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Racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart OBE’s Race Against Dementia charity and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation have announced the launch of a new Australian dementia research fellowship.
The ‘Race Against Dementia – Dementia Australia Research Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship’ programme will support two early career researchers in the field of dementia prevention or treatment.
Sir Jackie was named as an Honorary International Dementia Australia Ambassador earlier this year, and said he was delighted to be in partnership with the Dementia Australia Research Foundation to demonstrate Race Against Dementia’s global commitment to moving forward with funding dementia research.
“My wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2014, and ever since then I have devoted my efforts globally to raise funds and stimulate breakthroughs and innovations in dementia research,” Sir Jackie said.
“Race Against Dementia’s vision is to apply a ‘Formula 1 attitude’ to work faster and smarter in order to achieve a breakthrough in the prevention or treatment of dementia. Formula 1 has the fastest problem-solving capability in the world, faster than aerospace, and it is this capacity that we need to build in dementia research.
“A key priority for Race Against Dementia is to form strong alliances with research centres of excellence globally and by establishing this fellowship we recognise Australia among this group and hope to attract the best and brightest researchers in this field.”
Sir Jackie had planned to announce this news in March during the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at a gala event that had been the inspiration of Melbourne based property investor, Craig Joel who has thrown his passionate commitment behind the cause in honour of the long standing friendship between his late father Jack and Sir Jackie.
The Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, said despite COVID-19 causing the event cancellation, Sir Jackie wished to honour his pledge and in so doing, acknowledge Mr Joel for his commitment to supporting Australian dementia researchers.
“We too acknowledge Mr Joel for his enthusiasm and generosity of time and spirit to help to make this programme a reality,” Professor Samuel said. “And we are absolutely delighted to launch the fellowship powered by Sir Jackie’s vision and commitment to dementia research.
“With the number of Australians living with dementia expected to increase to almost 1.1 million by 2058, research into dementia is now more urgent than ever.
“By supporting up-and-coming researchers, we will be able to target the brightest new minds whilst at a critical crossroads for choosing a research path.
“This means that we are not only supporting them to solve another piece of the dementia puzzle now, but hopefully cementing their career-long focus on dementia research.
“These fellowships form part of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation’s 2020 grant round, with over $1.7 million in funding on offer for early-career researchers.
“This is a fantastic initiative and successful applicants will have extended opportunity to develop global networks and collaborate through the Race Against Dementia network.”
The Post-doctoral Fellowships in Australia will become the third major Race Against Dementia fellowship programme alongside Alzheimer’s Research UK and The Mayo Clinic, USA.
Two, three-year dementia research fellowships of $405,000 will be awarded, in biomedical, clinical or psychosocial areas of dementia research. Fellowships include a generous salary as well as funding for project expenses.
Fellowship applications are open now and close on 21 August 2020 with the grant recipients to be announced in January 2021. All details will be available at www.dementia.org.au/research/grants and www.raceagainstdementia.com.