The next generation of UEA researchers investigating how to improve services and care for people affected by dementia are set to benefit from increased funding to develop their careers.
They will receive a share of a £7.5 million national funding award to support early career researchers working on applied health and care research for dementia.
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, has awarded the new funding to strengthen capacity and capability in dementia health and care research across 15 NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).
The ARC East of England has received £320,000, and it will use the funding to support post-doctoral career development awards combined with co-funding from UEA, and other ARC partner universities in the region.
The funding will help promising researchers develop their skills and establish their own research projects, and networks, while ensuring they are part of a regional and national cohort of postdocs tackling dementia care challenges.
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at UEA has also pledged to co-fund the award, which will be enhanced further by additional funding from the Alzheimer’s Society.
Prof Eneida Mioshi, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, is ARC East of England Deputy Director and Academic Career Development Lead. She said: “These new awards will enable our dementia post-doctoral researchers to take full advantage of our regional ARC infrastructure and training strategy, directly benefiting from our dementia expertise, regional links and track record of developing dementia researchers.”
The national awards will support a new cohort of multidisciplinary researchers combining strengths from different fields, such as healthcare, primary care, public health, social care, neuroscience, social sciences, methodology and the creative arts, to encourage cross-cutting and community-orientated dementia research projects that can address key gaps in the evidence base.
Prof Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR, said: “We want to improve the lives of people with dementia, and those caring for them, through innovative research that tackles a range of challenges around this disease.
“This new funding taps into the up-and-coming talent in the NIHR ecosystem, supporting fledgling dementia researchers from a range of disciplines to become the chief investigators of the future and building a solid foundation for the next decades of dementia research.”
The NIHR is committed to building capacity and capability in preventative, public health and social care research, with increasing funding for dementia research a key pillar supporting this ambition to address one of the biggest health challenges.
Dr Richard Oakley, Associate Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said: "Dementia can be devastating for many, and we estimate that 1 million people in the UK will have the condition by 2025. Research provides hope by helping us better understand the causes of dementia as well as developing effective treatments and improved diagnostic techniques, so people with the condition can access the support they need to live well.
“Early career researchers represent the lifeblood of dementia research, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives. We’re investing in the careers of the future leaders in dementia research in partnership with the NIHR on this training programme so we can unlock the dementia breakthroughs of the future."