NUI Galway Professor Raises Profile of Research on Ageing

Monday, 30 August 2010

Research on ageing led by Professor Tom Scharf, Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, has been profiled in a new brochure that seeks to raise the profile of social science research in the UK. Published jointly by the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Society of Gerontology, and Age UK, the brochure was recently launched in the House of Commons, London and is part of the Making the Case for the Social Sciences series. The brochure highlights projects undertaken by researchers on ageing that have had a significant impact on public policy or social behaviour, and helped society to address some of the challenges that are associated with demographic change. The research by Professor Scharf is a study of the experiences of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban communities. Having collected an array of information from older residents in neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and Manchester, Professor Scharf drew from the older people's daily experiences of poverty, social isolation, loneliness, and crime to help shape public perceptions of the ageing of some of Britain's most disadvantaged citizens. This research has been used by charities, local authorities, and national government in their efforts to improve the quality of older people's lives. In particular, Professor Scharf's research has encouraged policy-makers to consider intervening earlier in individuals' lives, for example, at times of bereavement or when chronic health problems begin, in order to prevent the onset of disadvantage. Commenting on the research, Professor Scharf said: "It's more important now than ever before for scientists to emphasise the value of their work to a general audience. Policy makers often need good research evidence delivered in simple, jargon-free language. If researchers are to have a positive impact on policy, they have to think of new and creative ways to communicate their findings". Professor Scharf will speak about his research at a forthcoming seminar entitled Maximising the Impact of Research: Perspectives from Social Gerontology on Monday, 13 September at 12 noon in Room MY336, Áras Moyola at NUI Galway. The seminar is open to all. For further details on the seminar please contact the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at 091 495461 or icsg@nuigalway.ie. The Making the Case for the Social Sciences: Ageing brochure is available for download here. -Ends-

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