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University of Bradford research project celebrated as a Big Idea for the Future

16 June 11

The University of Bradford's groundbreaking research, into the support needed by people living with dementia and their families, has been chosen as one of the most important research projects of modern times taking place in universities today, with the publication of the Big Ideas for the Future report.

The Big Ideas for the Future report, which is being jointly published by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK, pulls together the leading research projects currently taking place across UK universities. Research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, the arts and the humanities, were eligible to be included and the University of Bradford's project was selected for inclusion from hundreds of submissions. The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrities such as Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.

The research is currently being undertaken by Dr. Geraldine Boyle and Katherine Ludwin from the University of Bradford and Dr. Lorna Warren from the University of Sheffield, and aims to develop a better understanding of how couples living with dementia make decisions on a daily basis. The study will inform debate on decision-making by couples living with dementia, the decision-making abilities of people with dementia themselves, and the particular forms of support which can be offered to them. The research should help us gain a better understanding of the actual decision-making abilities of people with dementia and how to actively involve them in decision-making processes.

Dr. Geraldine Boyle, Lecturer at the University of Bradford's Centre for Applied Social research said: "We are delighted that the report is highlighting the significance of this research for improving our understanding of what it is like to live with dementia. The study aims to give a voice to the men and women who deal with the challenges of dementia on a daily basis and to learn from their experiences. As the National Dementia Strategy emphasised the need for 'living well with dementia', this research will help to inform on the types of support that they and their families need. As one in five people over the age of 85 has dementia, helping them to 'live well' is a really important issue for our changing society."

Professor Rick Rylance, Chair Elect of RCUK said of Big Ideas for the Future: "Research has an impact on all our lives. Whether it is a breakthrough in experimental science, or an invention that makes new things possible, or a project that leads us to understand better the strengths and weaknesses of our society, research is the key to the UK's growth, prosperity and wellbeing. Big Ideas for the Future showcases just some of the excellent research being carried out in UK universities that achieves these aims. It is vital we continue to support the talented individuals whose work makes a real difference."

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "The research that has taken place at UK universities has helped to change the world and the way we live, whether that's discovering DNA, inventing the world's first computer or finding cures for life-threatening illnesses. It is great to see this tradition of world-leading innovation continue and get an insight into the many inspiring and potentially-life changing projects currently being developed by our universities. I would like to congratulate the University of Bradford on their inclusion in the Big Ideas for the Future report, and wish them the best of luck with their research."

The publication of the report forms part of the second annual Universities Week, which takes place from 13-19 June 2011, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK's universities.  Universities Week looks at the many different ways in which universities affect all of our lives - from supporting the economy, to working within local communities, to looking at how their research programmes could change our futures. Hundreds of events will be taking place around the country open to members of the public, as well as high-profile media coverage and activity across social media networks.

To download a full version of the report, please visit For more information on Universities Week, visit and to show your support, join us on Facebook at

16 June 11

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Further information for Media Enquirers

For further information please contact the University of Bradford Press Office on 01274 23 3089/3084.

Out of office hours call 07879 437996. Alternatively, e-mail or fax on (01274) 236280.