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Circadacare awarded £80k by Longitude Prize on Dementia for Dementia Assistance & Wellness Node innovation 

The DAWN project will develop a system combining circadian lighting with unobtrusive health and wellbeing monitoring, targeted to meet unique needs of those living with dementia, in order to facilitate independent living for longer. Enabling those with dementia to live independently as part of the community means greater inclusion for people with this disability. 

24 semi-finalists receive £80k grants as part of the overall £4m Longitude Prize on Dementia driving the co-creation of personalised technologies to help people living with dementia enjoy independent and fulfilled lives. 

The Longitude Prize on Dementia is funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK and delivered by Challenge Works. 

A total of £1.9m has today been awarded to 24 pioneering teams of developers, researchers and innovators from across the globe in the international challenge competition funded by Alzheimer’s Society and Innovate UK, and designed and delivered by Challenge Works. The team will now work alongside people living with dementia and their carers to ensure technologies are intuitive, easy-to-use and able to adapt to their changing needs.  

This innovative project will adapt Circadacare’s existing lighting and wellbeing monitoring system for the elderly to address challenges and discrimination experienced by those living with dementia.  Now, the DAWN project will extend the application of the system to dementia by creating algorithms to monitor health/safety problems common for dementia, adapting light regimes to be beneficial for reducing cognitive decline in those with dementia, and producing automated reminders for daily routines.  

Dr Tallie Bush, Product Director and Head of Research at Circadacare, comments: “We believe that tackling social barriers to independence and quality of living is a more constructive way to approach these problems than simply viewing dementia itself as the barrier to social inclusion and independence. Our concept considers the wider social challenge of trying to connect carers in a meaningful way to the day-to-day activities of someone living independently with dementia.” 

Kate Lee, CEO, Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s vital people with dementia are able to live independently, doing things that bring them fulfilment, for as long as possible. And that’s exactly what tech innovation can provide.  Today’s Discovery Award winners all have the capacity to develop cutting-edge tools that bring hope to the here and now, making a tangible difference to people’s lives. New drugs have been discovered which slow the progression of early Alzheimer’s disease, but there’s still more to do.  Alzheimer’s Society remains committed to innovative projects like the Longitude Prize so that together we can improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families.” 

Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK said: “By addressing dementia the Longitude Prize tackles a global health crisis. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. Innovate UK is pleased to support this initiative along with the other vital work we are doing in this area. The UK is a global leader in innovation for healthy ageing and this prize will incentivise new technologies. This will help people with dementia, their families and their carers, to make living with the condition easier”. 

The Longitude Prize on Dementia is driving the development of personalised, technology-based tools that are co-created with people living with the early stages of dementia, helping them live independent, more fulfilled lives and enable them to do the things they enjoy.  

The competition itself has also been co-designed with people living with dementia. Judges were advised in their decision making by the prizes Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP). 

Trevor Salomon, whose wife Yvonne was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, is Chair of the Longitude Prize on Dementia’s Lived Experience Advisory Panel. The group – which includes people living with dementia, carers and former carers – has steered the design of the prize, as well as the judging and assessment processes.  

Trevor said: “Before her diagnosis, my wife astonished everyone with her ability to do anything she set her mind to. She was an amazing cook, gardener, and there was nothing she couldn’t make or repair on her sewing machine.  

“If we could access technologies that help extend her independence and her enjoyment of those pastimes, it would be so worthwhile. So I’m really impressed by the innovative thinking and creativity of the Discovery Award winners. Advances in AI could lead to new technologies that would be transformative for people like my wife – but they need to be easy to use, intuitive and adapt to the unique needs of each person. Technologies shouldn’t be developed in a bubble; they need to be designed and tested by the people who will ultimately benefit from them.” 

In 2024, five finalists will progress with additional £1.5m in funding to build real-world prototypes. In total, more than £3 million will be awarded in seed funding and development grants with a £1 million first prize to be awarded in 2026. 

In addition, wider expert non-financial support has been funded to provide innovators with crucial insight and expertise in the next three years, such as access to data, specialist facilities, collaborations with people living with dementia and expert advice on technical and business aspects of the innovation and to facilitate knowledge sharing between participants.  

One of the Discovery Awards awarded today, the ‘Paul and Nick Harvey Discovery Award’, is sponsored by the Hunter Foundation, with further support coming from Heather Corrie and the Caretech Foundation. 

To find out more about the Longitude Prize on Dementia and the 24 Discovery Award winners progressing to the semi-finals of the prize, visit dementia.longitudeprize.org

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