The SENSE-Cog Project


Seven in ten Europeans over the age of 65 suffer from either sight or hearing problems, and over two thirds suffer from depression or dementia. When combined together, the cumulative impact of these dual or triple impairments is far greater than the individual conditions. The scale of combined sensory and cognitive problems is substantial but poorly understood.

The 5 year SENSE-Cog project, led by the University of Manchester, aims to investigate this combined impact and develop new tools that could improve quality of life and optimise health and social care budgets across Europe. The project seeks to define the scale of the challenges so that authorities across the continent can allocate resources more optimally.  At the same time, researchers will develop online tests, guides and multilingual training manuals to help medical professionals diagnose and treat the combined problems more effectively.

The public programmes team are key collaborating partners on work Package 5 which seeks to overcome the historical lack of inclusion of elderly people with mental health problems, dementia and sensory impairments in research, by fully involving people with dementia and sensory impairments and their caregivers at every stage of the project and giving the concepts of empowerment, self-management and participation full consideration.


SENSE-Cog Project work packages:

  1. Exploration: Looking at the relationship between hearing, vision and cognitive functioning
  2. Assessment: Develop and test new ways of assessing cognition and mental health
  3. Intervention: Develop, test and trial ‘sensory support’ interventions
  4. Valuation: Address health economic and cost-eff effectiveness issues
  5. Participation, communication and dissemination: Giving participants, service users and carers the chance to contribute to the programme
  6. Management: Ensure the programme meets milestones and deliverables

What we will do

The public programmes team role is significant in strategic advice, project design and delivery expertise, avenues for dissemination, research support and learning and develop expertise to the SENSE-Cog consortium by supporting the following activities:

  • Develop a trans-EU network of patients, study participants and caregivers (Patients and Public Voice – PPV)
  • Train the EU PPV network in the principles of research and how to provide meaningful input into the entire SENSE-Cog project.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the training on:
  • The EU PPV network’s research understanding and level of inclusion in the different work packages.
  • The level of acceptance and engagement of PPV input by academic researchers.
  • Develop a cross disciplinary, trans EU network of 3rd sector agencies to promote and disseminate SENSE-Cog findings beyond the academic community.
  • Disseminate research outputs from SENSE-Cog with active public engagement.