After a challenging year, Cherie Nyota, Research Engagement Officer, shares how our Research Network is looking forward to welcoming new volunteers.
Involving a diverse range of people affected by dementia in research is one of my biggest aims. We want people from all backgrounds to know how they can take part, and we have a wonderful group of volunteers who dedicate their time to support dementia research at Alzheimer’s Society – the Research Network.
All our Research Network volunteers have a personal connection to dementia, whether as carers, former carers or people living with dementia.
Their involvement ensures that the research we fund is relevant and credible, and could ultimately transform the lives of everyone affected by dementia.
Network volunteers review every application for research funding we receive, guiding our funding decisions alongside expert researchers.
Some monitor the research that we fund too, meeting with researchers once a year to review each project’s progress.
Importantly, this also gives researchers a chance to hear more about our volunteers’ own experiences of dementia.
Adjust and focus
Due to the pandemic, we were forced to pause our research funding programme and the Research Network’s usual activities in 2020.
We quickly adjusted and focused our energy on how we could still support our volunteers and researchers. Online meetings were brand new to many volunteers, but we all learnt to navigate them and Zoom soon became our best friend!
Online Research Network meetings gave more volunteers than ever before the opportunity to share their experiences of involvement in research projects with each other.
We also hosted regular ‘Dementia Research Uncovered’ webinars, with researchers presenting their projects and asking for feedback and advice from network volunteers.
We’ll continue to incorporate these into how we work, with monthly online meetings and webinars. Since our funding programme recently reopened, our volunteers are now busy reviewing the latest funding applications submitted by researchers.
We are also delighted to offer the opportunity for more people affected by dementia to join our Research Network. To ensure that dementia research is truly representative of our diverse society, researchers need to connect with people with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.
We’d love to hear from people interested in joining the Research Network who have a dementia diagnosis or who are carers or former carers of people with dementia.
And, since great research involves people affected by dementia from all backgrounds, we particularly want to include people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic and LGBTQ+ communities within this.
Join the Research Network
Find out more and apply to join our Research Network.