Director announced to lead landmark UK Dementia Research Institute

The Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) has today (Wednesday 14 December) been named as Professor Bart De Strooper from the University of Leuven in Belgium

Professor De Strooper will lead the national Institute’s ‘Hub’ at University College London (UCL) recognised for its world-class dementia research and state-of-the-art facilities, which will closely link to a number of, yet to be announced, centres across the UK.

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A quarter of a billion pounds has been pledged towards the UK’s first ever DRI. In partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, the pledge marks one of the single biggest financial commitments to dementia research in the history of both charities.

Dementia is now our biggest killer and costs the UK economy more than cancer and heart disease. This landmark announcement comes at a time when it is more urgent than ever to accelerate efforts into dementia research.  

The Institute will be catalytic in the UK’s research efforts to diagnose, treat, care for and prevent dementia. It will transform dementia research by connecting and engaging hundreds of researchers working across different disciplines, including those outside of the field of dementia, and attracting leading experts from around the UK and the world.

Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK’s involvement will be essential in connecting the work of researchers and medical professionals with the experiences of people living with dementia, transforming research findings into tangible change.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“We’re incredibly excited about what Professor De Strooper will bring to the DRI as the new Director given his wealth of experience and bold vision. People affected by dementia were at the heart of the decision to put him in post and are very optimistic about this world-leading Institute that will transform the treatment, care and prevention of dementia.”

'The Dementia Research Institute fortifies the UK as a global leader in dementia research. UCL will provide an excellent central hub while also reaching out to, and working with, other universities across the country and the globe. With advancements in dementia so desperately needed this dynamic, collaborative approach will give a new lease of life to an area of study that has been underfunded for far too long. 

'There have been no new treatments for dementia for over a decade, and hundreds of thousands of people are not receiving the care and support they deserve. We will work with others to ensure that the Institute will help overcome this travesty and deliver a brighter future for people affected by dementia.'

  • Read our blog post about the new Director here, and find out how people affected by dementia were involved in the creation and running of the Institute from the outset.