UK researchers among global winners in healthy ageing contest

Lovely day for a walk in the gardens

22 UK winners announced in a global competition that funds research in ways that improve all our lives as we age.

The winners included:

  • better fashion choices
  • a robotic ‘knee’
  • the use of mixed reality to tackle loneliness.

The healthy ageing catalysts awards are designed to harness the most innovative, cutting edge and blue-sky ideas of researchers, the businesses they work with, and others. This is to create practical, scalable products and services that support us as we age.

Though funded by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) healthy ageing challenge in the UK, winners are part of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) healthy longevity global competition. Winners are also eligible for the later stages of that, including a $5 million grand prize.

A full list of the global winners, including those in the UK, was announced in the US this week.

Bringing imagination to an ageing society

UKRI healthy ageing challenge director, George MacGinnis, said:

By 2040 one in seven people in the UK will be 65 or older. We should be able to enjoy those extra years of life yet currently we can expect to live just half of the remainder of our lives without disability.

We want researchers, particularly those with an entrepreneurial spirit, to develop and deliver ideas to help all of us to stay active, productive and socially connected across the generations both now, and as we get older. This year’s winners include imaginative approaches to both the physical and social aspects of ageing and to issues that affect wider society.

Further information

The catalyst awards are providing 60 grants for academics based at UK research organisations to explore new, innovative, ideas with the potential to transform the physical, mental or social well-being of people across the world as they age.

In addition to a grant of up to £62,500 per project, award holders will benefit from a structured, nine-month part-time programme of support. This will accelerate ideas and work with researchers to maximise the reach and impact of their work.

All ideas are expected to fit with the priority areas of the UKRI healthy ageing challenge. These include:

  • physical activity
  • maintaining health at work
  • age-friendly homes
  • supporting social connections
  • better nutrition
  • finance products for older people.

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