UON awarded $3.2 million in funding for dementia research

Thursday, 3 August 2017


The University of Newcastle (UON) has been awarded more than $3.2 million by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to improve the wellbeing and outcomes for people living with dementia.

Picture of dementia patient with carer

The funding includes two research grants and one fellowship, and is part of the Federal Government’s $40 million commitment to improving the lives of Australian’s fighting dementia.

A Boosting Dementia Research Grant of $1,312,455 million has been awarded to Laureate Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher, an international leader in health-behaviour research, to implement a web-based program to detect and meet the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers living in rural areas.

Professor Sanson-Fisher and his team will adapt an existing European program to an Australian context and examine its ability to improve the quality of life for people affected by dementia living in rural and regional communities.

A second grant of $1,251,378 million was also awarded to NHMRC-ARC Dementia Fellow, Dr Jamie Bryant, to improve the timely diagnosis and provision of best care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia.

Dr Bryant and her team will work with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) to increase the identification of Aboriginal people living with dementia and ensure they receive appropriate support services and referrals.

A Boosting Dementia Research Leadership Fellowship of $719,339 was awarded to behavioural science researcher, Dr Mariko Carey, to address the gaps in dementia care research.

Dr Carey will build evidence for improving outcomes for people living with dementia and their support persons through two themes. The first will gather descriptive data on the experience of person-centered care, and the second will evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in the primary care and community setting.

UON’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Kevin Hall, said the funding success will drive vital new research projects and facilitate outcomes in a global public health priority area.

“These results are testament to the outstanding quality of research being undertaken at the University of Newcastle by our leading researchers. This NHMRC funding will enable critical research and deliver innovative solutions to address the needs of the nation’s aging population,” Professor Hall said.

All three recipients are members of UON’s Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s (HMRI*) Public Health Group.

HMRI Director, Professor Michael Nilsson, said that dementia has a significant impact on individuals, their support networks and care services.

“Broadening the scope of high-quality translational research for this disease will significantly help to improve short and long-term health outcomes for people with dementia and those surrounding them. HMRI looks forward to supporting and facilitating this leading research,” Professor Nilsson said.

*HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.