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Dementias Portfolio Development Group


Our mission

The Dementias Portfolio Development Group (PDG) is composed of experienced researchers from diverse disciplines and lay members within the dementia field that promote the development of innovative ideas into funded research.

The remit, structure and governance of the Dementias PDG are somewhat similar to their predecessor, the Clinical Studies Groups. Broadly, it includes identifying research gaps as well as supporting Writing Groups to formulate and prepare grant applications for clinical studies and health and social care research; including research conducted outside of NHS settings.


The Dementias PDG meets twice yearly, face to face, with additional subgroups and working parties established as required. These are coordinated by the Office of the National Director for Dementia Research, Professor Martin Rossor, in alignment with the Clinical Research Network, and funded by the NIHR and medical research charities.

Who we are

Chair: Chris Fox, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, University of East Anglia & Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust


Alistair Burns, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Vice Dean for the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester

Barbara Woodward-Carlton, lay member, has been involved with research into dementia since 1999 when Alzheimer's Society launched the Research Network. Her extensive experience includes setting research priorities, reviewing applications, sitting on grant panels and steering groups and taking in part in consultations and focus groups among others.

Craig Ritchie, Chair of the Psychiatry of Ageing and Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention, University of Edinburgh

David Challis, Professor of Community Care Research; Director PSSRU at Manchester; Associate Director NIHR School for Social Care Research; NIHR Senior Investigator

Fiona Poland, Professor of Social Research Methodology, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia

Gill Livingston, Professor of Psychiatry of Older People, Division of Psychiatry, University College London

Ian Maidment, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy, Aston University

Ian McKeith, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing

John Gallacher, Director of MRC Dementias Platform UK, Professor of Cognitive Health, University of Oxford

John Hindle, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Care of the Elderly, Bangor University

Jonathan Schott, Reader in Clinical Neurology, University College London

Linda Clare, Centre for Research in Ageing and Cognitive Health, University of Exeter                                                                                    

Murna Downs, Professor in Dementia Studies, Head of the School of Dementia Studies, university of Bradford

Peter Connelly, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, NHS Tayside, Honorary Professor, Department of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling

Peter Passmore, Professor of ageing and Geriatric Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast

Phyo Myint, Professor, Clinical Chair in Medicine of Old Age, University of Aberdeen

Richard Gray, Professor of Medical Statistics, Nuffield Department of Populations Health

Rob Howard, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry, University College London

Roy Jones, Professor, The Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly

Shirley Nurock, lay member, first person appointed to the Alzheimer's Society Research network of volunteers (QRD). Has extensive experience in reviewing and prioritizing grant applications. A co-applicant on several major trials, she was the first carer to receive funding from Alzheimer's Study for a project looking at  Quality of life for  people with dementia in care homes.

Sube Bannerjee, Professor of Dementia & Deputy Dean, University of Sussex, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Susan Boex, lay member, Research Network Volunteer for the Alzheimer's Society for 10 years. Her extensive experience includes evaluating and monitoring research projects and sitting on grant advisory panels. Susan has been Lay Champion for NIHR Join Dementia Research since its inception.

Tom Dening, Professor of Dementia Research, University of Nottingham & Honorary Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Zuzana Walker, Reader in Psychiatry of the Elderly, University College London

Writing group support

Writing groups are time-limited groups comprising of researchers who wish to collaborate to take a research idea into a submitted grant proposal. Expressions of interest from researchers interested in applying to Writing Groups’ support are now being accepted. Support offered includes practical advice over expertise, applicants, patient involvement and study design, as well as logistic support for writing group meetings and post-award advice.

If you have an idea with the potential to advance clinical knowledge of dementia in the UK and are interested in receiving support from the Dementias PDG, please complete the following Google form.

We aim to assess and provide feedback on whether the Dementias PDG can support your proposal within one week of submission. Please contact us if you have not heard within this timeframe. If you have any queries, please email: