Delivering better research is fundamental to the Government's 2020 Dementia Challenge, and NIHR has a key role in boosting research to generate the research evidence needed to make a step change in prevention, treatment and care. Across Government, research spending on dementia has increased by nearly 50 percent since 2010/11, with an ambition to further double spending over the decade following the end of the present Parliament.

Key developments since May 2013 include:

  • £20 million for research on living well with dementia: NIHR and the Economic and Social Research Council ( ESRC) awarded jointly-funded research grants focused on improving quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. The funding exceeded the original target of £13 million and now represents the world’s largest social science research programme on dementia and care
  • progress towards recruiting 10 percent of patients into clinical studies: The number of people with dementia involved in studies in 2012/13 was 11,859 (3.7 percent); the forecast figure for 2013/14 is 13,583 (4.5 percent), more than ever before.  2013/14 was a record year in terms of the number of dementia-related studies coming onto and open to recruitment on the NIHR Clinical Research Network DeNDRoN Portfolio (79 and 181 studies respectively), the number of NHS Trusts involved in dementia research (200) and the performance of dementia studies, with over 85 percent completing on time to target
  • ENRICH - Enabling Research in Care Homes: over 1000 care homes are now participating in this network, which provides straightforward advice and support for researchers, care home staff, and others which will help to increase the volume of dementia research in care homes. This was developed by DeNDRoN, informed by work from the NIHR School for Social Care Research
  • NIHR National Director for Dementia Research Professor Martin Rossor (Clinical Neurology, University College London)was appointed to help lead and support the Department of Health’s response to the research commitments within the  Dementia Challenge and the 2013 G8 Dementia Summit, including working with the World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings
  • Join Dementia Research was launched by NIHR, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, to develop ‘ready’ cohorts of patients consenting to be approached about research, to improve recruitment to dementia studies
  • focused funding calls are bringing a wider spectrum of the UK’s research community into the dementia field. This included funding of £1.2 million in 2014 for the new Research Capacity in Dementia Care Pilot Programme, which is being delivered through 4 NIHR Collaborations in Leadership on Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs).

Other major contributions to developing dementia research include:

  • NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration The Government established the NIHR Dementia Translational Research Collaboration involving four newly funded NIHR Dementia Biomedical Research Units and six NIHR Biomedical Research Centres to focus on dementia research. These are internationally leading research centres based in the UK and are pulling exciting developments from basic science into clinical research and benefits for patients. In total, the NIHR is providing £36 million for this collaboration
  • the UK G8 Summit on Dementia 2013 Prime Minister, David Cameron, hosted the G8 summit on dementia in London on 11 December 2013. The summit aims to develop co-ordinated global action on dementia
  • The NIHR Dissemination Centre published a highlight: Supporting Carers of people with Dementia, bringing together NIHR research published from 2014-16 which will be of particular interest to family carers and those agencies who need to support them.