UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Over 350 early career researchers sign up to new website set up by the NDDR

24 May 2018

A new website launched in March 2018, aimed at improving support and resources for ECRs with an interest in the dementias.

NDDR Dementia Researcher logo

A new website - developed by the office of the National Director for Dementia Research with support from Alzheimer's Research UK, Alzheimer's Society and the Medical Research Council​ - was launched at the Alzheimer’s Research UK annual conference in March. The event, attended by over 650 delegates, saw Professor Martin Rossor take to the stage to introduce the Dementia Researcher website.

Professor Rossor said:

“It is vital we support and encourage the next generation of dementia researchers. We are delighted that the new ECR website is providing a platform to orientate those wishing to focus their research careers in tackling dementia”.

The office for the National Director for Dementia Research, created the website in response to a key objective of the Dementia Challenge 2020: to increase the number of new researchers entering the field. It provides a variety of support and resources for early career researchers – covering jobs and funding opportunities, how to produce grant proposals, opportunities to ‘ask a dementia expert’, and a range of podcasts. 

To date, registrations for the site have far exceeded expectations, with over 350 people signing up within the first two months of launching. There have been over 26,000 page views and the podcast collection has been listened to over 1000 times.

Dr Megan O’Hare, Research Associate at the NDDR said:

“We are delighted with the response we’ve had to the site so far. All the feedback we have received has been extremely positive – it’s proving to be a great source of support and inspiration for those starting out in their career”.

Since the launch, the NDDR team have been promoting the website at a variety of early career events across the country. Most recently Dr Charlotte Stoner, a Research Associate at the NDDR, travelled to Birmingham for the Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) Midlands Network Early Careers Day. The event was a collaboration between Aston University, The University of Nottingham and ARUK and attendees were a mix of PhD students, NHS staff and post-doctoral research associates. 

Dr Stoner said:

“Attendees were keen to hear more about the Dementia Researcher website and see it in action. I got some interesting feedback from a person living with dementia, who wondered if there were plans to involve patients on the website. It’s a great suggestion and I think it would work really well as a podcast or guest blog.”

Dr O’Hare, travelled to Edinburgh to present the website to an audience of social scientists in the midst of their PhDs at the inaugural meeting of the Forging New Frontiers in Dementia Research group. She said:

“The website was very well received by the delegates all at a stage in their careers where they are looking to the next step after their PhD. The atmosphere was one of connection and collaboration and the website seemed to chime well with the delegates as a place to keep in touch after the meeting.” 

Also in Scotland, Dr Stoner travelled to Glasgow for the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium (SDRC) where she presented an exhibit for the website. Over 100 people attended the event, where there was a special focus on PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs). Many of the speakers discussed the triumphs and challenges associated with being an early career researcher working in the dementia field. Attendees were enthusiastic about the website and the need for it, with one academic expressing an interest in collaborating on Scottish events and a few ECRs signing up during the consortium. One early career researcher even got in touch after the event to ask if they could write a blog about their work for the website.

As the website continues to grow, the NDDR team are now considering other ways they can support this community.