The UK’s leading dementia research charity has announced increased investment in a Research Network across the UK, bringing scientists together to defeat dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK will support 15 Research Network Centres of scientific excellence across the UK, in an initiative that is unique in the dementia research community. Over 700 dementia researchers, from Scotland to the South Coast, are set to benefit from £1.2 million of new funding over 2 years, with continued support pledged for the coming years. The investment is made as part of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s five year £100m Defeat Dementia fundraising campaign, announced in June by the Prime Minister.
With calls from the G8 Dementia Summit in December for increased collaboration in dementia research, the Alzheimer’s Research UK Network brings together scientists from a variety of disciplines, both within their own institution, in neighbouring centres of academic excellence and throughout the UK. Teams of scientists who would not normally encounter each other are able to pool their expertise in projects that span the length of the country.
Over 820,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Network has been building since 1998 with the aim to tackle this problem, supporting scientists to ultimately find a cure for the condition. This increased funding has enabled new Networks to form, as well as boosting support to existing researchers aiming to answer the key questions in dementia research.
Besides providing a focal point for researchers, the Research Network also serves to help the local community understand the progress being made in dementia research. Every year, each Network Centre hosts a free public meeting, an informal event for the public to hear about the latest research findings. These events foster dialogue between researchers and those touched by the condition, providing scientists with new insights into dementia and inspiring new approaches to research.
Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We will not find a cure for dementia by working in isolation. Investment in our Research Network is essential to bring scientists together to share ideas and resources. Supporting grass-roots research is crucial to lay strong foundations for larger studies and we are pleased to be able to invest in people and ideas that could provide breakthroughs we are all desperate for.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way in research investment, but it is also crucial that we foster collaborations – locally, nationally and internationally. The Research Network will unite researchers across the UK in tackling dementia from different angles, in order to meet our aim to defeat dementia.”
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said:
“Dementia is a global challenge that already affects 44 million people worldwide and is set to double in the next 20 years – that’s why we’ve made it our ambition to identify new treatments, and ultimately a cure. Through research, investment and collaboration charities like Alzheimer’s Research UK are playing a key role in making our ambition a reality.”