UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL is formally opened

24 July 2018

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) has officially opened its hub facility at UCL, marking the "beginning of the end for dementia".

DRI launch

Launched in 2016, the UK DRI has received significant investment from three founding partners: the Medical Research Council, the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Headquartered at UCL, the UK DRI is made up of world-leading academics, whose work is helping benefit the lives of millions of people living with dementia now and in the future.  

In opening the hub this month (July 19) Professor Nick Fox, Associate Director at the UK DRI at UCL, said: “This is the beginning of the end for dementia. We have no other choice: we can, will and must find treatments. We will look back at today and see this as the start of a change.”

The UK DRI has been set up to find scientific solutions to one of society’s biggest health challenges: over 1 million people are expected to have dementia in the UK by 2025.

The five other universities that make up the UK DRI are: University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, and King’s College London. 

UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, said: “Opening the interim home of the UK DRI feels like we are on the precipice of something really exciting. These new labs have been designed for the specific needs of the scientists who will work here.”

Professor Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director, said: “We have a huge knowledge gap in dementia – our mission at the UK DRI is to fill that gap. I see our UCL hub as part of a virtual UK DRI building – each of our centres nationally are a different floor and we work closely together to tackle neurodegenerative diseases.”

In the spirit of collaboration, a ribbon was held together while two special guests performed the cutting to mark the celebratory occasion.

Shaheen Larrieux, who cares for her mother who is living with frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), has been involved with the UK DRI from the beginning. She sat on the advisory panel for the appointment of the Director and has since been an ambassador, including representing the UK DRI in the Parliament.

Shaheen said: "In my lifetime, I want to see the UK DRI find treatments, so people like me don’t have to go through as much heartbreak."

Sir Malcolm Walker, CEO of Iceland Foods Limited, has been a major supporter of dementia research at UCL and has given £10 million in support of this initiative. 

The UK DRI at UCL, which is currently based at UCL’s Cruciform Building, already has twelve large programmes are already underway, and the Institute has attracted international academics, with more recruitment underway.

The UK DRI has received a £40 million in UK Government funding via the Medical Research Council, helping ensure its pioneering research is conducted in first-class facilities.

The money will be used to help develop a new £250 million building at UCL, which will host the central hub of the UK DRI, alongside the world-class UCL Institute of Neurology.

The new building will be part of large redevelopment at the Eastman Dental Hospital, Gray’s Inn Road, London, which UCLH has agreed to sell to UCL. The redevelopment will start in 2019 when the hospital moves to a new facility.