Vacancy: 4 x Group Leader positions at the BHF - UK DRI Centre for Vascular Dementia Research

Deadline: 19 July 2024

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4 x Group Leader positions
BHF - UK DRI Centre for Vascular Dementia Research

Multiple locations available at UK DRI and BHF Centres across the UK

It has been estimated that 30% of dementia cases worldwide could be attributable to risk factors such as diabetes, midlife hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and obesity among others. Specifically, midlife hypertension is one of the major contributors to vascular dementia. There is also growing recognition that Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia present in many cases as ‘mixed dementias’—they share the same risk factors and both neuropathology and vascular dysfunctions can be observed in both types of dementia. Crucially, it appears that vascular dysfunction can occur early in the course of cognitive decline, potentially before neurodegenerative changes, highlighting the brain’s vasculature as an attractive and accessible target for intervention.

In partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) has established a new research centre: the “BHF – UK DRI Centre for Vascular Dementia Research” (CVDR) - providing critical mass, visibility and long-term commitment to this important area of research. The CVDR will adopt a distributed, network structure, where its Group Leaders will be able to choose to be physically located at one of our existing DRI host universities (Cardiff University, Imperial College London, King’s College London, UCL, University of Cambridge, and University of Edinburgh) or at certain BHF Centres of Research Excellence, depending on which provides the optimum intellectual environment, access to critical technology and infrastructure, proximity of intended close collaborators and other tangible benefits for the research to be performed.

At the heart of the new Centre will be five new UK DRI Group Leaders (principal investigators) to be recruited via an international search, whose salary and research programmes will be supported by this new partnership. The first of these positions has been filled by the new Director, Professor David Attwell, FRS, FMedSci, who is located at University College London (UCL).

We now wish to appoint four outstanding scientists as Group Leaders in the Centre for Vascular Dementia Research to fill the remaining positions. Researchers working in any scientific area relevant to Vascular Dementia are eligible to apply, including those:

  1. studying molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying decreases in cerebral blood flow, blood-brain barrier function and myelination in vascular dementia, and comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension;
  2. carrying out in vivo imaging of brain function relevant to vascular dementia;
  3. using genetic or epidemiological approaches to understand susceptibility to vascular dementia;
  4. defining therapeutic approaches for prophylaxis or treatment of vascular dementia;
  5. carrying out clinical trials on vascular dementia.

An emphasis on understanding human vascular dementia and translating mechanistic animal research into human therapies will be valuable.

Each successful candidate for Group Leader will bring an international reputation in a relevant research field, and will initially be funded for 5 years by a programme grant of approximately £1.5M (the precise amount depending on whether applicants already have their salary funded in any way). We anticipate this will fund the Group Leader’s salary, two post-docs, animal and consumable expenses, travel to conferences, and overheads at the UKDRI-agreed rate. Application for further outside funding is encouraged, and there will also be small pump-priming grant awards available from within the CVDR for collaborations between different Group Leaders. Group Leaders who pass their 5 year review will be given tenure in their host university.

Download the Candidate Pack

The role of a CVDR Group Leader

- To establish and lead a research group of the CVDR.

- To carry out cutting edge research in vascular causes of dementia.

- To optionally apply for further funding to expand your group and further the CVDR’s mission.

- To work with the CVDR Director and other CVDR members to establish a thriving research network, advancing our basic understanding of vascular dementia and identifying novel therapeutic opportunities.

- To attend and contribute to an annual multi-day retreat aimed at discussing science, developing new approaches, and mentoring researchers in vascular dementia

- To recruit, train and manage post-docs and PhD students, nurturing their career development

- To champion inclusivity by supporting initiatives designed to promote greater diversity, and actively support our aim that all individuals should have equal opportunities for employment and advancement on the basis of their skills, aptitudes and abilities.

- To ensure that the CVDR’s research fully meets current ethical standards and adheres to guidelines from our funding bodies and host universities.

How to apply

Please see the 'Group Leader Candidate Pack' for full details on the role.

Group Leaders at the CVDR are employed by the university at which they are based.

As part of the application you should identify which of the following locations would be best suited to host your position and provide a justification:

UK DRI Host Universities

- Cardiff University

- University of Cambridge

- University of Edinburgh

- Imperial College London

- King’s College London

- University College London

BHF Centres of Excellence

- University of Leicester

- The University of Manchester

- University of Oxford

- University of Cambridge

- University of Edinburgh

- Imperial College London

- King’s College London

- University College London

Each request will be reviewed and the requested university will be engaged as part of the recruitment process should your application be taken forward.

Prospective applicants are invited to contact the CVDR Director, David Attwell (, for an informal and confidential discussion about the role.

Applicants are asked to send the following documents to UK DRI Operations Manager, Liz Chambers (, to arrive by 9am GMT on Friday 19th July 2024. Please include your surname followed by ‘CVDR Group Leader recruitment’ in the subject line.

- A cover letter that explains your motivation for joining the CVDR.

- A description of your vision for your Vascular Dementia-related science. Describe your past and future (next 5 years) research programme, and the optimum university host for your future research programme. 6 pages maximum including references and all material.

- A full curriculum vitae and details of three referees whom we may approach before offering an interview.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a formal interview with the Appointment Committee.

Committees will include: the CVDR Director and Clinical Director, representatives of the UK DRI and BHF and a subject-related expert.

CVDR Group Leader Candidate Pack Download