Our purpose
Early Intervention Vision

Our purpose: 

To catch dementia early and stop it in its tracks.

How we'll get there:

We will grow and connect the UK dementia research community, assemble the very best resources and spark fresh and ambitious thinking. We will discover what causes dementia and transform that knowledge into life-changing treatments and tools.

Our key goals are to:
  • 1. Inspire pioneering people

    We champion the courageous and the curious. UK DRI researchers think differently, challenge one another and take risks to reap rewards. The institute’s creative culture, along with top resources and support, help attract and keep the brightest talents.

    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.


  • 2. Build unparalleled connectivity

    We are built on the belief that collaboration accelerates discoveries. And so how do we ensure a spirit of alliance is inherent across the UK DRI? We use the latest technology to share knowledge and to network regardless of geography. We strengthen this with face-to-face workshops, seminars and training.

    We run initiatives to connect centres, including our postdoctoral programme which has co-supervisors from UK DRI Group Leaders based at different centres, and an active Early Career Researcher network across the institute. Our cross-centre scientific themes promote collaboration on areas of shared interest. Each brings multidisciplinary expertise from across the institute to probe crucial questions, develop new technologies, explore experimental approaches and make better use of data.


  • 3. Fill 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.

    We study biomarkers for early diagnosis and personalised medicine. We harness the power of genetics, bioinformatics and large population studies to reveal what could increase the risk of getting dementia. We use these insights to inform studies which will ultimately help us find ways to prevent or slow the development of dementia.

    Through our Care Research & Technology centre, we empower people with dementia and their carers by developing new technologies to track disease progression, intelligent systems that make predictions, and ways to communicate this with health professionals.


  • 4. Tackle dementia from every angle

    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.


  • 5. Transform 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.


  • 6. Grow 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.


Founding funders

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