Science, technology and innovation policy

Dementia and Health Innovation


How can innovation in science and technology be used as a tool to combat dementia? With no therapies currently available to cure or effectively alter the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, innovative research and development strategies are needed. However, the pathway towards disease-modifying therapies and effective diagnostics remains uncertain and takes considerable time and financial resources. Collaborative partnerships to drive biomedical research and health innovation are emerging and require new systems and structures that create the incentives for active participation and allow the rewards of success to be shared.


Innovation and Dementia- Updates and Events

Innovation and Dementia- Resources

addressing dementia

Addressing Dementia: The OECD Response

15 March 2015- The large and growing human and financial cost of dementia provides an imperative for policy action. It is already the second largest cause of disability for the over-70s and it costs $645bn per year globally, and ageing populations mean that these costs will grow. There is no cure or effective treatment for dementia, and too often people do not get appropriate health and care services, leading to a poor quality of life. Our failure to tackle these issues provides a compelling illustration of some of today’s most pressing policy challenges. We need to rethink our research an innovation model, since progress on dementia has stalled and investment is just a fraction of what it is for other diseases of similar importance and profile. But even then a cure will be decades away, so we need better policies to improve the lives of people living with dementia now. Communities need to adjust to become more accommodating of people with dementia and families who provide informal care must be better supported. Formal care services and care institutions need to promote dignity and independence, while coordination of health and care services must be improved. But there is hope: if we can harness big data we may be able to address the gaps in our knowledge around treatment and care.

oecd publication on dementia 2015‌ 

Dementia Research and Care - Can Big Data Help? 

February 2015- What potential does “Big Data” hold for finding new approaches to discovering a cure and disease-modifying therapies and to improve social care services for the growing number of people with dementia? Government leadership and public-private partnerships will be needed to create and sustain big data resources. Key next steps are to create national infrastructures supporting “broad and deep” data; to develop international benchmarks to compare the performance of health systems; and to develop an international pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of linking broad and deep data to dementia research and care.


Enhancing Translational Research and Clinical Development for Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
22 April 2015
Accelerating innovation for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a key challenge. Over the past few years, the OECD has conducted work in a number of areas related to innovation in biomedical research and health innovation for healthy ageing. The workshop aimed to provide an international forum for all stakeholders to drive forward a change in the global paradigm in biomedical research and health innovation for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Public-private Partnerships in Biomedical Research and Health Innovation for Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
9 April 2015
This report is in line with recommendations of the G8 Summit Declaration to strengthen collaboration for innovation and cross-sector partnerships focused on social impact investment, new care and prevention models, and academia/ industry partnerships. 

Workshop on Integrating Omics and Policy for Healthy Ageing: Synthesis Report
January 2014- The increase in the human life span is a testament to the economic, social and medical progress made over the course of the last century. However, an ageing population brings some new challenges both to healthcare systems and to medicine in terms of the increased manifestation of specific diseases primarily seen in the elderly.

Toward New Models for Innovative Governance of Biomedicine and Health Technologies
December 2013- This report examines examples of new and emerging governance models that aim to support the responsible development of diagnostics and treatments based on the latest advances in biomedicine. In particular, it presents programmes and initiatives that aim to manage uncertainty in the development and approval of new medical products and thereby to improve the understanding of the risk/benefit balance. 

Public Health in an Age of Genomics
August 2013- This report presents the findings of a research project to investigate the drivers and criteria shaping the application of genomic biotechnology to health in different national settings, and the barriers to implementation nationally and internationally. A case study approach was adopted for the project. 

Emerging Trends in Biomedicine and Health Technology Innovation: Addressing the Global Challenge of Alzheimer's
June 2013- The economic and social impact of chronic brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases will become the number one public-health problem worldwide, directly affecting 100 million people by 2050. Ageing populations worldwide will soon confront a serious crisis as a result of significant growth of the healthcare market, in a climate of shrinking resources.

Policy Issues for the Development and Use of Biomarkers in Health
2011- This report examines the current economic, regulatory, and health care context in which biomarkers are being developed and identifies the barriers which may slow or block the uptake and diffusion of biomarker-based technologies in the clinical setting.

To access the complete library of OECD resources on dementia, including publications and freely available working and policy papers, click here


For any queries about the Dementia and Innovation, please write to Mr Hermann Garden (

For general OECD work on dementia For work on dementia and care For work on dementia and big data For general OECD work on innovation


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