Maximising the UK Dementia Research Moonshot for people affected by dementia

Find out what the ‘Dementia Moonshot’ is, and our five priorities to ensure the current government makes the most of the funds they’re pledging towards dementia research.

What is the Dementia Moonshot?

As part of the Conservative government's election manifesto, they pledged to double dementia research spending over the next decade through the delivery of a 'Dementia Moonshot'.

In practice, this should mean an extra £800 million over ten years for dementia research.

This should be a major step in the right direction. We now need to ensure these funds are well spent.

Dementia is one of the greatest health challenges facing society, both in the UK and around the world.

Of the top ten causes of death, dementia is the only one that can’t be cured, stopped or even slowed down.

By 2040, it is estimated dementia will cost the UK economy £94.1 billion. 

What is Alzheimer's Society calling for?

Today, we’ve written to every MP in the UK to set out key priorities that the government’s Dementia Moonshot must include to make the biggest difference for people affected by dementia. 

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for a broad approach to research. We must fund research that moves us towards potentially life-changing treatments and diagnostics of the future.

But we must also address the challenges people living with dementia and those who care for them face today so they can live better with the condition as it progresses.

We have established five priorities where the government’s Dementia Moonshot investment can make the biggest difference for people affected by dementia, now and in the future:

1. A National Network of Excellence for Dementia Care Research

Funding to create an internationally recognised network of Dementia Care Excellence. The network will drive the development and sharing of new innovative ways to provide care and support to people with dementia.

2. Transforming care through technology

Dedicated funds to support the design and use of technologies that enable better prevention, diagnosis, management and care of the dementia. 

3. Prioritising prevention and public health

Investment in prevention research and behaviour change that will bring greater understanding and awareness of dementia risk reduction approaches, reducing the number of people developing dementia in the future. 

4. Funds to develop new treatments and a cure

Additional investment for fundamental brain research, including as part of the UK Dementia Research Institute, to understand the causes of dementia towards new targeted treatments and forms of diagnostics.

5. Investment to build capacity in dementia research

Support for clinicians, PhD students and people at the early stages of their career to grow the dementia research field, ensuring the best minds are committed to dementia research. 

Striking the balance 

These ambitious plans address the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of dementia and have the potential to impact the disease at all stages.

The attention given to dementia now is more than ever before. Alzheimer’s Society will work to make sure that this time, we change the course of dementia forever.

Fiona Carragher, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'There are things to be positive about in dementia care and thanks to research and a commitment to implement findings some things are improving. But there’s still a long way to go to achieve the level of care people living with dementia deserve. 

'The government’s ‘Dementia Moonshot’ is a big step forward. However, it’s crucial that they allocate the funding appropriately.'

'Research towards a biomedical cure is important but, at the same time, so is addressing the needs of people with dementia today and the care they require from the NHS and social care. 

'Great progress has been made on care and, with more research, we can build on that work, improving the lives of people living with dementia and decreasing the cost of care to the NHS. To do this, we need to increase the number of clinical research academies and researchers but that can only be done if the government allocates funds accordingly.

'It is crucial that the government not only work on developing effective treatments and finding a cure, but, also, ensuring the funding is there to continue to explore ways we can help individuals with dementia live well.

'We owe it to the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK to give them the best care possible, so they can have the highest quality of life right now.'

Research and the social care crisis 

Today, there is a crisis in dementia care. Alzheimer’s Society is campaigning for more funding for social care to improve the lives of people with dementia. 

Research is a crucial part of this and has already driven improvements in people’s lives.

  • Dementia diagnosis rate has doubled from 33 per cent to 66 per cent since 2017.
  • The use of harmful anti-psychotics in people with dementia has halved.
  • More people are prescribed anti-dementia medications.
  • We have discovered new ways of providing support for people with dementia and their families that can improve quality of life and save money for the health care system. 

Although progress has been made, research focusing on health and social care challenges is lacking and the positive results we have seen already must be implemented across the country. 

The first Dementia Care Research Summit 

In Leeds today, Alzheimer’s Society, the National Institute of Health Research and Economic and Social Research Council are bringing together nearly one hundred top researchers, clinicians and experts in dementia care to set out the blueprint for care research.

This is just one of a number of events we are collaborating on to ensure our plans are validated by experts, for the greatest impact for people affected by dementia. 

What research are we funding?

Alzheimer's Society is the largest charity funder of dementia care research that is changing live.  It aims to understand the underlying causes of the condition, improve diagnosis and care, identifying ways to prevent dementia and search for a cure.

What we are funding
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