Brussels, 16 Nov 2004
As life expectancy continues to increase, the UK research councils have set up an ageing-related funding programme.
The cross-disciplinary research programme will fund studies in areas ranging from employment and housing to the effects of globalisation and the future of pension provision on the ageing population.
Biologists, medical researchers, social scientists, economists and engineers will be encouraged to apply when the programme issues its first call in early 2005.
At present, the ageing-research community suffers from fragmentation and a lack of recognition. The House of Lords science and technology committee has, therefore, called for a more strategic approach to funding ageing research.
The new UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), which will be coordinating clinical research across a number of priority areas, will also be responsible for a funders' forum for ageing research, Professor Sally Davies from the UK Department of Health told the UK newspaper The Guardian.
Giving ageing research a priority in the UKCRC would give researchers better access to the data collected nationwide by doctors. In turn this would improve population studies and the quality of clinical trials.
An old-age-related disease research centre, the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, has already been launched. With a six million GBP (8.5 million euro) budget, the centre will provide for up to 25 research teams working on issues such as dementia, Parkinson's and cardiovascular diseases. Researchers at the Wolfson Centre will be some of the first to benefit from the new funding.