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Research for a better old age

The New Dynamics of Ageing Programme (NDA), a collaboration between five of the UK's Research Councils the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council, has announced the second round of successful applications to be funded under the programme.

Research has been at the heart of the improvements in life expectancy and is now focussed on improving the quality of people's lives as they age. Twelve new research projects have been funded, totalling around 3million investment in the vital area of ageing research. The projects include:

  • Research at the University of Wales, Swansea led by Professor Judith Philips focussing on how older people respond to unfamiliar spaces when using different types of transport. This research has a potential impact for both housing and urban planning policy.

  • Looking at the ways in which Older Peoples Quality of Life (OPQOL), a key aspect of active ageing policies, can be measured and the factors which can affect it provides the focus of Professor Ann Bowlings, research at University College London.

  • At Glasgow School of Art, Professor Alastair Macdonald will look at innovative ways of visualising biomechanical data in order to inform healthcare and design practice.

  • Professor Christina Victors research at the University of Reading aims to provide greater understanding of the experience and meaning of growing older within a South Asian Community within the UK.

  • By analysing longitudinal data, Professor David Blane, Imperial College London will look at the relationships between health, paid employment and informal caring as people grow older to see whether these are changing over time.

  • At the University of Bristol, Dr Liz Lloyd will examine preparations for the end of life made by older people with supportive care needs and the factors that can support or undermine a sense of dignity.

  • Dr Lynn McInnes at Northumbria University will explore the relationship between successful ageing in order to determine what sort of interventions could help people maintain their mobility in order to help future generations stay mobile as they get older.

  • Creating a greater understanding of the financial abuse of older people being cared for in the community is the focus of Professor Mary Gilhoolys research at Brunel University. The research will also help us understand how decision making changes as people get older which highlights warning signals for people who may be vulnerable to abuse.

  • Dr Penny Vero-Sanso at Birkbeck College will be looking at ageing, poverty and neoliberalism in urban South India to see what the impact of liberalisation has been on the livelihoods and welfare of the older urban poor in a developing country.

  • At the University of Manchester, Dr Armando Barrientos will be leading a comparative study of Brazil and South Africa focussing on the relationships between ageing, well-being and development.

  • Using the design of technologies, Professor Peter Wrights research at Sheffield Hallam University aims to promote older peoples engagement with their physical and social environments as a way to encourage new forms of younger people and the wider community, enhancing peoples experiences of growing older.

  • Professor Michael Murray at Keele Universitys research aims to increase understanding of the social, health and psychological processes involved in promoting independence and social engagement among older people in disadvantaged urban communities.

With more people in the UK aged over 60 than below 16 years of age for the first time, according to the 2001 census, the NDA programme aims to ensure that ageing research has the maximum beneficial impact to both the economy and society through enhancing the quality of life, productivity and self-sufficiency of the older generation..

Professor Alan Walker, Director of the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme commented: It is vitally important that we understand the changes taking place in the ageing process. This second round of funding made from the programme will target resources to look at many dimensions of ageing, from bio-mechanics to social and cultural aspects, ensuring that this much needed knowledge is available as quickly as possible for policy makers, practitioners, product designers and anyone in a position to improve the quality of later lives.


Contact: Danielle Moore
Economic & Social Research Council

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