New national centre to study cognitive health launched

16 June 2016

A new national centre to research cognitive health, to be based at ANU, has been launched to help Australian researchers work to prevent cognitive decline.

The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cognitive Health is the first of its kind in Australia and will be based at the ANU Research School of Population Health.

The Centre will be both a national and international collaboration of leading researchers, clinicians, policy makers and consumers which will focus on cognitive health promotion and prevention of cognitive decline.

Professor Kaarin Anstey, who will lead the Centre, said it will identify risk factors, conduct intervention studies to improve cognitive function, and develop guidelines and modelling for new policies.

"The new Centre will allow us to work in partnership with our key stakeholders so that we can make a true difference to the Australian community," Professor Anstey said.

Cognitive health covers a range of abilities such as memory, reasoning capacity, reaction time and planning and processing speed, as well as all things that enable people to learn, acquire skills, adapt to change and function effectively in society.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the Centre signals an exciting new era for ANU and its partners, drawing together national and international expertise in disciplines such as psychology, population health, psychiatry, neurology, economics, and biostatistics.

"Congratulations to all the investigators and partners who have brought this to fruition, to collaborate on research that has such strong potential for public good, and which emphasises capacity building and knowledge translation," Professor Schmidt said.

The new centre was awarded $2.5 million from the NHMRC.

A second major site will be at The University of Melbourne Department of Psychiatry, led by Professor Nicola Lautenschlager.

The centre will also include leading researchers from the University of New South Wales, Exeter University UK, the Australian Catholic University and the Baker International Diabetes Institute.