More than 400,000 Australians are living with dementia. It is Australia's second overall leading cause of burden of disease in injury, behind coronary heart disease.1 A long-term approach to the diagnosis and treatment of dementia is essential for Australia's social and economic wellbeing.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) remains committed to supporting dementia research in Australia. 

The Australian Government's Boosting Dementia Research Initiative (BDRI) invested $200 million over five years from 2014 to 2019 to accelerate research, enhance collaboration and promote advances in dementia research and treatment. It included 11 competitive funding rounds and the establishment of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR). All of the $200 million ‘boost’ in dementia funding has now been fully allocated and the NNIDR closed on 30 June 2020, having fulfilled its national leadership role in targeting and coordinating the strategic expansion of dementia research in Australia.  

Find further information on the BDRI Grant program webpage. NNIDR activities, outputs and resources is available at NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research.

Recent NHMRC dementia funding news:

  • 2022: The NHMRC-Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) scheme invited proposals to further understand the many potential causes of dementia, modifiable lifestyle risk and protective factors that may prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Three projects were funded under this scheme for a total investment of $1.5 million.
    • Dr Yujin Pan: Exploring biomarkers, therapeutic targets, and modifiable risk factors for non-Alzheimer's dementia.
    • Dr Chien-Hsiung Yu: Novel therapeutic strategies to intervene in tau-associated neurodegeneration by modulating tau clearance and neuroinflammation.
    • Dr Quan Huynh: Reducing Cognitive impairment by management of Heart Failure as a Modifiable Risk Factor: the Cog-HF trial.
  • 2021: Nine Investigator Grants at the Emerging Leadership (EL) level (five EL1 and four EL2 levels), to a total value of $9 million were awarded to outstanding investigators in the field of dementia research:
    • Josefine Antoniades (EL1): CultureCare: Co-designing an aged care decision aid for the South Asian communities to empower informed and culturally safe decision making about aged care services.
    • Ibrahim Javed (EL1): Role of Gut-Bacteria in Dementia and Implications for Future Nanomedicine.
    • Aleksandr Kakinen (EL1): Inflammation and chronic infections in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease: the role of amyloid cross-seeding.
    • Elie Matar (EL1): From dreams to delirium and dementia: Cognitive fluctuations as a window into novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for neurodegeneration.
    • Yijun Pan (EL1): Precise medication use in people with Alzheimer's disease.
    • Nady Braidy (EL2): Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide as a novel target for ageing and dementia.
    • Angela D'Rozario (EL2): Investigating sleep biomarkers of cognitive impairment and improving cognitive outcomes through targeted sleep interventions in adults at risk for dementia.
    • Ramon Landin-Romero (EL2): Bridging the clinico-pathological divide: improving neuroimaging analysis and applications in dementia.
    • Nawaf Yassi (EL2): Tau - A diagnostic and therapeutic target in Alzheimer's Disease.
  • 2020: Three Centres of Research Excellence (CRE) grants in dementia research were awarded to a total value of $9 million:
    • Professor Perminder Sachdev: Vascular Contributions to Dementia (VCD-CRE) – a transformative approach to reducing the burden of cognitive disorders.
    • Associate Professor Dina LoGiudice: On TRACK (Teaching, Research and Community Knowledges): CRE promoting brain health with older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
    • Associate Professor Scott Ayton: Centre of research Excellence in Enhanced Dementia Diagnosis (CREEDD).
    • Further information is available at Centres of Research Excellence.
  • Information on current and future NHMRC funding opportunities is available at Find Funding:
    • In 2022, there was an NHMRC Targeted Call for Research (TCR) funding call on ‘Cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity in dementia research’ which aimed to stimulate research that includes culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse individuals and is conducted in a culturally safe and appropriate manner.
    • In 2023, an additional $7 million funding was allocated towards the Ideas Grant round to support innovative dementia research projects led by early to mid-career investigators.

Funding facts

Since 2013, we have awarded over $549 million in direct funding to 496 dementia research projects. Forty-four percent of the grants have been in basic science research, followed by clinical medicine and science research (38%), public health research (10%) and health services research (8%). See the NHMRC Dementia Funding Outcomes Data (available in Downloads below) for all dementia research funded through NHMRC funding schemes since 2013.

Resources

Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation

The Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation (available in Downloads below) outlines the priorities for dementia research in Australia identified through the NNIDR.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation (available in Downloads below) provides a framework for policy, strategy and funding to address the challenge of dementia within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - for people currently living with dementia, their families and carers.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Dementia Research Action Plan

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Dementia Research Action Plan includes research priorities and guiding principles identified to increase inclusion of CALD Australians in dementia research, and improve dementia health and care equity for all Australians. The Action Plan was developed by the NNIDR and the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI). For further information, please refer to the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research.

Dementia research outcomes

We are committed to evaluating the significant $200 million BDRI investment to better understand the impact of dementia research funding and to identify areas of need for future investment in this area.

Consumer involvement in dementia research

We understand and value the importance of meaningful engagement with consumers throughout all stages of research and health care. We encourage the active involvement of people living with dementia, their carers and families, and the wider community in dementia research. More information can be found at NHMRC consumer and community engagement.

Contact

Email dementia.research@nhmrc.gov.au


1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2023) Dementia in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government