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Congratulations to Dr Nathan Davies who received a Dementia Research Leaders Award for his outstanding contribution to dementia research from the Alzheimer’s Society this month. The award is in recognition of his contribution to research since starting his PhD in 2011 and post-doctoral work since 2014, as well as the impact it has had on those affected by, and living with, dementia.

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Nathan received a launching fellowship from School for Primary Care Research in 2015. “This was a great opportunity which allowed me to develop my research ideas and stream of work, write up my PhD papers and enabled me to begin my journey to become an independent researcher. As part of this fellowship I identified that decision making was a key aspect of dementia care I was interested in and somewhere there where was a gap in research.”

My Alzheimer’s Society award comes with funding which will enable me to develop my career further building on existing and developing new collaborations and paths of research.”
- Dr Nathan Davies

After his SPCR funding, Nathan was awarded an Alzheimer’s Society Junior Fellowship to focus on supporting family carers making decisions for people with dementia at the end of life. “In this fellowship I will develop a decision aid for family caregivers and conduct a feasibility trial. The decision aid focusses on the main significant decision carers have to make at the end of life, including changes in care and eating and drinking difficulties. Excitingly in my fellowship we are including people with dementia in our co-design workshops (Something I have not done before), which ensures the decision aid is grounded in the experiences of those living with dementia.”

Alongside his fellowship, Nathan leads a project that focusses on nutrition and hydration at the end of life funded by Marie Curie, and co-leads an NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) project that looks at the comfort and discomfort of people with dementia on acute hospital wards.

“This is a really exciting project which uses technology to explore pain using a digital app (PainCheck) and we can address this more effectively using the heuristics I have developed in my earlier work.”

Nathan is involved, as co-applicant, in one of which is the largest ever dementia and palliative care funded programme of work (£4.7 million), awarded to Dr Liz Sampson by the NIHR and ESRC.