The inaugural Australian Dementia Forum took place at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane over 3 days from 1 to 3 May 2016. This was the first marquee event hosted by the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR).
The Australian Dementia Forum had a robust and inclusive program. The program featured international keynote speakers as well as Australia’s leading dementia researchers, as well as contributions from consumers in each session.
The program was developed by the Secretariat in conjunction with the Program Committee which consisted of members of the NNIDR Expert Advisory Panel and Board and other invitees. The objective was to provide insight into the current state of research in each priority area, and to highlight NNIDR research including the Dementia Research Team Grants, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellows, and the ex officio members of the Institute; the Dementia Collaborative Research Centres (DCRCs) and NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre (CDPC). Suitability to program, diversity and gender balance were also key criteria for speaker selection.
The Forum was split over three days and provided a unique blend of research, education, inspiration and networking. The program covered four main themes:
These themes were derived from the ‘Priority Framework’ which is the basis for the NNIDR strategic roadmap for dementia research and translation. A range of consumer contributions were integrated into each session. In addition, the Forum included a short ‘mini-session’ on dementia in indigenous communities.
Feature keynote speeches were given by international and Australian experts including the 2015 Breakthrough Prize winner Professor John Hardy from the UCL Institute of Neurology in London, Professor Pierluigi Nicotera from DZNE in Germany and Australia’s Professor Glenda Halliday from NeuRA.
In order to showcase the range of NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellows, two innovative ‘rapid fire’ sessions were introduced to the program. Each fellow was given only 3 minutes to describe their research project to the audience. The audience then voted for the best presentations, and 6 Fellows (3 from each session) were awarded prizes for their talks.