Success for Dementia Research Leaders programme

Care and cure magazine - Summer 2015

Our programme to build up the number of people conducting research into dementia has resulted in a record number of new fellows being funded. The initiative has also been shortlisted for a prestigiouscharity award

In January 2014 we launched our innovativeDementia Research Leaders programme to better support early career researchers with skills and training, more research funding and opportunities that will help them to become the dementia research leaders of the future. 

There are currently six times as many researchers working in cancer as in dementia. To make the progress in dementia that we so desperately need, we need to make sure that more researchers are supported to work in dementia, that they are the best, and that the best stay in the field. 

In our latest round of grant applications we have funded 10 new fellowships, more than ever before. Among these is Dr Claire Garwood from the University of Sheffield, who has been awarded a junior fellowship to study the effect of insulin on brain cells known as astrocytes. Dr Garwood is a good example of our commitment to supporting researchers through their early careers, as we previously funded her as a PhD student

'For me the funding provided by Alzheimer's Society has been invaluable; the first step of my research career, my PhD, was funded by the Society. This enabled me to develop a research project that revealed some significant insights into the involvement of astrocytes in the disease, an area in which I have continued to work since gaining my PhD,' said Dr Garwood. 

'The next key step for a junior researcher like me is to secure their own funding so that we can develop an independent research career in our specialised research area. Thejunior fellowship awarded to me by the Alzheimer's Society means that I am now able to do this. 

'I can continue to use and develop the expertise and knowledge I have already gained to work towards my aim of developing my own research group. It also means that my expertise is retained within this important research area.'

The Dementia Research Leaders programme has been shortlisted in this year's Charity Awards. The Charity Awards, organised by Civil Society Media, recognise excellence within the charity sector across 10 categories and winners will be announced on 18 June. 

'We're delighted that our Dementia Research Leaders programme has been shortlisted to receive a prestigious Charity Award. Supporting talented individuals to develop a career in dementia research is a core priority for Alzheimer's Society, bringing us a step closer to achieving our vision of a world without dementia,' said Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society. 

Tania Mason, Group Editor at Civil Society Media, said, 'We had an almost record number of entries this year - just four fewer than our all-time high in 2011 - and the standard was excellent, so Alzheimer's Society should be very proud to have made the shortlist. 

'For 16 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through. We wish Alzheimer's Society all the very best of luck on the night.'