UK Government

Department of Health: Experts unite to boost dementia research

Press Release   •   Feb 25, 2010 10:16 GMT

Leading voices from dementia research will meet for the first time today to drive up the volume, quality and impact of work in the field.  The ministerial group which is chaired by Care Services Minister Phil Hope, brings together charities, scientists, research bodies and government officials.

The group aims to help scientists get access to the research funding that is available to them. It will develop a strategy for increasing public support for dementia research and provide advice on government dementia policy and on wider national and international initiatives.

The Government will be investing around £1.7 billion annually in health research by 20010/11. Scientists in every field of health research have equal access to the funding and funds are awarded through an open and competitive process to the best quality proposal.. However, research bodies receive lower quality proposals for dementia research than for other conditions.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:

“Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the population ages. Research is the key to developing new treatments, transforming care and ultimately finding a cure for this devastating condition.

“We are investing a huge amount - around £1.7 billion - in health research. But not enough dementia researchers are putting forward quality proposals to get the funding. I want to see more dementia research winning funding. That’s why we will be looking at how we can help scientists up the ante and get access to the money they need to carry out research that could change someone’s life.”

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said,

“We welcome the Government's Ministerial Advisory Group as a promising start in our common battle to defeat dementia. Much more action on dementia research is required from Government, charities and others if we are to offer hope to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this devastating condition and the many more who will otherwise develop it in the future."

Clive Ballard, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“The ministerial group on dementia research provides an exciting opportunity to develop a strategic, coordinated and sustainable approach to dementia research. This is essential if we are to make the clinical advances necessary to one day defeat this terrible condition.

”One in three people over 65 in the UK will die with dementia so it is critical that dementia research receives the attention and funds it so desperately needs. This group must now live up to its promise to bring about change and improve the outlook for the hundreds of thousands of people with dementia in this country.”

Notes to editors

1. Key Stats

  • 700,000 people have dementia in the UK and this number will rise to 1million in the next ten years.
  • Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life, ahead of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • One in three people over 65 will die with a form of dementia
  • There are 15,000 people under the age of 65 with dementia
  • Dementia costs the economy £17 billion a year

2.      The Government’s Dementia Strategy can be found at

3. About the group


The Group comprises the main organisations with a stake in dementia research including the government (DH/NIHR and Research Councils), charities and the pharmaceutical sector, plus a former carer of someone living with dementia.

The Group will cover the full range of relevant scientific activity, from basic biomedical, through applied clinical, to heath and care services research, covering work on cause, prevention, cure and care.

4. About the research summit

The Department of Health and Medical Research Council held a dementia summit on July 21st 2009. The aim of the summit was to identify gaps and opportunities for dementia research. A full report of the research summit findings is available on request.


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