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Six universities including Oxford have been awarded a total of £4.3m by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to grow and develop the UK’s research base in dementia science.

Oxford headache centre launched
Zam Cader, leader of the Oxford Momentum Award

The Momentum awards, designed to support the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI), will help open new research avenues which could transform the potential of dementia research in the UK. The awards represent the first steps in establishing the capabilities for the DRI, which is being funded through a combined investment of £250m from the MRC and founding charity partners, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The DRI is expected to be up and running by 2019.

The DRI will be the biggest single investment into dementia research the UK has ever seen and we are proud to start building the foundation for it now. These transformative awards will create exciting new opportunities across the dementia research landscape and provide impetus to allow the Institute to start making its mark as soon as it is launched.
- Dr Rob Buckle, director of science programmes at the MRC

Each award will enhance overall dementia research capacity in the UK and, crucially, will accelerate the recruitment of research leaders and ‘rising stars’ from both within and outside of the UK. The funding will also help current researchers develop promising connections between different research disciplines to bring new understanding to the field, as well as exploit emerging scientific opportunities and explore new approaches to fight the disease.

The Oxford Momentum Award is led by Zam Cader, who will be developing methods to better understand the epigenetics of microglia interactions in dementia. The other project leads for this multi-disciplinary programme are Sally Crowley, Francesca Nicholls, Florian Plattner and Caleb Webber.  The four projects are designed to develop key capabilities in the provision of human brain cell types, cell imaging analysis and targeting signalling pathways, and will include recruitment back to the UK of a researcher who currently holds a faculty appointment in the US.