Prominent dementia researchers back Government policy

The country’s leading dementia researchers, consumers and key advocacy groups applaud the Government’s vision to invest $200 million to accelerate research into dementia over the next five years.

This new funding has the potential to place Australia at the forefront of dementia research internationally.

Over 320,000 Australians currently live with the disease. Without a medical research breakthrough, nearly one million will have dementia by 2050.

The funding will help Australian scientists and medical researchers who are working on ways to prevent, cure and care for those affected, and give assurance to carers of people living with dementia that this Government is focused on delivering research that will make a difference.

Meeting in April at NeuRA, the country’s leading researchers endorsed the Government’s policy priorities. They gave a commitment to tackle the problem head on through intense nationwide collaboration, to ensure the policy commitment is delivered in a timely and highly effective manner.

The initiative will:
1. Dramatically expand capacity in dementia research by supporting our best new researchers to work on the key challenges.
2. Prioritise additional strategic funding for dementia research projects.
3. Ensure we make the most of what we already know by translating our research into better care for dementia patients.
4. Invest in vital dementia research infrastructure to allow our scientists to develop the solutions we need.

NeuRA’s Prof Peter Schofield says: “We are excited that this initiative provides the opportunity to boost dementia research capacity, building on our already strong research base. This funding will produce an enduring benefit for Australia and for those many hundreds of thousands of Australians who will be diagnosed with dementia into the future.”

“The award of dedicated funding of this magnitude will be a major gain for dementia research.”

Professor Bob Williamson, of the University of Melbourne and co-Chair of the research group, says: “New Australian research into Alzheimer disease will be particularly valuable, since it fits well with international efforts in Europe and the United States. Australia is in a particularly good position to put together imaging with new scanners, genetics and treatment, building on existing world-class research groups.”

The researchers proposed that the initiative should be led by a group including experts, carers, and public health advocates, who can provide independent strategic advice and develop a roadmap to assist with the implementation of the research agenda.

The group is confident that this pioneering initiative would attract and retain a new cohort of intellectual and scientific leaders in all facets of dementia research and encourage excellent PhD students and post-doctoral research leaders to come into the field.

To achieve national and international significance and to spend the funding wisely the time scale is critical. The Federal Budget announcement of $200 million to accelerate research into dementia is a very welcome move.