Alzheimer’s Research UK

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity specialising in finding preventions, causes, treatments and a cure for dementia.

Updated:
10 February 2016
Location:
National
Sectors:
Care, Health

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity specialising in finding preventions, causes, treatments and a cure for dementia. We believe that science and innovation hold the key to defeating dementia and offer hope to people with dementia and their carers through our pioneering research.

Our new research strategy marks a renewed drive towards improving the lives of people with dementia now and in the future. Our commitment to funding the very best research, focusing on some critical areas, supporting new drug discovery and funding strategic projects will see us lead the charge towards the next research breakthrough.

We are also committed to improving awareness of the latest scientific developments and increasing engagement in dementia research.

Through all this and more, we are dedicated to defeating dementia.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The growing burden of dementia is still not matched with a proportionate level of research funding from the UK government. Alzheimer's Research UK is currently funding over £20m of cutting edge research projects across leading UK institutions - but we cannot meet the challenge alone. We welcome recent increases in funding, but we urge the government to continue to increase their commitment to dementia research beyond current policy to help find effective treatments.

2. Actions

  • Increase Research Spending and Support New 37 Projects

    Our record £4.3 million investment launches our new strategy to increase our research spending and supports 37 new projects including pioneering work on diagnosis using brain scans, further research on unravelling the genetics of the disease, and research into biomarkers which play a crucial role in diagnosis and understanding disease progression.  

    Status:
    Completed

    2013 - Third Quarter Update

    This year Alzheimer’s Research UK has made our largest ever commitment to new research totalling £5.4m for 52 new projects. This covers a range of projects, including major grants, research fellowships and PHDs. This takes our current total commitment to over £20m for around 140 projects.

    As part of our drive to accelerate progress in dementia research, we have been reviewing our research strategy. Our new Research Strategy for 2012-2015 aims to commit 25% of our annual budget for new grants in priority areas. We will be looking for projects which address key gaps in knowledge and research questions of particular importance.

    2013 - First Quarter Update

    In February 2013, Alzheimer's Research UK took to Westminster to launch our new Research Strategy. Supported by the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and Shadow Chancellor, Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, the event was attended by well over 100 people and praised by the Secretary of State for Health who described it as “an important step towards our ambition to make the UK a global leader in dementia research”.

    Our new strategy will support efforts to identify the earliest signs of disease and support the crucial early development of potential drug treatments. There will also be a new emphasis on joining academic research teams together with the pharmaceutical industry, to improve the transition of early stage results into practical pharmaceutical application.

    With dementia recognised as one of the greatest medical challenges of our time, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Strategy will push forward the search for a scientific solution.

    2012 - Second Quarter Update

    Over 250 dementia scientists from around the world gathered in Birmingham on 27 – 28 March for our 13th Annual Network Conference to share the latest evidence on a wide range of research topics. The event included talks from leading UK based scientists on midlife risk reduction and the importance of early life cognition in understanding cognitive ageing. 

  • Fund Laboratory and Clinical Research

    We will continue to fund the best laboratory and clinical research put forward to us, with a marked increase in calls for grant applications and specific funding streams to boost capacity in important areas. 

    Status:
    Completed

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    As part of our pledge to help boost capacity, we have continued to invest in the different career stages for dementia researchers. In the past year, we have awarded six PhD Scholarships and five Fellowships to the tune of over £1.7m. These include a junior fellow, two travelling research fellows to US and two senior fellows.

    2012 - Second Quarter Update

    So far in 2012, we have awarded almost £1m of new grants. At our Scientific Advisory Board meeting in January, we awarded 14 new grants, including six PhD Scholarships and five Pilot Projects Grants. These new projects cover a wide range of important topics including MRI imaging of Alzheimer’s, understanding the role of the immune system in Alzheimer’s, investigating how amyloid may contribute to Parkinson’s dementia and unravelling the genetics of frontotemporal dementia.

  • Secure more proportionate Share of Government Funding

    We will continue to work with the government to stress the need for dementia research and to secure a more proportionate share of funding - for example through the Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia Research.

    Status:
    Completed

    2013 - Second Quarter Update

    In May 2013, Alzheimer's Research UK welcomed the one year review of the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge.

    Through the Challenge, the government committed to double funding available to £66m. This move has been kick-started by more than £22 million of new funding going to 21 clinical and applied health research projects through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The Medical Research Council (MRC) has also invested £4.5m in new programmes seeking to evaluate the use of existing drugs to see whether they will benefit people with dementia.

    We are pleased to see government funds for research are beginning to come through, and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s own record investment of £20m in pioneering projects are collectively helping to equip our scientists with the means to find answers. We will continue to make the case for increasing funding in this area as we look forward.

    2012 - Third Quarter Update

    Alzheimer’s Research UK is now a member of the Research Champion Group which has been set up to deliver the Prime Minister’s ‘Dementia Challenge’. The group met in June 2012 to discuss delivery of key commitments and will report back on progress this autumn. Our position on this group enables us to influence policy in this area.

