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Atlantic Philantrophies

'Atlantic Philantrophies and the HRB will combine to deliver a €4.7 million euro stimulus for practical applied dementia research that will target improved identification, prevention and care of dementia patients'.

- Ms Mary Sutton, Ireland's Country Director of Atlantic Philanthropies

National Dementia Strategy - background

At present, it is estimated that over 41,000 people in Ireland are living with dementia, with the number of people affected projected to reach between 141,000 and 147,000 by 2041.

The aims of the National Dementia Strategy are to:

  1. increase awareness,
  2. promote early diagnosis and intervention
  3. enhance community based services for people living with the condition.

New Research Dementia Programme

The HRB and Atlantic Philanthropies (AP) will fund a Programme in Applied Dementia Research, aligned to the themes, principles and values of the National Dementia Strategy.

Up to €4.57m funding for this research programme will be made available.

The Applied Dementia Research Programme will focus on health services, systems and policy research, and population health, with a particular focus on prevention, intervention and care. This is in line with the priorities set out in the National Dementia Strategy and AP’s interest in the area of health and social care.

The overall objectives are:

  1. to support high quality applied research in the area of dementia
  2. to develop capacity in the field
  3. to build a community of dementia-related researchers, practitioners,   patients and families, policymakers and other stakeholders.

The Programme, which will run from 2014 to 2019, will comprise three pillars:

  1. Applied research projects that address questions of clear strategic relevance to the National Dementia Strategy. Funding of up to €1.75m is available for this pillar of the investment programme. Subject to the number, nature and quality of applications received, this should typically support between three and five projects.  
  2. Capacity building awards at doctoral, post-doctoral and professorial levels. This is designed to develop Irish research capacity in dementia. A number of posts will be supported, including four PhD scholars in dementia research supported through the SPHeRE* programme, a targeted Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement (ICE) award in dementia research, and potentially, a Research Leader Award. Funding of up to €2.52 million is available for this pillar of the programme.
  3. Establishing a research and practice knowledge exchange network to bring dementia-related researchers, practitioners, policymakers, patients, families and other stakeholders together. This aim is to promote dementia research, support better use of research and provide a collective voice for researchers in wider policy debate. Funding of €300K is available for this pillar.
Details on the three pillars of the Applied Dementia Research Programme
Pillar 1: NDS Applied Research Fund

The HRB will launch a competitive call for proposals for applied research that address questions of clear strategic relevance to the National Dementia Strategy. Research proposals should relate to dementia and must align with the key themes, principles and values outlined in the National Dementia Strategy.

Funding of up to €1.75m is available for this pillar of the investment programme, and subject to the number, nature and quality of applications received, this should typically support between 3-5 projects. Applications will be selected using a competitive, two stage international peer review panel including a public/patient representative.

Proposals will:

  1. Address a question/s of clear strategic relevance and importance to the National Dementia Strategy and justify why this programme needs to be conducted now and in Ireland;
  2. Relate to Organisation and Delivery of Dementia Services, Management and Decision Making in Dementia Care, or Social, Economic and Policy Issues in Dementia Care;
  3. Involve collaborations between researchers, health and social care providers, carers, voluntary organisations  and other institutions, as is appropriate to the research topic;
  4. Describe the likely transferability of research findings into recommendations for policy and/or practice;
  5. Bring together a team with a strong expertise and track record across a range of disciplines relevant to the research topic, using rigorous methods, appropriate to the research questions.
  6. Include an appropriate Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination plan to ensure that findings and results are targeted to the relevant audiences such as policy makers, service providers, clinicians, managers, payers (including insurers) and/or users.
Pillar 2: Leadership and Capacity Development

To grow the field, nurture new talent, and promote senior leadership in dementia research and practice, HRB will incentivise applications to established HRB programmes (SPHeRE, ICE and Research Leaders) providing up to 7 individual opportunities in applied dementia research at doctoral and post-doctoral levels, and in addition one senior leader award at Professorial level. In all cases, successful applications will demonstrate relevance to the strategic priorities within the NDS, and preference will be given to applications that demonstrate collaboration between academic and practice and/or policy settings. Funding of up to €2.52m is available for this pillar of the investment programme.

  • Within the HRB’s established SPHeRE programme, four awards will be made for PhD level candidates specializing in dementia within a population health and HSR focus, to undertake a structured programme of training and supervision to equip them to work in real life settings, and including building generic skills such as teamwork, negotiation and networking/influencing. The programme includes the assignment of a mentor, and international placement, as well as completion of a thesis.
  • Within the HRB’s ICE Programme, scheduled to run in 2014-2015, support will be provided for an additional award in dementia. AP will fund the award which will support up to three post-docs working as part of an interdisciplinary team in dementia research, supervised by a broadly based applicant group of senior investigators drawn from academic institutions, service delivery organisations, and/or policy and health serviced decision makers.
  • HRB will incentivise applications for a Senior Research Leaders Award to a higher education institution that can demonstrate capacity to provide national interdisciplinary leadership in applied dementia research and policy/practice. Applicants in the area of dementia will be encouraged to submit an application through the HRB’s Research Leader’s scheme, scheduled to run in 2014 with awards made in 2015. However, funding for an award in dementia will not be ring-fenced and an award will only be made if it comes though the selection process. Should an award be made, it will support an appointment over 5 years at Professorial level. The successful institution must demonstrate strong institutional commitment including indefinite continuation after the end of the funded five years. Strong demonstrated relevance and linkage to the National Dementia Strategy is a requirement, with a preference for proposals that span a range of disciplines and capacities, and that have proven links to both implementation and policy networks. 
Pillar 3: Research and Practice Knowledge Exchange Network

HRB will support the establishment of an independent, multidisciplinary network of dementia-related researchers, practitioners, patients and families, policymakers and other stakeholders. A dementia network coordinator (60%WTE) will be recruited, and network activities will include:

  • developing a web-based interface for dementia researchers and/or policy makers and practitioners;
  • hosting events including conferences, guest lectures, research priority workshops, policy briefings
  • compiling a register of both current and prospective dementia researchers;
  • disseminating information on national and/or international funding opportunities and/or events related to dementia;
  • promoting interchange between researchers, service providers and policy makers to support better use of research, and providing a collective voice for researchers in wider policy debate;
  • providing links to tools, templates, research publications and other useful resources for researchers, practitioners and policymakers;
  • building international links with equivalent bodies.

A total of €300,000 will be invested in this network.

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