Our research strategy

Our focus is to accelerate the ‘bench-to-bedside’ journey: our funding seeks to translate scientific findings into patient benefit as rapidly as possible.

We fund the very best biomedical research, from basic to clinical, to build our understanding of the causes of dementia and to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Social or carer-focussed research falls outside of our remit.

Our mission is to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025, but our long term vision is a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK strives to support research that will improve the lives of people living with dementia now and in years to come, by focusing on the four goals below, and by ensuring that there is a pipeline of potential treatments and interventions for everyone affected by dementia in the future.

We focus our efforts on four key goals:

Understand:

Increasing knowledge and understanding of the diseases that cause dementia.

Diagnose:

Improving diagnosis of dementia.

Reduce Risk:

Reducing the risk of developing dementia.

Treat:

Developing treatments, ensuring they get to patients and ultimately preventing dementia.

We have built a reputation as a flexible and responsive funder, committed to supporting the best and most innovative research from across the field. We encourage applications that:

  • address fundamental gaps in our knowledge of disease processes
  • have a translational path or vision
  • are collaborative and transparent
  • ensure reagents and data are shared with the scientific community.

Our funding is directed towards both translating scientific discovery into patient benefit and in growing the research base.

A significant proportion of our funding is allocated towards response-mode applications. We offer a large number of different grant schemes through which you can apply for funding. Please see the Grant schemes page for more information. We are in the process of updating our priority areas for response-mode funding.

Strategic Initiatives

In addition, we have developed and launched a number of strategic initiatives that address fundamental gaps in our knowledge and drive us towards achieving our mission. These include:

  • Creating a world-leading research institute to revolutionise discovery science. As a founding partner in the UK Dementia Research Institute alongside the Medical Research Council and Alzheimer’s Society, we’re making a long-term investment in the people and ideas that will inspire future treatments.
  • Investing in our landmark Drug Discovery Alliance and uniting academic researchers with dedicated drug discovery scientists in three of the UK’s leading universities for dementia research – Cambridge, Oxford and University College London.
  • Investing in a network of dementia scientists through our unique Research Network linking over 2,000 researchers from 43 UK institutions.
  • Founding the Dementia Consortium which pulls together funding and expertise from charity and the pharmaceutical industry to help academic scientists across the world to speed up target validation and early drug discovery.
  • Spearheading research to transform our understanding of dementia risk, challenging four teams to tackle research questions through our Prevention and Risk Reduction Fund.
  • Studying how a person’s risk is shaped across their entire lifespan by funding the Insight 46 study. The study is following 500 people all born in the same week in 1946 who have contributed to research their whole lives.
  • Supporting innovative approaches to leverage new funding for treatment research, like the Dementia Discovery Fund – an investment fund that’s already backing promising companies with cutting-edge approaches to treatments.
  • Co-funding Brains for Dementia Research with Alzheimer’s Society, a clinical cohort of over 3,000 volunteers consented to donate their brains for research, and a network of brain branks across the UK.
  • Establishing the Stem Cell Research Centre with support from the Alborada Trust, a collaboration between Cambridge and UCL researchers to use patient-derived skin cells to generate a neuronal drug screening platform.

You can read more about our organisational strategy here.