Ageing Well Newsletter#1

Welcome to the first of our regular update Newsletters from the Ageing Well National Science Challenge (NSC).

The Challenge is at an important juncture, with our research about to get underway and as we look to recruit a new Science Leadership Team to help provide expert advice and guidance to the future direction of the Challenge.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the background, purpose and structure of the 11 National Science Challenges, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has provided an overview:
National Science Challenges MBIE website

We also have our own Ageing Well NSC website, which we’ll be updating regularly. It provides further background to who we are and what we’re trying to achieve in this important area of research work.
Ageing Well National Science Challenge website

Newsletter topics:

Launch of research projects

Work is well underway to launch the initial core research projects selected to underpin the Ageing Well NSC. These projects comprise a broad selection of researchers and research teams from New Zealand and internationally across a wide range of disciplines. These include neurodegeneration, stroke, gerontology, physical function, primary health care, economics, demography/epidemiology, geography and social sciences. We will continue to keep you in touch with how the research is progressing as projects begin to report findings from late 2016 onwards.

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Contestable round plans

The Ageing Well NSC is making plans to run a Contestable Funding Round. This will help to build upon and expand the scope and potential impacts from the initial portfolio of research projects, while ensuring new people and ideas are incorporated into the Challenge’s work.

The Challenge has set aside funds of $2.8m to provide an Ageing Well Contestable Funding Round for research up to June 2019. The round will be targeted towards ‘gaps’ in the current research portfolio. It will prioritise projects which have the potential to be transformative—rather than “business as usual”—and we hope research results will help develop new multidisciplinary programmes for the second tranche (2019-2024) of the Challenge.

Further details about our plans for contestable funding (including timeframes and process) will be provided by December 2015.

An important element of the gap analysis to support the Contestable Round will be about delivering the high-level impacts we aim to achieve from Ageing Well’s research (as detailed in our Outline document, and on our website):

  •  By 2025, national debate stimulated by Ageing Well research and associated stakeholder and public engagement has led to the development of a new government strategy to support maintenance of health and well-being of older New Zealanders.
  • By 2025, local bodies across New Zealand recognise, and have incorporated into planning documents, the importance of age-friendly environments that facilitate engagement and participation by older New Zealanders and value their contributions to society and the economy.
  • By 2025, the health and disability support needs of older Maori and their whanau, and Pacific peoples will be met by appropriate, integrated health care and disability support services
  • Ageing Well will develop transformative approaches to reducing the stark inequities in health and wellness outcomes that still exist for older Maori and Pacific people, leading to a narrowing of the outcome gaps. The Challenge-derived approaches will be championed by key District Health Boards, before uptake nationally.
  • By 2025, affordable housing strategies will have been introduced, that facilitate ageing in place, access to home equity and market diversity in housing options, as well as making available resources to assist older people make modifications to support timely planning for ageing in place
  • The work of the Ageing Well will deliver a relative reduction of people in residential care facilities in New Zealand, resulting from both reduced frailty and impact from debilitating conditions, and from innovative approaches to support ageing in place.

We would love to hear from you about what you see as the key issue(s) associated with one or more of these high-level impacts. For instance—what is working? What could be done differently? What are the opportunities for further research to help deliver one or more of these impacts?

Please get in touch with us and let us know your views. We would be really interested in your views by Friday, 20 November in order to help inform the Contestable Round design.

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Recruiting a Science leadership Team

The key function of the Ageing Well National Science Challenge’s Science Leadership Team is to act as expert scientific advisory group to the Challenge’s Governance Group and to provide a strategic view of the Challenge’s activity. In so doing, the Science Leadership Team can help ensure research is mission-led and will offer tangible and demonstrable improvements to the lives of all New Zealanders.

We are looking to appoint a Science Leadership Team of approximately six people on staggered appointment terms of up to three years. It is anticipated that up to four meetings per year will be held (two face-to-face, likely in Wellington, and two meetings by teleconference), as well as participation in Challenge activities.

Expressions of interest are requested by Friday, 20 November.

Science Leadership Team information and application material

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Stakeholder engagement

Following the successful National Colloquium held in Wellington in August 2015 work is already underway to design the 2016 event. We will use this opportunity to work with key stakeholders to help design and plan our work programme. Further information about our plans – and how you can get involved – will follow.

2015 Ageing Well National Colloquium Report (including presentations)

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MBIE Catalyst: Strategic fund

Call for proposals from the MBIE Catalyst: Strategic fund (international) are now open. The global strategic partnerships are an investment designed to enable New Zealand research teams to develop enduring science and innovation collaboration partnerships with world-class foreign counterparts on topics important to New Zealand. Funding available is between $80,000 and $150,000 per annum per project, up to a maximum of $450,000 in total over three years. Applications close on 9 November 2015.

MBIE Catalyst: Strategic fund proposal application PDF

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Keeping in touch

We will produce quarterly newsletter updates about our work programme and to help showcase Ageing Well NSC research. Look for us on social media (twitter and facebook) and connect with us. If you know of others who might be interested in receiving these updates or to be part of our mailing lists, please let us know.


Best wishes,

The Ageing Well Team.


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