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Pan-European project proposes ageing research roadmap

Maintaining mental capacities, social protection, ageing in the labour market and ageing at home are among the top priorities for ageing research in the next 10 to 15 years, according to the pan-European Futurage project.

In a roadmap released in Brussels on 18 October, Futurage identifies six research themes as priority areas. These are: healthy ageing; maintaining and regaining mental capacity; inclusion and participation in the community and in the labour market; guaranteeing the quality and sustainability of social protection systems; ageing well at home and in community environments; age-related inequalities; as well as biogerontology.

To implement this plan, Futurage recommends boosting investment in ageing research infrastructure and setting up a European Institute of Ageing. In addition, Europe should train more people in the field to match the capacity in North America and Asia, the authors say.

Futurage claims its two-year consultation was the “most extensive” ever undertaken in this field. “A specially designed interative process ensured that the specific research priorities were not identified by scientists alone and were subjected to a high degree of reflection and cross-examination from… policy makers, practitioners, business people, older people and their NGOs as well as scientists,” the project participants say in the roadmap.

The project is funded by Framework 7’s health programme and includes 23 partners across Europe.