F1 champ’s charity awards dementia research grants

Allan Moffat (left) and Sir Jackie Stewart

Race Against Dementia, the charity founded by Sir Jackie Stewart, and Dementia Australia Research Foundation have announced the recipients of their inaugural Post-doctoral Fellowship Programme.

Dr Adekunle Bademosi from The University of Queensland and Dr Andrew McKinnon from The University of Sydney will each receive an award valued at $405,000 in total, over three years, which will cover salary and project expenses.

The funding will help further research into frontotemporal dementia, and characterise sleep problems in older adults with early dementia.

“Congratulations to Dr Bademosi and Dr McKinnon on being chosen from more than 40 high quality applications,” Stewart said.

“Race Against Dementia is building an international team of dementia scientists, who not only have their research funded, but also benefit from developmental opportunities, inspired by best practice in Formula 1 technology from both McLaren F1 and Red Bull Racing as well as other high tech commercial enterprises.

“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.

“I hope this award assists the recipients, and the research community more broadly, to apply a ‘Formula 1 attitude’ to work faster and smarter and continue to make breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of dementia.”

Stewart with his wife, Helen, in 2009

It was announced last July that Stewart’s Race Against Dementia charity and Dementia Australia Research Foundation would launch the research fellowship.

The programme was planned to be launched at a gala dinner last March, though that had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of that event, Stewart appeared with four-time Australian Touring Car Championship winner Allan Moffat, who was diagnosed with early stages of dementia five years ago.

Both Moffat and Stewart were were made official ambassadors for Dementia Australia in the lead up to last year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

The Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Professor Graeme Samuel AC, congratulated the recipients for their commitment to dementia research.

“With dementia affecting almost 50 million people worldwide and someone in the world developing dementia every three seconds, research into dementia is now more urgent than ever,” Professor Samuel said.

“We are delighted to launch this joint fellowship with Race Against Dementia, powered by Sir Jackie’s vision and commitment to dementia research.

“These fellowships form part of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation’s 2020 grant round, with more than $1.7 million in funding on offer for early-career researchers.

“This is an incredibly valuable initiative, and we are excited to be joining Race Against Dementia’s international network of early-career researchers. I look forward to seeing the outcomes of the research.”

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.

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