The government has urged researchers to apply for funding for dementia studies, after pledging to prioritise the disease.

There have been little in the way of ideas for dementia research, compared with other diseases such as cancer, and ministers want to boost its profile.

With £1bn earmarked for medical research by the government, care services minister Paul Burstow has invited proposals to the National Institute for Health Research for studies on dementia care, cure, cause and prevention.

He said: “Dementia is one of the biggest challenges our society faces.

“As our population ages we need to better understand the disease if we are to counter its effects more successfully.

“Research is the key to developing new treatments, transforming care and ultimately to finding a cure for this devastating disease.

“The Department of Health’s research budget is nearly a billion this year - I want more of that funding to be supporting dementia research.

Dementia charities do not all believe there is a problem with the quality of applications, but acknowledge challenges with the number of researchers in the field and the type of research that is most needed.