Research aimed at addressing the challenges facing people with dementia living in the South West has been given a boost this week with the announcement of £320,000 funding to support the next generation of dementia researchers in the region.
The NIHR, working in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society, has announced £7.5m of national funding to strengthen capacity and capability in dementia health and care research. All fifteen NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) in the national network are set to receive funding, supporting a cohort of post-doctoral health and care researchers toward independence, developing skills to establish research projects, programmes and collaborative groups.
The funding will allow us to provide early-career researchers with the experience and training to help them to develop into future leaders in dementia research. The South West region has a significantly older population than the rest of the country, and poor transport links can make it difficult for people to access services. The region also has pockets of substantial deprivation and experiences staff shortages in key services. The new funding will support the focus of our dementia research on helping to meet these challenges, including how to enhance quality of life and well-being, tackle health inequalities, and promote inclusion of ‘seldom heard’ groups in the region.
“It’s vital that we nurture the careers of the next generation of dementia researchers: this award will allow us to do exactly that.”
Dementia research is one of our key research themes and we run a range of programmes designed to foster a better understanding of the needs of people affected by dementia and develop interventions to improve care and maximise the impact of research. The IDEAL programme, an Alzheimer’s Society Centre of Excellence led at the University of Exeter by Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia and PenARC Dementia Theme Lead Linda Clare is helping to identify ways to improve the experience of living with dementia in the community. The programme comprises the largest study of living well with dementia in Great Britain and aims to improve the development of new policy, interventions and initiatives to transform the lives of people with dementia and their carers. Our WHELD programme, part of the NIHR ARC National Priority Research Programme, trains and supports managers and staff in care homes to provide person-centred care. Our EXCHANGE programme is building engagement and research-readiness among care homes throughout the South West, while the D-PACT programme is developing and evaluating a system for dementia support in general practice for people with dementia and their carers.
“This fantastic funding opportunity will enable us to support a new cohort of early career researchers, through a programme of training and development, to become leading dementia researchers in the future.”
We work with the public, health and care professionals, and organisations, including a network of care homes, to produce evidence that directly addresses questions that really matter to people with dementia, their carers and service providers. We also work with public collaborators, charities and services to turn evidence into improvements in quality of life and services. During the COVID-19 pandemic we co-produced a Living with Dementia toolkit to support quality of life and well-being of people with mild-to-moderate dementia in the community as part of the INCLUDE study at the University of Exeter.
PenARC Dementia Theme Lead and Professor of Clinical Psychology of Ageing and Dementia at the University of Exeter Professor Linda Clare said: “It’s vital that we nurture the careers of the next generation of dementia researchers: this award will allow us to do exactly that. We’ve created a strong base of expertise and enthusiasm for improving the lives of people living with dementia and carers, and I’m excited to see how these new posts will enhance that.”
PenARC Academic Career Development Lead and Associate Professor of Ageing and Rehabilitation at the University of Exeter Vicki Goodwin MBE said: “This fantastic funding opportunity will enable us to support a new cohort of early career researchers, through a programme of training and development, to become leading dementia researchers in the future.”
Opportunities now open for applications
We have a number of opportunities, based across our campuses in Exeter and Plymouth, for post-doctoral researchers with a background in health and social care, the social sciences and the creative arts, to join our dementia programme as future dementia research leaders.
Our Dementia theme offers extensive opportunities for a number of Post-doctoral Training Fellowships to gain experience in key priority areas, preparing them to become future research leaders. Our dementia research focuses on (a) better understanding of the needs of people living with dementia and carers and developing interventions to help meet these needs, (b) better understanding of population risk factors for dementia and how these can be addressed, and (c) maximising impact from existing research in these areas through effective implementation. Enhancing quality of life and well-being, tackling health inequalities, co-production, and inclusion of ‘seldom heard’ groups are all central to our approach.
Our research is conducted throughout the UK and beyond, but the particular challenges facing people with dementia living in the southwest provide an excellent environment for developing and evaluating innovative approaches to improving lives and services.
- To apply for a Fellowship based at the University of Exeter
The closing date is 31st July, and interviews will take place on 11th August.
- To apply for a Fellowship based at the University of Plymouth
The closing date is 27th July, and interviews will take place on 10th August.
Read more about our current portfolio of Dementia research here.