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Cambridge Public Health


More must be done to ensure that the needs of older people are at the heart of research and innovation concerned with ageing.

A new report on The Future of Ageing is calling for action to embed an ethical approach that places the diversity, values and agency of older adults at the heart of all research and innovation related to ageing.

Professor Carol Brayne, co-director of Cambridge Public Health, is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCOB) Working Group that wrote the report.

The report looks at the role that biomedical research and technological innovation has to play in responding to the needs of an ageing population focusing on three broad areas of research and innovation:

  • Research into biological ageing.
  • Assistive, monitoring and communications technologies such as health apps and smart home technologies.
  • Data-driven detection and diagnosis of age-related conditions.

The report concludes that the potential for research and innovation to provide support for older people to flourish in later life is being adversely affected by ageist attitudes in our society. It found that more needs to be done to challenge ageism and address inequalities within the research ecosystem.

Amongst 15 recommendations, key proposals for change include:

  • Promoting meaningful collaboration with older adults to help shape decision making.
  • Tackling barriers to participation of diverse groups of older adults in research studies.
  • Support closer working between researchers and practitioners.