Press release

PM announces funding for UK’s first Dementia Research Institute

The UK’s first Dementia Research Institute will receive up to £150 million to drive forward research and innovation in fighting dementia.

  • UK’s first Dementia Research Institute set to receive up to £150 million to launch step change in research and development
  • institute to draw together world-leading dementia expertise to accelerate the pace of research, develop new diagnostic tests and tackle the progression of the disease
  • latest step in long-term strategy to combat dementia – which already includes over £300 million committed for UK research and a separate global fund to drive international innovation

The UK’s first Dementia Research Institute is set to receive up to £150 million to deliver a step change in research and development to tackle the disease.

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.

This follows a commitment from G8 health ministers to aim to identify a cure or a disease modifying therapy for dementia by 2025, with the first ever $100 million global Dementia Discovery Fund unveiled by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in March this year.

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.

Notes for editors

The institute will cover the whole of the UK – with the main hub based at a university, along with a partnership of several universities each of which be drawing on their own expertise and linking with local activity.

The institute is expected to be up and running before 2020.

Published 24 November 2015