Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, has appointed Professor Martin Rossor (Clinical Neurology, UCL) as the new NIHR National Director for Dementia Research.
This new post will provide the leadership needed to facilitate and support the Department of Health’s research response to commitments under the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and the G8 Dementia Summit. This will involve activity across NIHR activity as well as work with single components of NIHR. Other work will involve engagement with external stakeholders, such as NHS England, research charities and other research funders, including industry. Martin will draw on the expertise of the Evington Group, and work with the Dementia Innovation Envoy.
Professor Rossor will work closely with staff in the DH R&D Directorate, with the NIHR Clinical Research Network, particularly Jonathan Sheffield and Ian McKeith, and with other NIHR research infrastructure, especially Simon Lovestone and the NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration, as well as Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia.
When the new structure for the NIHR Clinical Research Network comes into place in April, Martin will step back from his current role as Director of DeNDRoN, but will continue to work closely with the Dementias and Neurodegeneration (DeNDRoN) and Neurological Disorders specialties.
The initial focus of effort will be on:
1. International Action Plan: Contributing to the development of an international action plan for research, which will account for the current state of science and promote global efforts to maintain brain health and find therapies for dementia.
2. Championing research: Working with clinical academics and the NHS.
3. Patients and their data: Improving recruitment of patients into research through building on the NHS Constitution pledge to inform patients about opportunities to participate in research and engaging the NHS in the implementation of ‘Join Dementia Research’ (formerly known as RAFT - the Recruitment & Feasibility Tool – a database for patients to register their interest in dementia research).
4. Facilitating clinical research: Working with the Translational Research Collaboration and the NIHR Clinical Research Network towards achieving common research platforms; working within current frameworks for consent and use of data to promote sharing of data from existing research.
5. Living Well with Dementia: Facilitating research to support living well with dementia initiatives and identifying effective interventions, in the clinic, in the nursing home, and in everyday life.
6. Building research capacity and addressing other barriers to research progress.
The responsibility for the research and infrastructure funded by NIHR will remain with individuals leading the research and the relevant NIHR initiatives.
Martin will be supported by a small staff.