Newsletter June 2020: Special Issue

DEMON Network Latest News and Opportunities
Special Issue: Our National Strategy and Grand Challenges

It’s been a busy month for the Network! This Special Issue includes important updates from our National Strategy Workshop, with the results of our members survey and the opportunity to get involved in Working Groups to tackle our Grand Challenges
With a recent influx of new members, we now have over 430 talented innovators in our Network spanning 21 countries, 68 universities and 35 commercial companies. Together, we are perfectly positioned to take on ambitious, high impact dementia research. In this issue we are delighted to present our newly established research support services, upcoming events, Early Career Researcher opportunities, invitations to collaborate and new ways to connect with the Network. I hope you enjoy this Special Issue newsletter, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the near future!

Dr Janice Ranson, Network Deputy Director

Survey Results
We had a fantastic response to our recent Collaborative Research Initiatives Survey. Read the survey report.Lecture Series: Our monthly Lecture Series will be launched in September, and over 30 innovators have already offered to deliver a lecture. 
Commercialisation: Over half of our membership is interested in commercialising their research. Forging industry partnerships will be a key feature in our Network activities.
Collaborative research: With over 100 members already having offered to contribute to collaborative papers and grants, there is huge resource within the Network for a large programme of research and innovation.

National Strategy Workshop Report
Last week we convened our 36-strong leadership team of Regional Leads, National Theme Leads and Steering Committee to hold a National Strategy Workshop, chaired by Network Lead Prof David Llewellyn. At this workshop we set out our Grand Challenges and initiated Working Groups for collaborative research.
Read David’s account of the workshop.

DEMON Network Grand Challenges
Based on the priorities of the Network, we set out five Grand Challenges the Network aims to tackle in dementia research:

Intelligent Experimental Medicine
Enhanced Dementia Diagnostics
Preventing Dementia
Artificial Clinical Intelligence
Optimised Research Methods

Collaborative Research

Working Groups to tackle our Grand Challenges
We have established 8 Working Groups for our Network to drive forward collaborative research initiatives. These are practical groups which address the Grand Challenges by producing publications, developing partnerships, securing funding and running educational knowledge transfer events. There are lots of ways for members to get involved.
  1. Genetics and Omics
  2. Experimental models
  3. Drug discovery and trials optimisation
  4. Biomarkers
  5. Imaging
  6. Prevention
  7. Applied modelling and digital health
  8. Methods
Working Groups are now open for members to join and we strongly encourage members at all career levels and from a variety of backgrounds to participate. There is also the opportunity to apply to lead a Working Group. 

Support for Researchers

Clinical Advisory Panel

Our Clinical Advisory Panel is made up of experienced clinicians from primary and secondary care who can provide clinical input to strengthen your research projects and funding applications.

Patient and Public Involvement Panel

Our panel of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) contributors can work in partnership with you to design, conduct, evaluate and communicate high quality research.

Upcoming Events

DEMON Network – UK DRI
Research Showcase

DEMON Network & UK DRI: Driving forward experimental dementia research using data science and AI

DEMON Network members are exclusively invited to attend this event. Introduced by UK DRI Director of Scientific Affairs Dr Giovanna Lalli, four of our talented members will showcase our Network and how we are using data science and AI to transform dementia research. Definitely not one to miss! 

Date: 12.00 – 1.30 pm (BST) Friday, 17th July 2020
Location: Virtual Zoom Webinar
Cost: Free

AAIC  > 2020
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® is the largest and most influential international meeting dedicated to advancing dementia science. Each year, AAIC® convenes the world’s leading dementia researchers and clinicians to share breaking research discoveries for the prevention, treatment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Knowledge Transfer Network
Dementia Biodesign Workshop 

The Knowledge Transfer Network Neurotechnology Special Interest Group is holding the fourth in its series of biodesign workshops in collaboration with the UK Dementia Research Institute. The workshop will explore novel neurotechnologies to treat dementia, discuss barriers to adoption and new opportunities in the field. This will bring together clinicians, companies, academics, charities and other stakeholders, to accelerate the development of new neurotechnologies for dementia.

Date: 10am – 12pm Wednesday 16th September 2020
Cost: Free

Scottish Dementia Research Consortium
Annual Conference 2020

The fifth annual Scottish Dementia Research Consortium (SDRC) welcomes members of the SDRC and everyone with an interest in dementia research. This year’s SDRC Conference, titled “Unlocking the mysteries of data” will shed light on the world of informatics and how it is used for brain health research.

Date: 7th September 2020
Location: Radisson Blu, Glasgow
Cost: Free

Early Career Researchers

Drop-in Session with Early Career Development National Leads

Dr Michele Veldsman and Dr Magda Bucholc will be hosting a one-hour online morning coffee and chat session, where they will be available to discuss all things early career related, and are keen to hear your suggestions on ways the Network can help Early Career Researchers with skills development and career progression. Register now to secure your place!

Date: 9am – 10am 13th July 2020
Places available: 15

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme: Unleash your ingenuity

YES is an innovative global competition developed to raise awareness among postdoctoral researchers of how ideas from science and engineering can be commercialised. You will spend three days immersed in developing enterprise skills; thinking creatively to produce innovative solutions to major challenges; discovering how to communicate research with impact; and networking with industry experts.
Challenge yourself and pitch for a share of the £15k+ prize fund at the Royal Society!

Application deadline: Friday 31st July 2020
For further info:

Scottish Dementia Research Consortium
Early Career Researcher Workshop

This one-day grant writing and collaboration workshop will focus on supporting early career researchers through the process of applying for research funding. This includes collaboratively developing ideas, innovation, selecting appropriate funding calls through to writing successful applications.

Date: 8th September 2020
Location: Radisson Blu, Glasgow
Register here
Cost: Free

Invitation to Collaborate

Genetic (RNA sequencing) data collaboration

Our Midlands Regional Lead Dr Anto Rajamani and colleagues recently published their investigation of post-mortem Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) brains using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). They identified 12 genome-wide significant differentially expressed genes and their dysfunctional molecular networks. If you are interested in doing secondary and/or functional analyses of RNA-Seq data, Anto would be delighted to share their data. This collaboration may lead to publications, grant applications, and discovery of novel biomarkers.

Connect with the Network


Join the discussion! General Channel for all Network members, and dedicated channels for Working Groups.

Twitter: @DemonNetworkUK

Research news and opportunities all things data science and dementia.


Follow us to be part of our LinkedIn community. 

Do you have news, opportunities or events you’d like us to include in the next DEMON Network newsletter? New research that you’d like us to feature?
Please email any content to Network Coordinator Dr Janice Ranson.

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