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Funding boost announced for dementia research

£40 million will help develop new iconic building

Jo Carlowe

Monday, 12 March 2018

The government has today announced a £40 million investment in dementia research.

The landmark £40 million has been awarded to the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), via the Medical Research Council (MRC), for a new iconic hub building at University College London (UCL), business secretary Greg Clark announced today.

The UK DRI is a multimillion pound investment into dementia research led by the MRC alongside founding charity partners Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The institute will be a lynchpin in the UK’s research efforts to prevent, diagnose, treat, and care for those living with dementia.

Once completed, the hub will host up to 350 scientists as the centrepiece of the larger institute that incorporates research centres at five other universities, with the total number of UK DRI researchers growing to 700 across its six sites over the next six years.

The £40 million, which will be matched by significant capital investment by UCL, brings the total committed investment so far for UK DRI from the MRC and its two charity partners to £290 million.

Globally someone develops dementia every three minutes and today there are around 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. By 2021, that number is set to exceed a million and to pass two million by 2050.

Business secretary Greg Clark said: “By 2020 we want to be the best country in the world for dementia care and we also want to be best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Today’s funding announcement of £40 million for the Dementia Research Institute is a vitally important step on that journey.”

Dr Rob Buckle, chief science officer at the Medical Research Council, said: “Developing the UK Dementia Research Institute hub in partnership with UCL will bring tremendous benefits for science and for health. The new building will provide state-of-the-art facilities for research and the development of new dementia therapies, and will be located alongside neurology clinics and have a dedicated space for engaging dementia patients and their families and carers.”

Commenting, Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “With no new treatments in 15 years, the pressure is on to find ways to help the 850,000 people in the UK currently living with dementia. The UK is a global leader in dementia research – but greater investment is desperately needed.

“This £40 million will enable a cutting-edge hub for the UK Dementia Research Institute, so that we can attract world-class researchers and speed up the search for a cure. It’s great to see the government uniting with us and showing its commitment to double dementia research funding by 2025.”

The landmark future home for the UK DRI hub at UCL hopes to open its doors in 2024.

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