Aberdeen scientists part of new Scottish Dementia Research Consortium

Three University of Aberdeen researchers are part of Scotland’s first Dementia Research Consortium being launched today (August 28) in Edinburgh by Angiolina Foster, Director of Health and Social Care Integration with the Scottish Government.

The SDRC is a completely new collaborative approach to dementia research in Scotland which recognises expertise and work from all disciplines. It is co-chaired by Professor Emma Reynish, Chair of Dementia Research at the University of Stirling and Consultant Physician in NHS Fife, and Dr Peter Connelly, co-director of the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry in NHS Tayside.

Professor Bettina Platt, Chair in Translational Neuroscience, Professor Alison Murray, Roland Sutton Chair of Radiology, and Professor Lawrence Whalley, from the University of Aberdeen, are members of the new SDRC Executive Board .

Professor Reynish said: “A co-ordinated collaborative research effort has the potential to have a larger impact than that of individuals alone. Nowhere is this truer than in the field of dementia research where the spectrum of research activity spans the extremes of the biomedical and social science practice and involves an ever increasing multidisciplinary, multi-skilled workforce. Effort across this whole spectrum is crucial to the overarching goal of realising benefits for people with dementia and their families and carers.”

Dr Connelly said: “Every week there seems to be a headline about a new breakthrough in dementia research, with promises of rapid diagnosis and effective treatment shortly thereafter. But still we wait. And wait. Without really knowing what goes on in the field of dementia research. This, after all, involves many more aspects than diagnosis and treatment, such as showing us how to improve the lives of people with dementia and their families. So how does the new Consortium change this? It offers a place where research can be co-ordinated and developed, a place people can contact for knowledge, and a place to show the public how to become true partners in dementia research themselves.”

Professor Platt added: “We are delighted to see a Scottish dementia network launch as it allows Scottish researchers and institutions to pull together and enable much needed, improved research.”

The SDRC includes members engaged in all aspects of dementia research: science and technology; clinical, health and applied practice; psychology and humanities; social and population. It will work to represent Scotland’s dementia research interests at a national, UK, European and worldwide level. Administrative support is provided by Alzheimer Scotland.

Michael Matheson, Minister for Public Health, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting dementia research as part of our National Dementia Strategy and welcomes the launch of the Consortium, which will help to maximise the impact and influence of Scotland’s highly regarded dementia research community.”

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, added: “We are delighted that the Scottish dementia research community has decided to collaborate in this way. It is vital that we develop a better understanding of dementia, not only so we can work towards improved treatments and ultimately a cure, but also so we can better support people living with the illness now. People with dementia and their carers will also have a voice within the Consortium, helping to shape the dementia research agenda in Scotland.”

The SDRC currently has over 165 members, based in institutions and organisations all over Scotland, and invites all interested researchers to join.  The executive committee of the SDRC includes the following researchers:

Prof. Alison Murray (University of Aberdeen)

Prof. Bettina Platt (University of Aberdeen)

Prof. Charlotte Clarke (University of Edinburgh)

Oluwakemi Arojojoye (University of Stirling)

Prof. Debbie Tolson (University of the West of Scotland)

Prof. Frank Gunn-Moore (University of St Andrews)

Prof. Jean Manson (University of Edinburgh)

Prof. John Starr (University of Edinburgh)

Prof. Lawrence Whalley (University of Aberdeen)

To find out more about the SDRC, including how to become a member, please email SDRC@alzscot.org or write to SDRC c/o Kirsty Wilson, Alzheimer Scotland, 81 Oxford Street, Glasgow G5 9EP.