£1.5m awarded to establish first national dementia inequalities network

Dementia researchers from the University of Liverpool have been awarded £1.5m to establish the first national network dedicated to finding solutions to inequalities in dementia diagnosis and care.

Today (Monday 8 July), the Alzheimer’s Society, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) announced four dementia networks which will benefit from £5.5m funding – of which the ESRC Equalities in Dementia (EquaDem) Network Plus is one.

The network has been spearheaded by Dr Clarissa Giebel, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool. In collaboration with network co-lead Dame Louise Robinson, Regius Professor of Ageing at Newcastle University, they will bring together a network of people with academic, professional, and lived experience and expertise of dementia.

One million people are living with dementia in the UK, with numbers continuing to increase. People living with dementia and their unpaid carers often face many inequalities in accessing care and obtaining an assessment and diagnosis.

The EquaDem Network Plus aims to develop solutions to barriers in dementia diagnosis and care and impact clinical and social care practice. By closely working together with people living with dementia and unpaid carers, as well as care professionals and Third Sector organisations, the Network will create a Community of Research and Practice to find solutions to inequalities, linked to knowledge mobilisation internships and pilot projects. Their solutions include delivering key policy and practice guidance, alongside submitting evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia. This will be part of a wider strategy to communicate research findings to a range of audiences and policy makers who will focus on implementing their recommendations.

Dr Clarissa Giebel, Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Population Health at the University of Liverpool and at the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast said: “Sadly, our ongoing research illustrates the significant disparities in diagnoses and care with ‘postcode lotteries’ of access to help. We are already working regionally to bring together opinions, knowledge and voices to address these inequalities and I’m delighted that we can now do this nationally.”

Dame Louise Robinson, Professor of Primary Care and Ageing at Newcastle University added: “Inequalities in dementia care are widening. This network grant provides a unique opportunity to focus both on co-developing solutions with the people who experience these, and also to mentor and support our next generation of dementia care researchers.”

Comprising seven Universities, two national dementia charities, health and social care professionals and lived experts (carers, person living with dementia), and the University College London-based NIHR-funded ‘Dementia Researcher’ as core team members, the EquaDem Network Plus will host networking, capacity-building, and pilot-project activities over the next five years. The first in-person meeting and official launch event will be held at the University of Liverpool on the Wednesday 17 July – click here to register.

Besides the University of Liverpool and Newcastle University, the ESRC EquaDem Network Plus includes:

University of Manchester
King’s College London
University of Kent
Bournemouth University
University of Nottingham
Lewy Body Society
Dementia UK
Mersey Care
NIHR Dementia Researcher
Social Care Institute for Excellence

What is the Dementia Network Plus initiative?

The Dementia Network Plus initiative is a strategic investment that brings together four individual networks of multidisciplinary researchers, policymakers, professionals and lived experience experts that will provide leadership and knowledge exchange across a variety of sectors.

Unique to the initiative, each network has its own ‘plus funds’ a pot of flexible funding to develop, distribute and run opportunities for smaller projects and other activities throughout the lifetime of the award. These funds will help bring individuals and organisations into the network and grow further connections.

This initiative will drive positive change for those affected by dementia by focusing research efforts on the most important topics of inequality, dementia prevention, early diagnosis, and dementia workforce.

More about Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

ESRC funds world-leading research, data and post-graduate training in the economic, behavioural, social and data sciences to understand people and the world around us. Their work helps raise productivity, address climate change, improve public services and generate a prosperous, inclusive, healthy and secure society.