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Ageing Initiative

Ageing is an important priority for the Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing (GCHW).  In March 2013 a House of Lords report, Ready for Ageing, warned that the UK is ‘woefully underprepared for ageing’.  Some of the report’s projections about ageing include:

  • There will be 51% more people aged 65 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010
  • There will be 101% more people aged 85 and over in England in 2030 compared to 2010
  • 10.7 million people in Great Britain can currently expect inadequate retirement incomes
  • There will be over 50% more people with three or more long-term conditions in England by 2018 compared to 2008
  • There will be over 80% more people aged 65 and over with dementia (moderate or severe cognitive impairment) in England and Wales by 2030 compared to 2010. [source: Office for National Statistics, quoted in Ready for Ageing.]

Given this context, in 2013 Professor Nick Tyler (Chair, GCHW) convened UCL’s Festival of Ageing (October to December 2013) that addressed some of the questions arising from an ageing population.  Typically these questions straddle traditional disciplinary boundaries.  By encouraging cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration, UCL hopes to create new perspectives, which will guide and deepen our knowledge of ageing in future years.

One important outcome from the interest generated by the Festival has been the creation of an UCL Ageing Inequality and Diversity Research Group (AIDRG) led by Dr Kate Walters (Primary Care & population Health) which will explore the potential for further research activity.  If you are interested in becoming involved with AIDRG or ageing in general. please contact Michael Reade, Coordinator, GCHW

Promoting Independence in Dementia
The UCL PRIDE programme is a 5 year project to identify how social and lifestyle changes may help reduce the risk of developing dementia and disability. Further details

On-going activities
Winning Research Prize Project: RecommendME! : a personalised activity recommendation engine for the elderly
RecommendME! is envisioned as a digital platform for use by an ageing population, able to connect a user to relevant services, activities and peer groups. Personalised recommendations will be developed for each user based on their personal physical, mental and social capacity, their interests, geographical location and the activities undertaken by their peer group. By collecting and analysing trends in the activity data of individuals, a profile of abilities and relevant activities can be developed for the user-base. RecommendME! will enable the elderly to be more active by removing some of the psychological barriers in a tangible manner, motivating the user to be more active.
Project Completion date: January 2015  This project was the winning project formulated at the Ageing Research Prize Workshop ‘Keeping people, active, independent and well in later life’.  Further details

Recent activities

16 May 2014
Utilising UCL's Datasets for Ageing, Inequalities & Diversity Research (convened by Dr Kate Walters)
How can we utilise on UCL’s existing data sources to answer questions on ageing, inequalities and diversity, with a particular focus on collaboration across disciplines?  This will include initially sharing information on available data sources and what they contain, including the large cohort studies, smaller observational studies or trials in older populations and qualitative studies..  This is the follow-up workshop to Tackling Age Inequalities: a research agenda (27 February 2014). 
Register here

4 April 2014
What are the important questions for research into ageing? A public engagement workshop for people aged 70 and over

This workshop aims to seek the views of people aged 70 and over on what are the important issues that need further research. We will share ideas and problems, identify questions that may need further research to address, and prioritise which of these are most important. NB: This workshop is only open to members of the public aged 70 and over.  It is NOT open to academic researchers.   Further details and registration

27 February 2014
Tackling Age Inequalities: a research agenda
This multi-disciplinary, cross-faculty, half day workshop aimed to bring together expertise from across UCL and to generate a research agenda/new collaborations for research on age inequalities. Whilst there is a large literature on inequalities by social class, gender and geography there has been little empirical research on inequalities by age. General recommendations that presently predominate in ageing policies, whether medical, social or economic are often based on assumptions, and extrapolations from research in other groups.  Further details

October – December 2013
UCL Festival of Ageing
The festival began with a lecture from Margaret Lock, McGill University, entitled 'Alzheimer Enigma in an Ageing World' which explored the significance of risk predictions associated with biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, and the irresolvable uncertainties such information raises for involved individuals and families.  UCL’s Crucible Centre, in conjunction with the International Longevity Centre-UK, considered  the implications of people working longer in an ageing society. In a special guest lecture Richard Miller (University of Michigan) asked ‘The Search for Drugs That Slow Ageing - Are We There Yet? and Why Not?’ The festival concluded with a research prize workshop award £10,000 to RecommendME! : a personalised activity recommendation engine for the elderly

18 November 2013
Maximising Ageing Research at UCL
The UCL School of Pharmacy hosted a one day workshop entitled “Maximising the impact of ageing research at UCL”. This workshop was co-organised by UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, funded by UCL Crucible and supported by the UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing. It brought together 55 researchers from seven of UCL’s ten Faculties – including Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, Brain Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Population Health Sciences, Social & Historical Sciences; and also from UCL Hospital. Moreover representatives of European Medicines Agency and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency attended as observers. Post discussion report

Page last modified on 22 jul 16 09:59