Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation

The Strategic Roadmap for Dementia Research and Translation outlines the priorities for dementia research in Australia and the vision, objectives and principles for NNIDR that underpin our activities. It was adopted in 2016, updated in July 2017 and most recently reviewed in 2018 following an extensive stakeholder consultation process.

Following three years of signficant Boosting Dementia Research Initiative investment and activity, the 2018 Review recommended a substantial revision to the Roadmap to:

  • continue to advance research delivered under the Initiative
  • address current and emerging research and translation priority areas
  • ensure the Roadmap reflects emerging dementia research issues and opportunities.

NNIDR is pleased to launch the 2019 Strategic Roadmap. An accompanying Outcomes Statement outlines goals for the dementia research sector in adopting Roadmap recommendations.

Information on the Roadmap's new priority areas is provided below.

Diagnosis: The 2018 Roadmap Review found that diagnosis is foundational to all aspects of dementia research. Prevention and risk reduction measures will be very different across different types of dementia, as will new treatment. Accurate and timely diagnosis is also critical for improved life outcomes and quality care. The Roadmap now prioritises the development of new personalised, less invasive diagnostic approaches for use in the primary care setting to acheive more robest characterisation of research participants, and to provide more reliable information of dementia incidence and prevalence, by sub-type.

Prevention: The 2018 Review told us we should strive to develop a more complete understanding of how genetics, interventions, and environmental exposures interact to increase or reduce vulnerability, as these factors apply across the dementia sub-types. With robust evidence, actions can be taken that will achieve impact at both the individual and the whole of population level.

Review findings on intervention and treatment have sharpened the Roadmap's focus toward developing a much deeper understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. The Roadmap now also prioritises ensuring health system readiness for a cure, and partnering with major international drug development programs.

Interventions directed at improving the lives of people with dementia in the community are also likely to contribute to quality care. The care pathway and transitions between levels of care are not always linear. Care provision may be formal or informal, delivered in the community, in the family or in care organisations. Consultations brought these factors to the forefront to establish a Roadmap research work program that recognises the interdependencies between levels of care and strives to allow people withd ementia to live well for longer in all settings.

The 2018 Review brought together researchers currently funded through the Initiative, and involved national consultations across urban, regional and remote communities. A new priority has emerged from this work - to take a strengths-based and healing-centred approach, and to coordinate the current effort to deliver optimal access to the highest standards of diagnosis, treatment and care. Research should involve and engage communities, build capacity with communities and within the research workforce, and be responsive to culture and the importance of the role of, and respect for, elders with dementia. This priority and Roadmap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Research and Translation advances NHMRC Road Map 3 and the Australian Government's National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.

The Boosting Dementia Research Initiative has greatly expanded the Australian dementia research workforce. NNIDR has brought together Australia's national health and medical research funding agency and Australia's peak body addressing the needs of people with dementia, their families and carers. SIgnificant progress has been made toward prevention, cure and care. This new priority draws attention to the need to embed this growth and development within the Australian innovation system for the longer term.