Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 113

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
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S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : E U R O P E A N I N S T I T U T E O F I N N O V AT I O N & T E C H N O L O G Y
delivering this campus as an innovation centre,
bringing together many different actors to
consider and cultivate solutions around ageing.
“Last year, UK Finance Minister George
Osborne was looking for new locations for
centres that could create wealth from science.
The UK Government’s chief scientific advisor,
Professor Sir Mark Walport, was given the task
of identifying potential opportunities. Newcastle
was identified for its strength in ageing
research, and an assessment resulted in the
award of £20m of funding from the government
to establish the NASI.”
Multidimensional
Bringing together different research strands
is an essential component of the Institute
for Ageing, according to Armitage. This helps
strengthen the strong links between clinical
research and basic biology that are assisting
scientists in understanding how and why ageing
takes place and how co-morbidities develop, but
also considers the social aspects of ageing.
NASI will do this, too, but with a focus on how
new breakthroughs can be deployed, particularly
through the use of technology.
“Ageing research is difficult,” said Armitage.
“It’s a relatively new discipline and subject
matter, in that it is actually a collection of
disciplines. There has not been funding for
research or innovation until relatively recently,
probably the last five years or so. Consequently,
there are many pockets of activities around the
globe, but there are few centres that have
sufficient breadth and depth to be able to bring
together all the different strands and consider
all the issues relating to ageing. We hope that
the new NASI will build on our ability to do this.
“We have a strong portfolio of research around
the mechanisms of ageing, and this includes
focusing on some of its biomarkers and how
we can measure it, for example biological
IN
December 2014, Newcastle University, UK,
announced the creation of a new national innovation
centre focusing on ageing and age-related conditions.
The National Centre for Ageing Science and Innovation (NASI) is
backed by a £20m (~€27m) investment by the UK Government and
will lead the country’s efforts towards improving the health and
wellbeing of people as they grow older. It will also tackle the
challenges associated with ageing as well as investigating the
opportunities offered by an older population.
The NASI will be located at Newcastle University, which will match the
UK Government’s financial commitment. The centre will bring together
academics, researchers, industry, the public and doctors from the
university’s Institute for Ageing and local NHS to develop and bring to
market new products that will optimise the health and wellbeing of older
people. The centre will also support 1,300 jobs across the city and
provide a £22m economic boost to the region.
Speaking to Graham Armitage, deputy director for innovation and
partnerships at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, Portal
discovered more about this exciting new venture. Armitage began by
outlining the important emphasis that the university places on ensuring
its research leads to tangible benefits to the local community and society.
“Newcastle views itself as a world class civic university and wants to see
its science contribute to global society and regional development. We hope
that NASI will be the next stage in the development of the Campus for
Ageing and Vitality, the headquarters of our Institute for Ageing. We are
Innovating ageing
Speaking to
Portal,
Newcastle University’s
Graham Armitage
details the
development of the UK’s new ageing research and innovation institute
Graham Armitage
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