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Purpose-built for research

Centre for Dementia Prevention

Based at BioQuarter since 2016, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Dementia Prevention is leading a major worldwide study into the condition.

Professor Craig Ritchie, Director of the Centre, comments on the role the BioQuarter base is playing in the study’s success.

With major funding from Janssen Research and Development, the Centre’s multi-million pound study is one of only two of its kind in the UK. The work seeks to identify early signs of changes in the brain, with the ultimate goal of delivering new medicines prior to clinical symptoms presenting.

The study’s lifeblood is the continuing involvement of 250 volunteers. It’s from these healthy over-65s that data is harnessed by the Centre’s specialists in medicine, science and social sciences. Attracting volunteers is crucial, and it’s in this fundamental area that BioQuarter is greatly assisting.

“Being located at BioQuarter has helped immensely in this regard.” says Professor Ritchie, “I’ve been involved in clinical trials for many years and offering participants purpose-built facilities counts for a lot.”

Positive experiences

It’s a view backed by first-hand evidence. “We regularly receive positive feedback regarding the BioQuarter building.” continues Professor Ritchie, “That’s important because participant experience is at the heart of our work. Many of our activities depend on follow-up studies, so great experiences with the Centre, our staff, our general environment impacts on participant retention.

“Volunteers tell us they are happy to spend a whole day at the Centre having assessments performed. It’s clear that our building’s location, architecture and geography all make a significant difference to our ability to attract and retain participants.”


Currently the Centre is located in a modular building at BioQuarter’s NINE facility. This arrangement too has worked well for the team. “The building the Centre occupies is absolutely fit-for-purpose.” says Professor Ritchie,

“It’s comfortable and our staff enjoys working there. The whole atmosphere around NINE has made a huge difference to the quality of our data, not only our ability to deliver it.”

Looking to the future, the Centre is hungry for more success. “BioQuarter give you space. Room to expand and foster collaboration.” says Professor Ritchie, “A great example of this is our participation in the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia Consortium programme. EPAD is the world’s largest public/private partnership in this field and from our BioQuarter base we’re working alongside almost forty European partners. Collaborations like these are tremendously important to us. When visitors arrive from Europe and the US they see firstly what a fantastic city Edinburgh is. And then they see the range of on-site facilities. We enjoy a lot of leverage from being at BioQuarter and we are looking to grow. This is a terrific place to locate.”

“Our staff enjoys working at BioQuarter. The whole atmosphere has made a huge difference to the quality of our data, not only our ability to deliver it.”


The Centre’s multi-million pound study is one of only two of its kind in the UK and utilises data from 250 healthy volunteers.


BioQuarter’s facilities, location and atmosphere have been crucial in retaining volunteers.


The Centre is contributing to the world’s largest public/private study in Alzheimer’s disease prevention.