UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UCL awarded £13.5 million to advance medical research facilities

23 October 2014

As part of the Clinical Research Infrastructure Initiative, UCL has been awarded £13.5 million for a number of projects to help advance clinical research.

The award was announced today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne as part of a £230 million investment, led by the Medical Research Council (MRC), into state-of-the-art technologies aimed at identifying the causes of diseases such as cancer and dementia and dramatically speeding up diagnosis and treatment.

Speaking in Exeter, Chancellor George Osborne said: “The funding will go to 23 truly innovative projects from across the UK today that represent the best of British ingenuity and scientific exploration. The Government, charities, universities and industry will be working together to advance our knowledge in combatting the biggest medical challenges of our time.”

The UCL projects that will benefit from the award include:

UK Dementias Research Platform (£36.8M, £3.4m for UCL)

The UK Dementias Platform (UKDP) is a radically new approach to dementias research, bringing together data from around 2 million study participants to try establish the causes of dementia and to discover ways of slowing it down. The platform, launched in 2014, is a collaborative network of UK Universities, including UCL, and pharmaceutical companies.

The award of £36.8 million, of which UCL will receive £3.4 million, will go towards improving the UK infrastructure for dementias research through three themes – imaging, informatics and stem cells. A network of new machines that can combine positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI will be established across the UK, clinical data will be made more accessible for researchers and stem cells from adults, both with and without dementia, will be studies to establish how cells change with the progression of dementia.

Dementia Imaging (£1.2M)

The group headed by Professor Tarek Yousry (Brain Repair & Rehabilitation, UCL Institute of Neurology) and Professor Nick Fox (Neurodegenerative Diseases, UCL Institute of Neurology) will use innovative MRI technology in their dedicated Dementia Research Scanner Centre to maintain and enhance UCL’s position as a leader in clinically applied dementia imaging research.

The award will be used to upgrade the existing 3T MRI scanner, which will not only enhance imaging capabilities locally but also help to direct major multi-centre clinical trials in dementia – which are increasingly reliant on 3T infrastructure.