Thursday 1 August 2019

Europe must tackle the challenges presented by ageing, according to new report

Director of the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, Professor Avan Sayer, acted as an external contributing expert on the recent Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA) report in to Transforming the Future of Ageing.

The evidence review report, published in June 2019, shows that the ageing process needs to be transformed and that Europe must tackle the challenges presented by ageing in every generation. The report examines evidence from natural and biomedical sciences, as well as social, political and behavioural sciences and was written by a group of world-leading experts, nominated by academies across Europe.

The main findings were that:

  • European societies need to adjust to an ageing and shrinking workforce and find financially viable ways to deliver high-quality health and social care for all
  • More policies need to be introduced to promote healthy diet and physical activity from early childhood onwards, to support more of the population to age better
  • Ageing in the future will be impacted by new phenomena, such as climate change, air pollution, antibiotic resistance and ongoing social change and policies will need to accommodate these changes
  • Barriers of acceptance and practicality towards technology as a means for improving the experience of ageing need to be overcome
  • Changes need to be made in our education systems to ensure we equip our future workforce with the skills needed to support an ageing population and rapidly changing society.

As an External Contributing Expert, Professor Avan Sayer was one of a number of experts asked to provide advice to the panel due to their specific expertise and scientific excellence. Professor Sayer commented:

“I was delighted to contribute to this important report which will help to set the future direction of ageing research. With people living longer than ever before, ageing is one of the greatest global challenges facing society and, as this report makes clear, a broad spectrum of individual and societal measures are needed to meet this challenge. At the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre our particular focus is on research that builds on and harnesses experimental medicine expertise in individual long-term conditions to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ageing syndromes and we benefit from sitting at the centre of a unique ecosystem for ageing research in Newcastle.”

About Science Advice for Policy by European Academies (SAPEA)

SAPEA brings together outstanding expertise in engineering, humanities, medicine, natural and social sciences from over 100 academies, young academies and learned societies across Europe. They are part of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism. Together with the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, they provide independent advice to European Commissioners to support their decision-making.