Edinburgh researchers join £250m dementia project

Edinburgh University Medical School. Researchers will join a UK-wide team investigating dementia. Picture: TSPL

Edinburgh University Medical School. Researchers will join a UK-wide team investigating dementia. Picture: TSPL

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Researchers from Edinburgh University are part of a £250 million project to combat dementia.

The university is to join forces with five other institutions from England and Wales to form the UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI).

Professor Giles Hardingham, association director of the UKDRI at the University of Edinburgh, said they would be able to “join forces to accelerate research into neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia”.

He stated: “Our responsibility to dementia patients and their families, both current and future, is to use this opportunity to find new ways to prevent or slow progression of this devastating group of diseases.”

The project is a joint venture aimed at advancing research into the condition, which is being led by the Medical Research Council along with charity partners the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Researchers will aim to identify strategies to help prevent dementia before symptoms appear and will also investigate new ways of improving care for people living with the condition.

The DRI will have its headquarters at University College London, with additional centres at the Universities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, Cardiff University, Imperial College London and King’s College London.

Professor Bart De Strooper, director of the UK DRI, said: “The shared vision between the centres will be at the heart of the DRI’s success and this creativity at the borders will lead us to truly understand dementias and how they progress.

“We selected the centres based on innovative, excellent science, evidence of strong leadership, the alignment of goals with the DRI as a whole and the ability to grow and collaborate as the institute gathers pace.”

He added: “Edinburgh presented a truly impressive selection of complementary and interactive programmes and Professor Hardingham’s coherent vision for the centre and his plans to recruit talented young scientists was in the true spirit of the DRI.”

UK Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Dementia affects millions of people around the world but through greater understanding we can make significant steps forward to improve lives.

“Today’s announcement of the institute’s centre locations demonstrates the UK’s existing wealth of knowledge and research expertise, and the leadership role we can take in developing new treatments to tackle this disease.

“This is exactly the type of project our industrial strategy will build on to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global science.”

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