About us

A united Institute

Our purpose:

New scientific discoveries, new hope to stop dementia

How we'll get there:

We do original, groundbreaking research that will transform lives. We attract the brightest minds and give them the best technology and research tools. We work with each other, with people living with dementia and their families, with the wider scientific community and with industry to translate our findings into treatments. We are renowned for the quality of our science, our willingness to share data, ideas and resources, and our unwavering commitment to stop dementia in its tracks.

Where we came from
  • A strong foundation with a big ambition

    Launched in 2017, the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) is the single biggest investment the UK has ever made in dementia thanks to founding funders the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

    Around 944,000 people in the UK have dementia and the number of people affected will continue to grow as the population ages. There are currently no effective therapeutics for any of the neurodegenerative conditions that give rise to dementia. The UK DRI is leading the UK’s dementia research efforts and tackling the huge challenge of the condition, which is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.

    Dementia represents one of the toughest medical and economic challenges facing our society today. The UK DRI is here to change this. The Institute will transform treatment and care for people with dementia. We are leading the way in early diagnosis and uncovering how to prevent dementia. With this boost in funding, it's time to catch up with the knowledge base acquired in other diseases.

    We're revolutionary in scale and scope. The UK DRI breaks new ground by bringing together world-leading expertise in biomedical, care and translational dementia research in a national institute currently made up of over 750 researchers and a support team of over 50, all growing rapidly.

    The Institute carries out research relevant to all dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease and beyond.


  • A unique structure and approach

    The Institute is structured so that our researchers are connected, wherever their labs are based. Having seven centres located across the UK allows us to bring people together for shared scientific inspiration, whilst making the most of cutting-edge tools and infrastructure locally.

    Our Hub and each Centre has a Centre Director, and every person working in the UK DRI contributes towards achieving the Institute’s vision. By operating as a single entity, we can act decisively and facilitate partnerships through central coordination: our HQ team.

    Our hub is based at UCL, with our Centres hosted at: University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and King's College London. The Care Research & Technology Centre based at Imperial College London and the University of Surrey joined in 2019.


Our key goals
  • Inspiring pioneering people

    We champion the courageous and the curious. UK DRI researchers think differently, challenge one another and take risks in order to reap rewards. The Institute’s creative culture, collaborative ethos and leading edge resources help attract and keep the best talent.

    Not only are our scientists world leaders in dementia research with unwavering ambition, but importantly include those working in other scientific areas who are new to the neurodegeneration field and want to step beyond boundaries. We use expertise from one field to fertilise another. Innovation comes from places where clinicians and researchers can team up with engineers, where training in new technologies and models is paramount and where academic freedom is given. Our Values

    1. Courageous We embrace the unconventional, think outside the box and are brave enough to take risks to reap rewards.

    2. Welcoming We share the best ideas, skills and tools. We progress careers. Our doors are open: we build connections with researchers globally and learn from people affected by dementia.

    3. Energetic We work at pace, using the best science to catalyse discoveries.

    4. Perceptive We are forward-thinkers and adapt quickly to opportunities that take us further, faster.

    5. Determined We challenge ourselves and each other to work at the forefront of discovery and we strive daily for world-leading quality in our science.


  • Filling the knowledge gap

    There’s a vast gap in our knowledge of how the healthy brain functions and what can lead to its degeneration. We know progress to understand this process has been slow. The UK DRI is tackling this by focusing on the biological mechanisms underpinning dementia and by embracing new technologies and models.

    Our research spans the biochemical, cellular, systems and clinical phases. We are taking many different approaches; from biomarkers to genetics, from vasculature to the microbiome and from inflammation to sleep. By having all this and more within one institute, we can benefit from integrating knowledge and ideas.

    Research at the institute covers all diseases that can give rise to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease and beyond. We will identify commonalities and unique features across the different disorders. Ultimately this means the right treatment will be given to the right person at the right time. We believe in catching dementia early, some 20-30 years before symptoms, and tackling it with a combination of therapies.


  • Transforming knowledge into treatments and tools

    We’re not here to fill scientific publication libraries, but rather to have an impact on all those affected by dementia. We will move quickly to exploit emerging discoveries: taking new findings in the lab and getting them ready to enter the drug discovery pipeline.

    We understand the importance of equipping our researchers to identify the potential of their findings to be translated into new treatments and approaches. We promote an entrepreneurial spirit in our researchers at every level, and equip them to take steps to develop, test and commercialise their discoveries.

    Coordinated by the UK DRI Innovation and Business team at a national level, we build productive partnerships with industry to help validate targets and devise proof-of-principle preclinical studies.


  • Growing partnerships that drive progress

    We partner with researchers beyond the institute, the public, funders and people affected by dementia. We work across disciplines, locations, organisations and international borders. By sharing our knowledge, our plans and our resources, we can accelerate progress and learn from others.

    We contribute to the public dialogue on neurodegenerative diseases and we are committed to learning from people with dementia and their carers through our Lived Experience Group.

    We connect to the rich UK dementia research landscape, building on existing infrastructure and investments, and developing strategic collaborations with the wider scientific community in the UK and beyond. We’re always looking to partner with the academic, commercial and funding sectors. Find out more about the partnerships we've already established.