Dementia research in Australia receives a boost

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has announced a new grant to support research into dementia support, care, treatment and prevention.

The $32.5 million Dementia Research Team Grants scheme is part of the Australian Government’s new $200 million Boosting Dementia Research commitment made in this year’s Federal Budget.

The scheme is expected to fund five teams over five years. Applicants to the scheme will be able to ask for up to $6.5 million for their project. Projects should be focused on identifying causes of dementia, improved patient care, new treatment options for people with dementia and better methods of prevention.

NHMRC CEO Professor Warwick Anderson said that the Federal Government’s $200 million in funding is indicative of the large task in front of medical researchers in terms of finding out more about dementia.

“Although the common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, was first described in 1906, our understanding of dementia and our diagnostic tools are still in their infancy,” Professor Anderson said in an August 8 NHMRC press release.

“In a recent forum with key stakeholders, we made a commitment to the Australian people to ensure that this significant research investment would make a lasting difference in the prevention, treatment and management of dementia.”

According to the NHMRC, 7,500 Australians will be diagnosed with dementia every week by 2050.

Other initiatives that are part of the Federal Government’s dementia funding package include a contribution to the new Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute and grants for further research such as $50 million for the new NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research.

There is also $46 million for capacity building grants to encourage medical researchers into dementia research.

Professor Anderson said that the new institute is well underway and should attract people to conduct dementia research within Australia.

These initiatives are expected to fund research that will influence the quality of care individuals in healthcare employment provide to people with dementia.