Fuelling the Moonshot: Unleashing the UK’s potential through dementia research

Following the Government’s commitment to double dementia research funding, this 2021 report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia highlights the current state of dementia research in the UK. The group suggest which areas of research the Government should prioritise for any additional funding. 

At the 2019 General Election, the Government committed to implement a ‘Dementia Moonshot’ that would double dementia funding from £83m a year to £166m a year over the next ten years. Nearly 18 months on, this promise was yet to be realised.

As such, the APPG held an inquiry to investigate the current state of dementia research in the UK. The group made the case for the Government to bring forward the Dementia Moonshot, and suggest which areas of research should be prioritised with any of this additional funding. 

The APPG’s report details the findings of the Group’s inquiry into dementia research and what impact the Government’s commitment to funding a ‘Dementia Moonshot’ could have. During the inquiry, the Group heard from a wide range of stakeholders to better understand the issues presently faced by the sector and where there are opportunities to cement the UK’s status in the field of dementia research.

Read the 2021 APPG report in full

Delivering the Moonshot

The report’s central recommendation is for the Government to deliver on its manifesto commitment and fund the Dementia Moonshot as soon as possible, working with stakeholders to establish a timetable for this funding to be brought forward.

The UK has seen increased investment for dementia research over the past decade. However, to truly revolutionise how people with dementia are diagnosed, treated medically, supported, and cared for, we cannot stop there. We must continue to build on this past success.

As well as calling on the Government to deliver the Dementia Moonshot, the report makes 7 more recommendations, including to direct funding towards the development of novel methods for early diagnosis; to expand Alzheimer’s Society’s Centres of Excellence model; and to establish a specific fund to support both clinical and preclinical postdoctoral research positions and talent retention in dementia research.

Watch back the inquiry

The inquiry included four sessions to hear from expert individuals and organisations in the field through oral evidence sessions. It also accepted written evidence that supported the production of the Group’s final report.

Session 1: Introductory session (14 April 2021)

This session included panellists Professor Bart de Strooper (UK Dementia Research Institute), Professor Martin Rossor (National Director of Dementia Research), David Thomas (Head of Policy at Alzheimer's Research UK) and Jane Ward (Alzheimer's Society Research Network volunteer).

Watch  a video of session 1 
Read a summary of session 1 (PDF)

Session 2: Focusing on early detection and care research (29 April 2021)

Our own Director of Research and Influencing, Fiona Carragher, Professor John O'Brien (University of Cambridge), Professor Dame Louise Robinson (Newcastle University) and Professor David Sharp (UK Dementia Research Institute) gave evidence.

Watch a video of session 2 (with transcript)

Session 3: Focusing on dementia prevention (20 May 2021)

In this session we heard from Professor Gill Livingston (University College London), Professor Craig Ritchie (University of Edinburgh), Professor Willie Stewart ( University of Glasgow), and former professional rugby player and commentator Ben Kay, who is a participant in the PREVENT research program.

Watch a video of session 3 (with transcript)

Session 4: Focusing on early career dementia researchers (8 June 2021)

The final session's panellists were Dr Paresh Malholtra (Imperial College London), Dr Sarah Ryan (University of Manchester) Professor Selina Wray (University College London), and Dr Jennifer Bute, a former GP who is living with dementia.

Watch a video of session 4 (with transcript)

Read the 2021 APPG report

This report makes a number of recommendations to national Government to ensure it delivers on its manifesto commitment to fund the Dementia Moonshot as soon as possible. This would create meaningful change for people affected by dementia.

Download and read