PM announces £150 million funding for UK’s first Dementia Research Institute

David Cameron has announced the UK’s first Dementia Research Institute is set to receive up to £150 million to drive forward research and innovation in fighting dementia.

Led by the Medical Research Council, the institute will bring together world-leading experts, universities and organisations to drive forward research and innovation in fighting dementia – a disease that affects an estimated 850,000 in Britain, a figure that’s expected to double in the next 20 years.

The institute will have a central UK hub, with links to universities across the country and will build on the centres of excellence in dementia already operating across the UK. The Medical Research Council will open a competitive process in the new year asking universities to come forward to host the institute itself and will lead the search for a director to head it.

The commitment to form a UK-based institute, was announced by the Prime Minister in his Challenge on Dementia 2020 in February – a long-term strategy focused on boosting research, improving care and further raising public awareness about the disease.

Once established, the institute will draw together world-leading researchers, charities and universities to take forward 3 key strands of work:

  • accelerate the pace of discovery research in order to boost drug development
  • attract new partnerships with the biopharmaceutical sector to develop new treatments and ways of diagnosing dementia
  • develop and promote strategies for interventions that prevent the development or progression of dementia

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “For far too long this terrible condition has been ignored, down-played or mistaken as a part of the ageing process. When the truth is – dementia is one of the greatest enemies of humanity.

“I have been clear that I want Britain to lead the way in tackling this disease. And we have already taken great strides – since 2010 investment in research has doubled, hundreds of thousands of NHS and care staff have had specialist training and more than 1 million dementia friends have taken part in awareness sessions across the country.

“This institute is another great step – and will allow us to draw together cutting-edge research tools and expertise to defeat this disease once and for all.”

Dementia is widely regarded as representing one of the toughest medical and economic challenges of our society. Beyond the work already underway in the UK, the government has also been working with other countries to tackle this global health challenge.