UKRI announces nearly £11m funding for healthy ageing research

Seven research projects designed to support the government’s healthy ageing agenda will share £10.7 million in funding provided by UK Research and Innovation.

The projects will start in March and will run for 36 months. Over this time they will:

  • identify scalable and sustainable design improvements to homes that provide support for healthy cognitive ageing, allowing people to continue living in their homes for longer
  • help older people with cognitive impairment to be more active, independent and socially connected, experiencing a good quality of life through nature-based outdoor activities
  • address cognitive health inequality by investigating the impacts, and possible mechanistic pathways, of urban environments on healthy ageing and cognitive health
  • support over-50s to remain in work for longer by creating commercially viable, scalable products to support the less visible aspects of older workers’ health and wellbeing, including menopause and dementia, financial health/wellbeing, working carers and the health of self-employed older workers
  • address challenges in the recruitment, retention and enhancement of the health and wellbeing of older workers employed in residential care sectors
  • design, test, deliver and evaluate digital resources to facilitate structured activity programmes for ‘health connectivity’ in older age
  • address inequalities in arts and cultural participation in older populations, working with disabled, Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and deprived older people.

Delivering effective solutions

The projects will work with both people with lived experience and business and industry partners to deliver the evidence needed to develop better products and services for us all as we age.

Commenting on the announcement, research director Judith Phillips at Stirling University said:

The seven successful projects include innovative social, design and behavioural research which addresses key challenges of how we enable older people to live healthily for longer and narrow the gap in the experiences of the richest and poorest in society.

The programme also presents opportunities for business to engage with academics and those with lived experience in delivering effective solutions to support people approaching later life.

Professor, Alison Park, Interim Executive Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council, which runs the programme on behalf of UKRI, said:

The seven projects will provide an evidence base and timely insights about internal and external environments of relevance to ageing – for example, people’s homes and workplaces, and their urban and natural settings. They will also shed light on how social and digital connectivity can support physical and mental well-being through arts and cultural participation.