The Discovery Awards – the first competition for funding offered by DPUK – are launched as significant new data comes online in a major new resource for the dementia research community.
The Data Portal – a rich bank of research data, highly relevant to studies into dementia – now contains records for over 572k participants, and includes brain scans, genetic data, clinical records and cognitive test data. The launch of the Discovery Awards underlies DPUK’s commitment to scaling up dementia research using this data, and facilitating better understanding of brain diseases in their early stages.
The Data Portal
One of the keys to investigating the complex mechanisms that lead to dementia – and how we can prevent or treat it – is to be able to look into the details of the disease over time, and to look into this detail at scale. By bringing together ‘cohort’ studies – longstanding scientific studies that have conducted repeated medical tests on groups of research participants – DPUK is creating the world’s richest single source of cohort data for those conducting research into dementia.
Any bona fide researcher can now access this wealth of data from anywhere in the world, more quickly, easily and securely than ever before. Following approval, researchers work in a virtual desktop – a first for the dementia research sector, which enables researchers to harness DPUK’s vast processing power and work efficiently with huge volumes of data.
Currently, studies are being conducted within the data portal on topics ranging from investigation into super-agers, to the effect of BMI on cognitive function, and DPUK looks forward to the range and number of studies taking place dramatically increasing as more researchers find out about the technology and opportunities available to them.
The Discovery Awards
The Discovery Awards are designed to encourage and promote research within the Data Portal. Individual grants of up to £50k will be awarded to researchers for the best proposals for data analysis and DPUK is keen to see researchers from as broad a range of backgrounds and interests as possible apply for the funding.
The Data Portal is a resource for researchers in universities and industry around the world. New insights will be hidden within the data in the portal, and we are supporting the best studies to find them and advance our efforts to develop treatments for dementia
John Gallacher, Director of DPUK
Applications are open now and the closing date is Friday 6 April 2018 . Award winners will be announced at the DPUK conference on 23 April 2018. Find out more about the Discovery Awards.
Learning how to use the portal
As part of its commitment to ongoing support for researchers investigating dementia, DPUK is establishing a programme of online and face-to-face researcher training in 2018. To support users of the portal and those wishing to apply for an award, interactive training webinars will be broadcast later this month, hosted by Chris Orton – DPUK’s Portal Development Lead – and Sarah Bauermeister – DPUK’s Data Coordinator, who has first-hand experience of using the Data Portal in her research.
Sarah says: “I hope that those who may have never used the portal before get the chance to become more familiar with the technology, and help to spark new research proposals.”
The DPUK Conference
The DPUK conference – a day-long event on 23 April this year in London – is also focused on supporting use of the Data Portal, and demonstrating the wider work that will draw on its resource. Researchers will be offered the chance to join practical workshops, learning alongside colleagues from a variety of sectors and contexts about what the Data Portal and other DPUK resources means for university researchers, and those working in industry in drug development.
By supporting as many researchers as possible to use the Data Portal, through both funding and ongoing training, DPUK hopes to increase the chances of generating new insights and accelerating our progress towards new treatments for dementia.