UCL Grand Challenges


Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Dementia

Report on the outcomes of a research into non-pharmacological interventions for dementia, funded by UCL Grand Challenges and the University of Hong Kong.

Non Pharmacological Interventions for Dementia

11 June 2018


Grant: Hong Kong University and Grand Challenges
Year awarded: 2016-17
Amount awarded: £10,000 from UCL and HK$100,000 (~£10,000) from HKU


  • Dr Aimee Spector, UCL Clinical, Educational & Heath Psychology
  • Dr Gloria Wong, HKU Department of Social Work and Social Administration

Dr Aimee Spector (Reader in Clinical Psychology, UCL Clinical, Educational & Heath Psychology) and Dr Gloria Wong (Assistant Professor, HKU Department of Social Work and Social Administration) received funding for their collaboration: HKU and UCL leading innovations in non-pharmacological interventions for dementia.

This award provided funding to develop a solid partnership between The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and University College London (UCL) in dementia research.

“A key focus is my link with Hong Kong University. I was fortunate to receive funding from UCL Grand Challenges for the UCL-HKU Strategic partnership fund, to develop a solid partnership between UCL and HKU in leading innovations in non-pharmacological interventions for dementia. Dr Aimee Spector, UCL Clinical, Educational & Heath Psychology

2nd International CST Conference

Group photo with representatives from UK, US, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Brazil, Beijing, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The University of Hong Kong hosted the 2nd International CST Conference, which brought together a broad community of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy scholars. Over two and a half days of workshops and conference, renowned scientists and enthusiastic practitioners from the fields of social work, psychology, occupational therapy, nursing, speech therapy, physiotherapy, neurology, psychiatry and geriatric medicine gathered to share the latest CST practice and science.

Representatives came from the UK, US, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Brazil, Beijing, Taiwan, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The event is aimed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and development of collaborations across disciplines and sectors. The  2nd International Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Conference was chaired by Dr Aimee Spector (UCL) and Dr Gloria Hoi-yan Wong (HKU).

Drs Spector and Wong, working with other UCL and HKU colleagues,  have made strong progress in their collaboration, supported by one of the two inaugural year (2016-17) HKU-UCL joint awards. Their partnership is on track to generate a set of pilot international multicentre research data that will lead to at least two international peer-reviewed journal papers and one successful joint institute research grant proposal to support a long term partnership. Evidence generated from the research will be translated into guidelines and policy briefs to inform and lobby policymakers around the globe in implementing best practice in dementia care. Dr Ian Scott. Director of UCL Grand Challenges & Cross-Disciplinary Development 

Impact and Outputs

> Interim Project report
Appendix 1: International CST Conference Report

Further work

Continuing on this collaboration, Aimee and Gloria are jointly supervising three doctoral students, and are planning on replicating the feasibility testing of technology-based Cognitive Stimulation Therapy in the UK. They are organising a workshop in HKU in 2020, where they will reconnect with attendees of the 2017 conference and invite new members across Asia, discussing and working on cultural adaptations of CST.

Aimee also received the UCL-PKU Strategic Partner Fund, supporting a collaboration with Peking University to improve care, cognition and quality of life for people with dementia in China.