UCL Grand Challenges


Society's Response to Ageing awards: paving the way to major UCL - Japan conference

21 February 2018

Until late 2015 'Ageing' was mainly a UK-focused priority theme in UCL's Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing. Then, in December of that year, Kyoto University's hosting of a Grand Challenges Symposium on Demographic Change & Longevity provided a significant stimulus for UCL and Japanese universities to come together in their shared strong determination to address the great existential challenge of the ageing society. Japan's experience as the world's most long-lived society, and its great need for solutions, exemplifies the urgency of the problem, not least in regard to Dementia care. Following the UCL Provost's visit to Osaka, Kyoto, Tohoku and Tokyo universities in the autumn of 2017, UCL agreed to organise a follow-up conference in London. Through Grand Challenges in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan, early in 2019, UCL will host a major UCL-Japan conference on 'The Super-Ageing Society' jointly with Kyoto University and other Japanese universities. 

As a step towards the Japan Embassy conference, the Grand Challenges announced a Call for Proposals in Term 1 of 2017-18, called 'Society's Response to Ageing'. The initiative will support workshops and public events reflecting through Grand Challenges framings upon the difficulties we encounter as we age, and how the society in which we live responds. Grand Challenges has now awarded five grants, to a total value of about £13,000, to UCL researchers who expressed interest in organising and delivering events through this special pan-GC initiative. 

Supported events

Event titleGrand Challenges themesLead Researcher Collaborator 
Justice in Society's Response to Ageing: Mapping Equality Issues faced by Older PeopleJustice & Equality - Access & Participation themeDr Lisa Vanhala (Reader in Political Science, UCL Political Science)Janet Morrison (CEO, Independent Age)
Hacking ageing with our day-to-day Big DataTransformative Technology - Bigger Data, Better Data themeProfessor Martin Rossor (Principal Clinical Research Associate, Dementia Research Centre Institute of Neurology)Maxine Mackintosh (PhD student, Farr Institute of Health Informatics)
Ageing Society - 'Our life in an ageing society'- The young generation's understanding of ageing-associated problems and their resolutionHuman Wellbeing - Demographic Change and Adolescent Wellbeing themes
Transformative Technology (GCTT) - Disability Innovation theme
Professor Shin-ichi Ohnuma (Ocular Biology,  Institute of Ophthalmology)Dr Yasu Takeuchi (Reader in Molecular Virology, UCL Division of Infection & Immunity)
Exploring the fears of old age: addressing the fourth age

Cultural Understanding - Cultural Engagement and Health theme

Human Wellbeing - Demographic Change theme

Professor Paul Higgs (Professor of the Sociology of Ageing, UCL Division of Psychiatry) 
Growing Old without Ageing? Food Biographies and Health Narratives across the Life-course and Geographical Borders Relevant to five Grand Challenges: Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Justice & EqualityDr Rodney Reynolds (Teaching Fellow, UCL Institute for Global Health)Carlos Grijalva-Eternod (Research Associate, IGH), Dr Marina Chang (Research Fellow, Agroecology, Water & Resilience Research Centre, Coventry University) and Ritu Sood (Visual Artist)