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Multimillion euro boost to international dementia research

8 Oct 2015

Twenty one research projects have won a total of €35 million (£25.7 million) in a transnational scheme to boost research into neurodegenerative diseases, according to an announcement made by the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) today. Nine of the 21 successful collaboration projects involve UK research teams who will receive MRC funds through the JPND initiative. The winning projects will help researchers to better understand, treat and eventually prevent a wide range of debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.

The selected projects span Europe, as well as Canada, Switzerland and Australia, and aim to foster exciting international collaborations in three key research areas:  Risk and Protective Factors, Animal and Cell Models and Longitudinal Cohorts. The funding scheme behind the awards – known as JPcofuND, represents a new approach that has brought together funds from the JPND member organisations with the European Commission, to double the number of possible awards.

Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the toughest medical and economic challenges facing our global community. Dementias alone affect more than 7 million people in Europe and their care is estimated to cost EUR 130 billion a year. The incidence of dementia will continue to grow as our population ages, with the number of people affected predicted to double within the next 20 years.

The JPND was established by European funding agencies, including the MRC, to address the growing societal challenge presented by age-related neurodegeneration. The initiative aims to increase coordination of European research efforts in this area and 30 countries currently participate. JPND projects involve collaborative effort, spanning European and beyond, across a range of different disciplines.

The MRC is the funder for UK groups participating within this JPND call and is investing £2.5 million in support of UK-based research in nine out of the 21 successful projects

Dr Rob Buckle, Director of Science Programmes at the Medical Research Council, said:

“Effective collaboration will be at the heart of the solution to how we understand and then tackle the dementias. These exciting new projects will allow world leading scientists work together to accelerate research progress and ultimately improve the lives of the millions of people with neurodegenerative disease. We’re proud to help spearhead collaborations across Europe and beyond.”

Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board and coordinator of the JPco-fuND initiative said:

We are delighted to be able to fund so many high quality proposals. Without the positive interaction of different JPND agencies to optimize the use of their earmarked budgets and the synergy established with Horizon 2020 through the ERA-NET Co-fund, we could only have funded half as many awards. This is a significant scale-up of implementation of the JPND research strategy, and a major step forward towards the alignment of European Member States, Associated countries and three third countries -Canada, Switzerland and Australia - to tackle altogether more efficiently the global challenge of neurodegenerative disease”

The 9 JPND projects involving UK teams funded through this scheme are [in alphabetical order]:

  1. ADAGE: Alzheimer’s Disease pathology within the ageing physiology

UK Partner: Dr Kevin Mills, University College of London (UCL), United Kingdom

  1. aSynProtec: Alpha-synuclein pathology propagation in Parkinson’s disease and quest for novel protective strategies

UK Partner: Professor Richard Wade-Martins, Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

  1. BRIDGET: Brain imaging, cognition, dementia and next generation GEnomics: a Transdisciplinary approach to search for risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative disease

UK Partner: Professor Ian Deary, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

  1. EADB: A European DNA bank for deciphering the missing heritability of Alzheimer’s disease

UK Partner: Dr Rebecca Sims, Cardiff University, UK

  1. EPI-AD: Targeting epigenetic dysregulation in the brainstem in Alzheimer’s Disease

UK Partner: Dr Katie Lunnon, University of Exeter Medical School, UK

  1. ESMI: European Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/Machado-Joseph Disease Initiative

UK Partner: Dr Paola Giunti, University College London, United Kingdom

  1. GBA-PARK: GBA1 mutations in Parkinson disease: clinical and biochemical prodrome, risk profile and pathogenetic modelling for therapeutic intervention.

UK Coordinator: Professor Tony Schapira, MRC-University College London, UK

  1. INSTALZ: Genomic Instability in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders: a Single-Cell Approach

UK Partner: Assistant Professor Thierry Voet, Sanger Institute-EBI Single-Cell Genomics Centre, Cambridge, UK

  1. REfrAME: Pathway complexities of protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases: a novel approach to risks evaluation and model development

UK Partner: Dr Michel Goedert, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC, Cambridge, UK

Image credit: National Cancer Institute


  • Categories: Funding
  • Health categories: Neurological
  • Locations: Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Oxford, Other
  • Type: News article