Dementia is not a single specific disease. It is an umbrella term describing a syndrome associated with more than 100 different diseases that are characterised by the impairment of brain function, including language, memory, perception, personality and cognitive skills.

Dementia is not a single specific disease. It is an umbrella term describing a syndrome—a group of symptoms—associated with more than 100 different diseases that are characterised by the impairment of brain function, including language, memory, perception, personality and cognitive skills.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dementia is Australia’s second leading cause of death and is predicted to soon overtake heart disease as Australia's leading cause of death. The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling estimates that the number of Australians living with dementia will increase from 413,106 in 2017 to 536,000 by 2025.

Accelerating innovation in the potential prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia (including its most prevalent form, Alzheimer’s disease), is a national and global priority.

The Australian Government announced as part of the 2014-15 Budget an additional $200 million over five years to boost dementia research in Australia. The initiative incorporates two main components:

• $150 million (including $26 million of Australian Research Council funding) to urgently scale up dementia research through large-scale research projects ($95 million), building the future research workforce ($46 million) and research focused on prevention and treatment at the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research ($9 million).

• $50 million to target, coordinate and translate the national research effort through the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR).

Elements and Milestones of the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative

Specific elements and key milestones of the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative are listed below, beginning with the most recent. These link to further information, where available.

2018

Australian Dementia Forum 2018: Cooperation, Collaboration and International Connections

  • NNIDR held its third national forum in Sydney from 4-5 June 2018. The forum brought together international and Australian dementia researchers to explore collaborations and build connections that will enable better research and translation leading to better health outcomes.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

Boosting Dementia Research Grants, Priority Round 4: European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND) Call for Multinational Research Projects on Health and Social Care for Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • NHMRC will provide up to $3 million in grants to assist Australian researchers participate in multinational collaborative research projects selected for funding under the European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND): Call for Multinational Research Projects on Health and Social Care for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
  • Further information is available on the JPND website.

Boosting Dementia Research Grants, Priority Round 3: National Dementia Network

  • NHMRC will provide up to $18 million to support a multidisciplinary, national team to establish and maintain a National Dementia Network.

Targeted Call for Research into Dementia in Indigenous Australians

  • $14.1 million has been awarded for culturally appropriate research that specifically addresses dementia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the impact on their families and carers.
  • Further information is available on the Department of Health website.

2017

Boosting Dementia Research Grants, Priority Round 2: JPND Call for Multinational Research Projects for Pathway Analysis across Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • $0.9 million has been awarded to assist Australian researchers participate in multinational collaborative research projects selected for funding under the European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND): Call for Multinational Research Projects for Pathway Analysis across Neurodegenerative Diseases.
  • More information can be found on the JPDN website

Boosting Dementia Research Grants, Priority Round 1: Implementation of Dementia Research into Clinical Practice and Care

Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowships

NNIDR Public Lecture Tour

  • NNIDR held its National Public Lecture Tour Series in March and April 2017.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

International Research Network on Dementia Prevention

  • The International Research Network on Dementia Prevention (IRNDP) was officially launched in London on 17 July 2017. The IRNDP delivers on an Australian Government pledge at the World Health Organization Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in 2015 and aims to develop a global research network for dementia prevention and build the evidence-base on risk and protective factors for cognitive decline and dementia. It is hosted by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC), with funding and oversight from NHMRC and NNIDR.

Dementia Care Forum: Involving Consumers in Research towards Better Care Outcomes

  • NNIDR convened a dementia care forum on 18 October 2017 as part of the Dementia Australia National Conference 2017. The forum was attended by 29 participants comprising people living with dementia, caregivers, researchers, and representatives from service providers, research organisations, peak bodies and government.

Australian Dementia Forum 2017: Progress on the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative

  • NNIDR held its second national forum in Melbourne from 15-17 October 2017. The forum brought together over 200 researchers and special interest groups to showcase the latest studies and discuss the present and future of dementia research in Australia.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

2016

JPco-fuND call for European research projects on neurodegenerative diseases: risk and protective factors, longitudinal cohort approaches and advanced experimental models

  • $2.6 million has been awarded to assist Australian researchers participate in multinational collaborative research projects selected for funding under the European Union Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease (JPco-fuND) call for European research projects on neurodegenerative diseases: risk and protective factors, longitudinal cohort approaches and advanced experimental models.

NNIDR Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation

  • The NNIDR Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation (first published in July 2016) outlines the vision, objectives, principles and priorities for the NNIDR, and provides a foundation for the NNIDR to advise NHMRC on research priorities and funding recommendations. The Strategic Roadmap will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect changing dementia research and translation landscape.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

Australian Dementia Forum 2016: Progress on the Boosting Dementia Research Initiative

  • NNIDR held its inaugural national forum in Brisbane from 1-3 May 2016. The program covered four main themes (Diagnosis/Assessment, Care/Living with Dementia, Intervention/Treatment, and Prevention) and featured international keynote speakers, Australia’s leading dementia researchers, and contributions from consumers.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

2015

NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR)

  • NNIDR is a key element of the Australian Government’s $200 million initiative to boost dementia research and is operated by Dementia Australia. The mission of NNIDR is to target, coordinate and translate the strategic expansion of dementia research.
  • Further information is available on the NNIDR website.

Dementia Research Team Grants

  • $35.6 million has been awarded to support teams of researchers to pursue collaborative research, promote effective translation of research, and develop capacity under a dementia research priority framework.

NHMRC‒Australian Research Council (ARC) Dementia Research Development Fellowships

2014

    Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research