    2012 - Second Quarter Update

    In March 2012, Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomed the Prime Minister’s ‘Dementia Challenge’. This included an important section on ‘Better research’ which pledged to double dementia research funding by 2015 and a number of key commitments. The ‘Better Research Champion Group’ will be led by the existing Ministerial Advisory Group on Dementia Research (MAGDR) of which Alzheimer’s Research UK is a member. Prior to the announcement, Alzheimer’s Research UK worked with the Department of Health and Number 10 to discuss ideas for prioritising dementia research.

    2012 - First Quarter Update

    At a very well-attended launch at the House of Commons, the report Defeating Dementia was warmly welcomed by Professor Alistair Burns, the National Clinical Director for Dementia Research. The large number of attendees included Parliamentarians, industry and other research funders, as well as a significant number of research scientists and people with experience of dementia from different parts of the UK.

    Click here to download the report from our website

  • Better Understand Research Capacity

    We will be undertaking a project working with scientists in our network to better understand research capacity in the field looking at encouraging more people into this area.

    Status:
    Completed

    2012 - Third Quarter Update

    As part of ongoing work to improve participation in research, we are working with DENDRON to develop new ways to promote dementia research. The aim is to make research easier to understand and for people to get involved. A new dementia research portal is also due to go live in September 2012 following work between ourselves, DENDRON and the Alzheimer’s Society.

    2012 - Second Quarter Update

    Not addressed in report

    2012 - First Quarter Update

    On 25 January 2012, Alzheimer’s Research UK launched its report Defeating Dementia.

    This takes a detailed look at research capacity in the UK dementia field –capacity not only refers to the number of researchers working in the field, but also our ability to take new scientific discoveries forward and capitalise on our research strengths. The report shows that despite the fact that dementia costs the UK economy more than cancer and heart disease combined, for every researcher working on dementia, there are around 6 working on cancer. However, despite low capacity, the quality of UK dementia research is world class and the UK is a global leader in the field.

    The second half of the report draws on feedback from 120 research scientists working on dementia, with their views on how the UK can improve its research capacity to help the field achieve even more. Based on this evidence, the report makes 14 recommendations for Government and relevant research funders. Above all, it calls for a National Dementia Research Strategy with long-term, protected funding. It also looks at other 16 barriers to progress, including limited research career pathways and regulatory issues.

  • New Website

    In 2011, we will be able to provide even more information on a new website for people with dementia and their carers to improve understanding and access to information. 

    Status:
    Completed

    2012 - Second Quarter Update

    Alzheimer’s Research UK continues to deliver on actions arising from the MAGDR route map. Working with the Alzheimer’s Society and DENDRON, we are currently working towards the soft launch of a new dementia research portal this summer.

  • Fund the best biomedical research and increase spend annually

    Since the DAA started, Alzheimer’s Research UK introduced a new strategy and set ambitious targets to increase our research funding for the best biomedical projects to help defeat dementia.  Our grants span all areas of dementia research and include PhD studentships and pilot projects right through to Fellows and major projects, as well as continued support for the brains for dementia research project.

    Status:
    Being implemented
  • New strategic dementia research projects to accelerate promising treatments

    Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading a number of strategic projects that will push forward the search for new treatments. Our recently-launched Dementia Consortium is a £3m partnership between Alzheimer’s Research UK, Eli Lilly, Eisai and MRC-Technology focussing on new drug targets in neurodegeneration. We have also opened launched a new Drug Discovery Alliance in three UK funded Universities - Oxford, Cambridge and UCL.

    Status:
    Completed
  • Keep pressure on government to increase funding and deliver major policy commitments

    The Prime Minister introduced the Dementia Challenge in 2012 and within this, announced a pledge to increase funding to £66m by 2015. Whilst a major step forward, we want funding to increase further and faster to accelerate progress in research and bring benefits to people sooner.  As we look beyond 2015, we are calling for a doubling of funding every five years to reflect the growing challenge dementia poses and bring it in line with other major disease areas. In December 2013, the G8 pledged to double funding again by 2025. This is a further signal that this government is taking the dementia challenge seriously, but we will continue to make the case to bring this funding forward to continue the momentum we’ve seen in recent years. We will be making a series of additional policy calls in the run up to the 2015 general election.

    Status:
    Being implemented
  • Continue to raise awareness of importance of dementia research

    In 2013 we launched a new blog - www.dementiablog.org. Creating an outlet for people to talk about research and their experiences of dementia has proved a real hit. The first blog was from Sir Terry Pratchett talking about his take on living with dementia and the faith he places in scientists to find the answers. The blog along with a greater push on the use of social media has helped us to reach new audiences and we will continue to use these tools as a way of highlighting the importance of research. We also continue to work with our fantastic supporters on the ground who are raising money through amazing fundraising initiatives and helping us to campaign for research across the country. 

    Status:
    Delivery
  • Grow ARUK campaigners network

    Alzheimer's Research UK launched a new campaigners network in summer 2014. Since then, over 400 people have signed up to help raise awareness of dementia research amongst policymakers. We will continue to grow this network and engage supporters of dementia research in our political activity. Go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/campaigners

    Status:
    Delivery