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Professor Clive Ballard

Professor Clive Ballard

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean


Medical School Building F.04

Clive Ballard had the unfair advantage of being born Welsh and brought up as a Swansea city fan, before studying Medicine in Leicester. Clive then studied psychiatry in Coventry and Birmingham before specialising in the psychiatry of older adults. He moved to Newcastle as an MRC Clinical Fellow and Senior Lecturer in 1995 to join the world leading dementia with the Lewy Body Dementia research group. Clive then moved to the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London in 2003 as Professor of Age-Related Diseases, where he directed the NIHR Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia and codirected the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Disease. From 2003 to 2013 Clive was also Director of Research for the Alzheimer’s Society and played a key role in the successful campaign to overturn a NICE decision and make anti-dementia drugs available for people with dementia. Over this period Clive published more than 200 research papers including key clinical trials focussing on the treatment of dementia with Lewy bodies, dementia in people with Down’s syndrome, vascular dementia and neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia.

Clive was delighted to join the University of Exeter as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Medical School in November 2016 and looks forward to working with the tremendous team of researchers and educators, and further building the excellence of the Medical School.


Education and awards

1987 - Leicester University, MB ChB (Medicine)
1991 - University of Birmingham, MMedSci
1992 - University of Birmingham, M.R.C.Psych.
1995 - Leicester University, MD
2015 - Fellow Academy Medical Sciences


Current and previous posts

1992–1995: Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Birmingham
1995–2000: MRC clinical Fellow/Senior Lecturer Old Age Psychiatry, University of Newcastle
2000–2002: Reader in Old Age Psychiatry, University of Newcastle, UK
2002–2003: Professor of Old Age Psychiatry, University of Newcastle, UK
2003–2013: Director of Research, Alzheimer’s Society
2003–2016: Professor of Age Related Diseases, King’s College London
2016–present: Executive Dean of Medicine, University of Exeter



Research interests

Clive’s work has highlighted the harms of antipsychotic medications in people with dementia, and made a massive contribution to the 50% reduction in the use of these agents nationally and internationally. Further work has demonstrated the benefits of non-pharmacological treatments for the management of agitation in people with dementia. Clive has led studies which highlighted the substantial benefits in neuropsychiatric symptoms from more effective treatment of pain and he has led a pivotal study with the novel and safer antipsychotic pimavanserin for the treatment of psychosis in people with Parkinson’s disease psychosis. Ongoing clinical trials include a randomised control trial of pimavanserin for the treatment of psychosis and a trial of mirtazapine for the treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Other current work includes the SMART-AD drug discovery programme funded by the Wellcome Trust, the IDEA European Union programme focussing on stem cells as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders and the MRC Deep and Frequent Phenotyping cohort study.

An additional strand of work in Clive’s portfolio has focussed on the maintenance of cognitive health and the prevention of cognitive decline. Key clinical trials have demonstrated the potential utility of online brain training trials for maintaining cognitive health and function in later life. Building on this, the ongoing PROTECT programme is an online cohort study supported by more than 20,000 participants over the age of 50, with nested intervention studies including further studies of brain training. This will shortly include new studies of physical exercise and natural products to maintain cognitive health.

Selected Current Grants

Duration: 2017-2022
Funding Agency: NIHR
Name: BRC for Mental Health 
Costs: £63m
Applicants: Lead applicant Hoptof (Ballard lead applicant for dementia theme)

Duration: 2016-2019
Funding Agency: MRC
Name: Deep and Frequent Phenotyping 
Costs: £6m
Applicants: Lead applicant Lovestone

Duration: 2013-2017
Funding Agency: ACADIA pharmaceutical Company
Name: An RCT of pimavanserin for Alzheimer’s psychosis 
Costs: £10m
Applicants: Lead applicant Ballard

Duration: 2014-2019
Funding Agency: Wellcome Trust
Name: Alzheimer’s Disease drug discovery (SMART-AD)
Costs: £1.8m
Applicants: Lead applicant Ballard

Duration: 2010-2016
Funding Agency: NIHR
Name: An optimized intervention to reduce and treat behavioural symptoms in people with dementia living in care homes 
Costs: £2m
Applicants: Lead applicant Ballard

Duration: 2013-2018
Funding Agency: MRC
Name: An RCT of minocycline for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Costs: £2.6m
Applicants: Lead applicant Howard (Ballard co-PI)

Duration: 2012-2017
Funding Agency: NIHR
Name: Maudsley Biomedical Research Unit for Dementia
Costs: £4.5m
Applicants: Director Clive Ballard

Duration: 2013-2017
Funding Agency: Nova Nordisk /Alzheimer’s Society /Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation 
Name: Evaluating the effects of the novel GLP-1 analogue, Liraglutide in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Costs: £1.7m
Applicants: Lead applicant Edison (Ballard co-PI)

Duration: 2011-2017
Funding Agency: European Union
Name: Therapeutic Opportunities of Stem Cell Therapies
Costs: £5m
Applicants: Lead applicant Pison (Ballard co-PI, UK lead)

Funding Agency: ARUK
Name: Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute
Costs: £10m
Applicants: Lead applicant Lovestone (Ballard co-PI)

Duration: 2014-2017
Funding agency: Parkinson’s UK
Name: Proteomics: Finding biomarkers for Parkinson's
Costs: £749,888
Applicants: Lead applicant Lovestone (Ballard co-PI)

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