UK Prime Minister’s World Dementia Envoy comes to Australia

3 December 2014

The World Dementia Envoy, Dr Dennis Gillings CBE, is coming to Australia to discuss how our nation can optimise its role in the global fight against dementia. During his visit, Dr Gillings will travel to Melbourne to present a public lecture entitled "Towards an Action Plan for a Cure for Dementia.” 

The event will take place on Wednesday 3 December, hosted by the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, University of Melbourne, the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Dementia Australia.

Dr Gillings was appointed as World Dementia Envoy by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron, on behalf of the G8 group of nations in February 2014. 

The role of the Envoy is to reduce barriers to investment in research, to speed up drug development and to bring together ideas from around the world in order to improve the lives of people living with dementia. The ultimate goal is to find a cure or disease modifying therapy by 2025.

Speaking at Global Dementia Legacy Event in June 2014, Dr Gillings said: “Let us be an international team, collaborating, sharing knowledge, investing and innovating so that we win the prize of success together.”

Dr Gillings has a prestigious biopharmaceutical background and has worked with a diverse array of health organisations. In addition, he held the role of Professor of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina and was awarded a CBE in 2004 for services to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr Gillings’ mother lived with dementia for 18 years until her death in 2013.

During his time in Australia, Dr Gillings will meet with senior Commonwealth Government Ministers, relevant Departments and Agencies, representatives from Alzheimer’s Australia and people living with a diagnosis of dementia, to discuss how Australia can best contribute to the international effort to find a cure.

The Australian Government’s legacy contribution to dementia research includes a $200 million commitment to dementia research over the next five years, and the establishment of a National Dementia Research Institute. Discussions will focus on these initiatives and how they can be maximised to best complement work happening internationally.

Graeme Samuel AC, Alzheimer’s Australia National President said: “Collaborative research at a global level is our best chance at making progress when it comes to the diagnosis, understanding, treatment and prevention of this life limiting disease.”

Prof. Colin Masters, Executive Director, Mental Health Research Institute said: “Our task is to translate our knowledge into effective medications and lifestyle modifications that will, in the first instance, prevent or delay the onset of dementia. 

“Australia is a world leader in dementia research excellence. We look forward to Dr Gillings’ visit and the opportunity to contribute to the global discussion.”

The sold out lecture “Towards an Action Plan for a Cure for Dementia” will take place on Wednesday 3 December 2014 between 5.30pm and 6.30pm in the Auditorium at Peter Doherty Institute, Corner Grattan St and Elizabeth St, University of Melbourne, Vic, 3010. 

For more information visit

Professor Colin Masters is available for comment through his PA:

Ms Krista Murray

The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Ph:    +61 3 9035 6650