Our vision

A future with treatments

Sd B Alzheimers Research Lab 154 Lowres

The UK DRI will transform treatment and care for people with dementia. It will also lead the way in early diagnosis and uncovering how to prevent dementias. 

Research at the institute is relevant to all dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, Huntington’s disease and beyond.

The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 set a target for research to identify treatments for dementia by 2025. The UK DRI is leading the UK’s dementia research efforts and tackling the huge challenge of dementia – which is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and the number of people affected will continue to grow as the population ages. There is currently no cure for any of the neurodegenerative conditions that give rise to dementia. 

Dementias represent one of the toughest medical and economic challenges facing our society today. The UK DRI is here to change this.

I want to see surprises Professor Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director

Breaking the knowledge barrier

UK DRI Director Professor Bart de Strooper has set an ambitious vision for the institute, identifying the gap in our knowledge of how the healthy brain functions and what leads to its degeneration. The UK DRI will achieve this by focusing on the biological mechanisms underpinning dementia. Researchers at the UK DRI will embrace novel technologies and interdisciplinary approaches in order to build new knowledge and understanding that will lead to new treatments.

Research will initially focus on developing better models of disease and translating research findings into new diagnostics and treatments and, in the longer term, cures. A care research strand will be incorporated as the institute develops, as will research seeking to develop new approaches to prevention. 

UK DRI centres and research groups will naturally specialise in certain research areas, but the institute is designed to be opportunistic and grasp all good ideas that could bring us further in fighting the biggest health challenge of our generation. 

Creativity and collaboration

The UK DRI will help build the next generation of dementia researchers, by attracting new researchers into the field and providing access to interdisciplinary training and cutting-edge resources. The institute will set a dynamic pace to establish a vibrant, ambitious and interactive community centred on neuroscience, of initially 400 scientists. It will build on the strong dementias research base that already exists in the UK. Top talent and rising stars from all over the world will come to the institute, from different fields across biomedical and translational research. Together this diverse range of expertise will fill and enrich knowledge gaps in dementias.

At the heart of the UK DRI is innovation. A creative ethos will run throughout the institute. A significant part of the budget will be used to expand and implement the new ideas generated by everyone working at the UK DRI, taking account of future partnership opportunities. 

The institute will also promote collaborative working, both across the institute and also plugging into dementia initiatives across the UK and beyond. The institute is looking to foster strong industry connections so that discoveries made in the laboratory can lead to new treatments for people with dementia as swiftly as possible.

Building a strategy for international excellence

The director and associate directors are working together to establish the institute’s research priorities. The strategy will be published on our website later in 2017.

The first phase of the UK DRI establishment is focused on basic biomedical research. However, it’s important that while the UK DRI looks for new medical treatments for all dementias, it also ensures that those living with dementias and their carers can lead the fullest lives possible. That's why research into dementia care will be integrated into the research strategy in 2018.

Founding funders

Latest tweets from @UKDRI

RT @jojacksonhere: RT @TSpiresJones: Join us for a fantastic postdoc in the @UKDRI @EdinUniNeuro It will be a great job. 2-5 years studyin…
24 Nov 2017 14:47

RT @EdinburghUni: Dementia study sheds light on how damage spreads through brain https://t.co/m9egqsc9M1 @The_MRC @UKDRI https://t.co/TaME
22 Nov 2017 15:10