£4.3m to boost UK research base in dementia

2 November 2016

MRI of brain

Cardiff University is one of six universities awarded a share of £4.3m by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to grow and develop the UK’s research base in dementia science.

The Momentum awards, designed to support the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI), will open new research avenues which could transform the potential of dementia research in the UK. The awards represent the first steps in establishing the capabilities for the DRI, which is being funded through a combined investment of £250m from the MRC and founding charity partners, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The DRI is expected to be up and running by 2019.

Cardiff University’s award will be used to recruit two ‘Rising Stars’ working on novel and complementary areas: immune pathways relevant to dementia and the development of stem cell (iPSC) models of neurodegenerative disease. The University has background strengths spanning disease genetics, neurobiology, immunity, brain imaging through to population medicine, which provides a broad foundation for the new recruits. In addition, Rising Stars will be provided with 2 years of MRC-funded postdoctoral support as well as a PhD student to help them develop their research programme at Cardiff University.

Professor Kim Graham, Dean of Research for the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University, said: “We are delighted to receive an MRC Momentum Award focused on growing capacity in our internationally-leading Cardiff University Dementias Research Network..."

Kim Graham

"Our new Rising Stars will be supported by state-of-the-art research infrastructure and research positions to help them develop new programmes in dementia research, complementary to our ongoing work in genetics, systems immunity and stem cell modelling. Investing in research focused on identifying the causes of dementia, a key aim of the UK DRI, will enable new therapies designed to reduce the significant burden of dementia.”

Professor Kim Graham, College Dean for Research

Dr Rob Buckle, Director of Science Programmes at the MRC, added: “The DRI will be the biggest single investment into dementia research the UK has ever seen and we are proud to start building the foundation for it now. These transformative awards will create exciting new opportunities across the dementia research landscape and provide impetus to allow the Institute to start making its mark as soon as it is launched.”

The UK Dementia Research Institute is being funded through a combined investment of £250m from the MRC and founding charity partners, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. As well as innovative, discovery science, the Institute will fund research to improve care and public health strategies to reduce risk of dementia for future generations. Next year Alzheimer’s Society will fund new Centres of Excellence to strengthen the UK’s capacity and capability in dementia care research.

Our approach to research in the School of Medicine is to bring together people, knowledge and skills from a range of disciplines to focus on interdisciplinary themes.