new chair will be recruited in 2016 and the university is working with additional donors to grow the $2-million endowment to $5 million.

The Waugh Family Foundation is a Toronto-based private foundation established in 2011 that makes grants in the areas of social services, health and education.