Prime Minister's dementia challenge: More investment in research

David Cameron giving a speech about the dementia challenge

The government gets behind dementia research

As part of the dementia challenge announced by the Prime Minister recently, which aims to improve the care of people with dementia, the government committed increased funding for dementia research in the UK.

It has committed to more than doubling government spending, from £26.6 million in 2009/10, to an estimated £66.3 million in 2014/15.

The increase in spending on research by the government is very welcome. It comes at a time when increasing the investment in our Research programme is a priority for Alzheimer's Society, and we are moving into a position to be able to contribute more to dementia research within the UK.

We still need further investment in dementia research if we are to develop understanding of the underlying causes of dementia, develop better treatments in the future, and develop ways to provide better care for the people affected by dementia now. However, the Prime Minister's dementia challenge is very welcome step in the right direction.

Where will the money be spent?

There will be an increase in the budgets of bodies that award research grants such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council (MRC), and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for research into dementia at institutions across the UK.

In addition to this, there are specific projects that will receive funding. Some of these designated projects have already been announced; for example, to fund the research selected following the NIHR's dementia-themed call for research applications, which we supported last year. The successful projects will be announced soon.

Money will be made available to fund a specific aspect of the UK Biobank. The MRC will fund the brain scanning of a subset of the participants, so that additional information with regards to brain structures and the development of dementia can be collected and analysed alongside the information that will be collected from all participants.

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