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Ageing; Dementia; Public health, Sustainability of Systems, Population Lifecourse; Cambridge Institute of Public Health; School of Clinical Medicine

Professor Carol Brayne is a Professor of Public Health Medicine, the Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and Principal Investigator in the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies.  She is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a NIHR Senior Investigator.

Carol's research focuses on the public health of ageing through longitudinal studies of older people following changes over time in cognition, dementia natural history and associated features with a public health perspective. 

The research and initiatives Carol and her team are involved in demonstrate how the Institute of Public Health has successfully worked to engage with policymakers, the public and patients in the scientific understanding of dementia, which can positively impact the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people.  

Recently, the major challenges for global society have become increasingly clear; amongst these are gross inequality, deteriorating public infrastructure, resource depletion and conflict resulting in mass migration, increasing awareness that assumptions of energy resources even within rich countries may not be sound and, not least, economic crises. The interest that Carol has in equity, global systems and sustainability, which underlies her motivation to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through the Global Challenges Forum, was sparked from an early age.  She founded Friends of the Earth at The University of London Union as a medical student.

Carol sees that the direction of biomedical science needs to have a greater orientation towards social and global sustainability, including equity as a core value. She believes that important recent publication from The Academy of Medical Sciences: “The Health of the Public Report 2040” projects well this need, highlighting the radical shifts that public health research community must consider. The reports asks us to question how we can orientate our research excellence to provide globally relevant, substantial and viable contributions that help the global population  to work towards a more sustainable future, one which allows more people to experience the best possible health and well-being.


Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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