Collaborating with industry, the Quality of Age Research Centre is working hard to improve the health of an ageing population
Past increases in life expectancy in the developed world were originally driven by preventing premature death. However, in recent decades, demographic trends show a dramatic reduction in mortality in older people. The fear is that as lifespan lengthens, so too will the period of illness at its end.
Research has brought the realisation that ageing is not programmed, but results from a lifelong accumulation of faults, which can be influenced more easily than previously thought. Better nutrition, housing, medical care and working conditions are all likely to result in less accumulation of damage, which probably explains why more people reach old age in better health than in previous generations. There is good reason to suppose that this also explains a 10-year life span difference between better-off and economically deprived areas of the UK.
The Quality of Age Research Centre (QUARC) was founded in 2007 as part of the Northern Way-funded N8 project, which seeks to develop collaborative research with industry in areas of excellence within the eight North of England research-intensive universities. Ageing and Health is a considerable strength for these universities, including Newcastle University?s Institute for Ageing and Health (IAH), Sheffield University?s Sheffield Institute for Studies in Ageing (SISA) and the University of York?s Centre for Useable Home Technology (CUHTec) and considerable medical, health and social care, and health economic expertise across the region.
QUARC is led from the IAH?s rapidly developing Campus for Ageing and Vitality in Newcastle, a unique, multidisciplinary environment for research, training, business and public engagement. The Centre initially focused on projects involving aspects of wellbeing, including technology and nutritional support, and assistive technology, with a variety of private and public sector partners. Early activity has included the expansion of SISA?s care needs assessment technology and investigation of the shopping needs of older people, initially supported by Tesco.
However, the Centre has access to basic, clinical, social and computer scientists, engineers, and researchers in a variety of other fields and is keen to develop links with organisations in all sectors, which seek to address the enormous opportunities presented by our ageing society.
BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL
QUARC and its member organisations represent a major source of knowledge and innovation, with potential for translation into products or services to help everyone to age better and enjoy greater independence as we age. We fully recognise the need for universities to work closely with business and other organisations to effectively translate our research into products and services.
We are always seeking industry partners to engage with our broad range of disciplines for appropriate commercial or collaborative research projects. We have also developed a panel of hundreds of people interested in ageing and age-related issues from across the north east of England, to support the development of your business ideas.
QUARC can co-ordinate projects between institutions, to overcome many of the research capacity and discipline matching issues, which might otherwise hinder resolution of practical problems.
QUARC can provide:
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Added the 30 August 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-1