2005 Archive

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Sparc-ing life into research for older people

The University of Strathclyde hosted the launch of a new initiative aimed at improving the quality of life of older people.

SPARC (Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity) will facilitate ageing-related research in design, engineering and the biological sciences.

The aim is to help ensure homes, the built environment, transport systems and consumer products, etc are designed and engineered to take account of the needs of all people regardless of their capabilities. Health care for older people will also be informed by the latest developments in technology and biological research.

Dr Bernie Conway, of Strathclyde's Department of Bioengineering, has expertise in improving the mobility of people with motor impairments such as Parkinson's. He said : "The increasing challenges of old age and longevity for the individual, service providers and taxpayers has heightened interest in the contribution research can make to improving the quality of life of older people.

"SPARC is an extremely timely initiative and will bridge the gap between biology, engineering, design and older people."

The launch will take the form of a daylong workshop showcasing design, engineering and biological ageing-related research taking place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As well as a briefing on SPARC research awards, presentations will be made on issues as diverse as :

  • Cognitive Functioning and The Ageing Brain
  • New Technologies to Support Independence
  • The Challenge of Going Out of Doors
  • The Biomechanics of Growing Older
  • The Ageing Cell and Growing Older
  • Vision and Ageing
  • SPARC is funded by EPSRC and BBSRC.

18 March 2005