£7.5 million collaboration with NIHR to fund early career researchers in dementia

Alzheimer’s Society and NIHR announce a £7.5 million partnership to provide 45 brand new post-doctoral positions in dementia for NIHR Applied Research Collaborations.

Early career researcher processing some samples

Alzheimer’s Society is pleased to announce an exciting new collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) –  a government funded organisation which funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research. 

Together the National Institute for Health and Care Research and Alzheimer’s Society are investing £7.5m to support early career researchers (ECRs) in dementia. This important investment will fund 45 brand new post-doctoral positions to help develop the best and brightest researchers in the field of dementia. 

Early career researchers represent the lifeblood of dementia research, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives. As they take roles with fixed-term contracts, they are the most vulnerable to reductions in funding. This job instability has in part led to a decrease in the number of early career researchers in dementia research, with many leaving for other roles.

To improve care, diagnosis and treatment options for people living with dementia, it’s vital that there are as many researchers as possible taking on dementia from every angle.

With more researchers able to have long, successful careers in dementia research we will accelerate progress towards the life-changing discoveries that will benefit people living with dementia. This is why Alzheimer’s Society is proudly committed to investing in early career researchers, to develop the dementia research leaders of the future. 

Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: 

We’re delighted to be teaming up with the NIHR to invest in the development of early career researchers who will become the future leaders in their field, and who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to dementia research. 

'Dementia can be devastating for many, and we estimate that 1 million people in the UK will have the condition by 2025. Only through research will we be able to better understand what causes dementia and make the lifechanging breakthroughs that will help people with the condition live well, and eventually lead to a cure.

'Alzheimer's Society has funded research for over 30 years, playing a key role in some of the biggest dementia developments, leading to lifechanging impact for people affected by the condition.

'Through this partnership with the NIHR we are combining the lived experience of people with dementia, with expertise from a leading specialist in translational research to fund innovative research, which will pave the way for better treatments and care, as well as hope for the future. 

'Partnerships like this one are just the start. The Government must honour their promise to double dementia funding, to help restore momentum in dementia research, following disruptions caused by the pandemic. Together we can create a better and fairer future for everyone affected by dementia.'

The early career researcher positions that this funding will provide will be within the 15 NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) across England. These ARCs are networks made up of NHS providers, universities, charities and local authorities that are geared towards translational health and care research.

With the collaboration of many different organisations, these ARC networks play a crucial role in carrying out the research that is most needed by local people and has the biggest impact nationally.

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said:

We want to improve the lives of people with dementia, and those caring for them, through innovative research that tackles a range of challenges around this disease.

'This new funding taps into the up-and-coming talent in the NIHR ecosystem, supporting fledgling dementia researchers from a range of disciplines to become the chief investigators of the future and building a solid foundation for the next decades of dementia research.'

The early career researchers funded by this initiative will be carrying out cutting edge translational research in some of the best facilities in England. Investments like this Alzheimer’s Society’s collaboration with the NIHR will not only fund innovative, ground-breaking new dementia research but will also springboard the careers of researchers who will go on to spend their working lives solving the biggest challenges that people living with dementia face. 

More information about the posts will be available in the coming weeks on the website of NIHR ARC Wessex.

 

Northern Ireland and Wales

Whilst the main initiative only covers England, Alzheimer’s Society is also recruiting one fellow from Northern Ireland and one from Wales to join the wider cohort. If you are interested in applying, email [email protected]

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