A $9 million federal grant will help turn the Queensland Brain Institute into the world’s largest dementia research centre.

New funding could help Australian researchers make a breakthrough in dementia research within five years, researchers say.

Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton announced $9 million in funding for the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) on Friday.

“Dementia is a cruel disease that attacks the fundamentals of who we are,” Mr Dutton said.

“It can erase the memories of those we cherish and the experiences that have defined us.”

QBI director Professor Perry Bartlett says the disease is the country’s greatest looming health crisis and will impact nearly one million Australians by the year 2050.

He said the new federal grant would turn the QBI into the world’s largest dementia research centre and place Australia at the forefront of dementia research internationally.

The money was earmarked for two studies in particular – one examining the effect of exercise on dementia patients, the other working out how to isolate the protein molecules in the brain which cause the disease.

Prof Bartlett said within five years, researchers at the centre would have secured better diagnostics to pick up dementia in its early stages and monitor its progression.

He also said centre’s research could be help find out how to reverse cognitive damage from dementia.

“I’m confident it will be a game-changer in the next five years.”

More than 300,000 Australians currently suffer from dementia.