UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge

UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge 2022

After our three-year study, we reflect on what the Healthy Ageing Challenge funding has enabled us to investigate.

In the video above, principal investigator of the Connecting Through Culture As We Age, Professor Helen Manchester, speaks about the impact of the project.

In the video below, we also hear from some of the other projects that are part of the Healthy Ageing Challenge from around the UK.

Introducing the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge

The Healthy Ageing Challenge at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is helping businesses, including social ventures, develop and deliver services and products which support people as they age, along with the innovative business models that will help them be adopted at scale. The projects that are being supported with funding, research and knowledge exchange opportunities, will enable people to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected across generations for as long as possible

During the five-year lifespan of the challenge, UKRI are investing up to £98 million in healthy ageing via diverse competitions providing grant funding. By investing in UK-wide innovation and research they aim to support both our ageing society and the economy through the delivery of market innovations within the growing healthy ageing domain, while also addressing inequalities in healthy life expectancy. The challenge is funding social, behavioural and design research, drawing on a wide range of academic disciplines, to provide market insight and evidence that will enable businesses to maximise their commercial opportunities and address key challenges in the field of healthy ageing. Representing a wide range of industries, sectors and academic disciplines, funded projects align to seven key themes which provide the greatest opportunity to tackle market failures and stimulate innovation in healthy ageing. 

Healthy Ageing Challenge Themes and Tracks

The seven themes of the healthy ageing challenge are:  

  • creating healthy active places
  • design for age-friendly homes
  • living well with cognitive impairment
  • managing common complaints of ageing
  • maintaining health at work
  • supporting social connections
  • sustaining physical activity

The challenge consists of several strands of work:  

  • trailblazer projects
  • investment partnerships
  • supporting social enterprise
  • Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP)
  • Healthy Ageing Catalyst Awards
  • Designed for Ageing competition
  • UKRI Healthy Ageing Community of Practice
  • sustaining physical activity

Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP)

Connecting Through Culture As We Age is funded by the Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme (SBDRP). This is part of the UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge portfolio of activities that funds interdisciplinary academic-led teams to carry out research into social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing. The Programme contributes to the Challenge vision to enable businesses, including social enterprises, to develop and deliver products, services and business models that will be adopted at scale which support people as they age. This will allow people to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected across generations for as long as possible. In doing so UKRI aim to support both our ageing society and economy through the delivery of significant market innovation within the growing healthy ageing domain, while addressing health inequalities. Our funded projects address the social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing and will make a significant contribution to enhancing and disseminating our understanding of the aspirations, preferences and needs of the ageing population, helping to inform innovators and positively influence market behaviours. 

SBDRP projects critically engage with businesses, including social enterprises, to enhance their understanding of the needs and opportunities of an ageing population, to help inform innovators and to open up creative spaces for businesses and consumers in an ‘ageing market.’ They also engage with the public sector and charities. 

What our projects do: 

  • Meaningfully engage with older people
  • Work with business
  • Address diversity and environments of ageing
  • Address ageing across the life-course
  • Accommodate the impacts of CoVID-19
  • Work across disciplines to meet the aims of the project
  • Include a compelling and well-designed impact, knowledge exchange and communication strategy

Healthy Ageing Challenge Framework

Healthy Ageing Challenge Framework of Values 

Sustaining physical activity: to help people in mid-and later life to increase and sustain their levels of physical activity. For example, how do we support people in mid and later life on low incomes to increase and sustain their physical activities?. 

Maintaining health at work: to promote and maintain older workers’ health and wellbeing. For example, how do we design workplaces and work practices to support older workers’ health and well-being?. 

Design for age-friendly homes: to enable people to live independently and safely at home for longer with innovative products and services. For example, how do we support people in mid and later life through design, innovative products, services and models that can be adopted at scale by key stakeholders?. 

Managing common complaints of ageing: to improve the quality of life of people in later life with a range of common health conditions. For example, how can we stimulate the development of ‘high street products’ and digital technologies to improve the quality of life of people with hearing loss, arthritis etc?. 

Living well with cognitive impairment: to improve the quality of life for older people living with cognitive impairment. For example, how do we promote the uptake of existing and innovative solutions at home and work?. 

Supporting social connections, to enable people to sustain and broaden their social connections and relationships into later life. For example, how do we improve the inclusion and accessibility of social and leisure activities?. 

Creating healthy active places: to develop places that encourage people in later life to sustain physical activity. For example, for example, how do we design an integrated urban/rural ecosystem to support people in mid and later life?. 

The Healthy Ageing Challenge Story