Partners from two of the most important research programmes in the dementia field – the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) initiative and the European Medical Information Framework (EMIF) – have published an article in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, titled “Better together for better dementia research and care” in the run up to the UK’s historic “EU Referendum” of 23 June. Voters will decide whether or not the UK should continue to be a Member State of the European Union (EU).
They argue that the EU has made dementia research a priority and has made substantial funds available for research that is driving faster, more effective clinical trials, which they say is the best hope of finding a disease-modifying therapy.
Both EMIF and EPAD are funded through the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a funding stream including both EU funding and matching funds from pharmaceutical industries. Both projects are led by UK partners and bring over EUR 17 million in direct funding to the UK.
Through the four IMI programmes that are focused on dementia, 24 UK institutions receive funding. In addition to IMI, dementia funding across Europe receives strong support from schemes such as the Centres of Excellence Network and the Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND). These collaborative programmes bring UK researchers together with some of the best scientists from across Europe, bring substantial funding to the UK and leverage funds from industry.
This research is also dependent on the free movement of scientists across Europe point out the authors. Collaboration between UK and EU scientists “brings knowledge, skills, and a vibrancy and energy to our work that would be missing were we not to be part of the EU”.
“As well as research, our membership in the EU enhances the patient and carer voice and contributes to best practice. Through our collaboration in Europe we have learnt from clinical service developments, refined tests and diagnostics, and through working closely with pan-European patient organisations, such as Alzheimer Europe, we are able to speak with a clearer, louder, and more consistent voice” the article concludes.