Joining forces for the UK’s biggest endeavour in dementia research

Today we are pleased to announce a major new commitment for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Over the next 10 years, the charity will invest £50m into the UK Dementia Research Institute – becoming a founding partner in the Government-backed project, which will bring together hundreds of scientists in a dedicated effort to improve the lives of people with dementia.

As part of our commitment, we will also bring significant additional benefits by creating links with our existing research initiatives such as the Drug Discovery Alliance, providing a clear route for translating breakthroughs from the Institute into potential new treatments.

Alongside our investment, the Institute will also receive £50m from Alzheimer’s Society, in addition to £150m already pledged by the UK Government – bringing the total commitment to over a quarter of a billion pounds. It’s the biggest investment we’ve ever made in a single research initiative in the charity’s history, and the largest joint effort the UK has ever seen for dementia research.

What is the UK Dementia Research Institute?

Plans to develop the Institute were first announced by the Prime Minister last autumn, when it was revealed that up to £150m of funding would be made available for the initiative. With its development led by the Medical Research Council, the project will unite world-leading expertise in biomedical, translational, care and public health research. With a focus on innovative discovery science aimed at uncovering the biological mechanisms that lead to dementia, work at the Institute will be used to drive treatment development and improved diagnosis, as well as new approaches to care provision and prevention.

Operating on a ‘hub and centres’ model, with a central hub connected to regional centres of dementia research excellence, it’s expected that the Institute will be up and running by 2020. This important development will play a major part in fulfilling the vision laid out in the Prime Minister’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia, and today’s announcement represents the first moves to put that plan into action.

A long-term strategy

The establishment of the Institute is the biggest undertaking in dementia research ever to happen in the UK, but if you’ve been following our news over the last few years you’ll know that we’re already supporting some significant research initiatives of our own. For Alzheimer’s Research UK, being part of this project offers an opportunity to align those initiatives with the work of the Institute, and to ensure that we build on the momentum that has already been created by joining up research efforts across the UK.

Our Drug Discovery Alliance, along with the Dementia Consortium, will enable promising breakthroughs made at the Institute to be fed directly into the development of new treatments for dementia. In addition, our Research Network – which currently unites over 1,000 dementia scientists – will provide a unique platform to help boost the number of researchers working on this important challenge. Alongside strategic initiatives such as these and our grant schemes, our £50m investment in the Institute forms a key part of our long-term strategy to defeat dementia.

Next steps

Work will now get under way to set this project in motion, with the first steps to include recruitment of a Director to lead this work and a competitive process to decide on the locations for the Institute’s hub and connecting centres. We are excited about the potential for the Institute to deliver real change for people with dementia; research has made some great strides in recent years but there is still a big task ahead of us.

Most importantly, we can’t do any of this without you. It’s thanks to our growing army of supporters that we’re now funding more research than ever before in our history – we hope you’ll join us as we embark on this next major step in our journey towards making breakthroughs possible.


  1. JOHN ALLEN on 1st May 2016 at 9:20 am

    Excellent news…..keep up the good work!

  2. Margaret adair on 1st May 2016 at 9:24 am

    My mum and dad have dementia I care for the two off them who I love dearly , I work part time so i can quality time with my parents x

  3. Sylvia Lynch on 1st May 2016 at 11:27 am

    This y great news keep up the good work!

  4. Wesley Loane on 1st May 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Fantastic steps forward. Congratulations in getting so much to work with. More power to your elbow!!!
    Chaplain to MHA Home focusing in Dementia

  5. Linda Frape on 1st May 2016 at 1:36 pm

    I am so pleased about this new project, and i’m sure in yrs to come this will have a massive impact, to find a cure for this desease,
    Absolutely fantastic, keep up the brilliant Work you are so committed to.

  6. Keith Bennett on 1st May 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Both my wife. and her sister died from this dreadful disease.I just hope that

    this project finds the cure that much quicker. Keep up the good work.

  7. gemma on 1st May 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Came across this as I am currently trying to identify a research project to conduct as part of my health psychology masters. (Any ideas welcome) Working as an activity therapist and befriending for the Alzhiemers society has given me a real insight into how much dementia effects people and their family and care givers. So pleased to read that money is finally being invested into this.

  8. Jane Patchett on 2nd May 2016 at 7:22 am

    My parents and mother in law died as a result of Alzheimer’s. It is a terrible disease for sufferers and carers alike.

    I hope with this funding a cure or solution will be found to prevent further suffering in the future from all aspects of care.

  9. Ray Broomfield on 2nd May 2016 at 9:06 am

    Great news all round so has they say every little helps so I will keep giving my talks in aid of Alzheimer’s Research

  10. Jennifer Campbell RD on 3rd May 2016 at 7:05 am

    About time too many have suffered. Big D we are coming to get you!!! And we will!

  11. Ian Bradford on 4th June 2016 at 8:45 am

    Great news, money is needed at grass root levels,now.

    All the Dementia Friends initiative money has now gone! with nothing to replace it except goodwill.

    Expecting volunteers to continue to operate without proper professional guidance and support in such a technical field is not working.

    The work is immense and overwhelming, we are losing very talented individuals frustrated at not being able to help because of a lack of funding to those who are trying to make a difference.
    Local dementia groups are not able to run on the same lines as other popular charities.

    It is far to specialised. A coffee morning, meet and share just will not do! Carers care 24/7

    Lets do something before we lose so many good keen and talented people.

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About the author

Hilary Evans

Hilary is Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is a charity working at a global level towards a world where people are free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. The organisation’s aim is to raise awareness of the diseases that cause dementia, to increase dementia research funding and improve the environment for dementia scientists in the UK and internationally.