Position statement by Sarah Harper, Jaco Hoffman et al. - Societal Need for Interdisciplinary Ageing Research: An International Alliance of Research Universities “Ageing, Longevity and Health” Stream (IARU-ALH)
Ageing is a global concern with major social, health, and economic implications. While individual countries seek to develop responses to immediate, pressing needs, international attention and collaboration is required to most effectively address the multifaceted challenges and opportunities an ageing global population presents in the longer term. The Ageing, Longevity and Health stream of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU-ALH) was built on a solid foundation of first-class interdisciplinary research and on innovative outreach and communication centres. This interdisciplinary network conducts projects that span biology, medicine, social sciences, epidemiology, public health, policy, and demography, and actively engages with the public and other societal stakeholders. Here we posit that such international interdisciplinary networks are needed and uniquely placed to address major challenges related to health and ageing and ultimately will produce new understanding and knowledge to promote the awareness of healthy ageing and encourage societal change via novel, science-informed interventions. Global interdisciplinary research presents great potential and opportunities to accelerate our understanding of human ageing and to produce new, more effective solutions to a pressing, complex problem. However, more focused, strategic efforts and investments are required in order to deliver on these potentials and reap maximum benefits for individuals and societies. IARU-ALH members are determined to contribute, in collaboration with others, to delivering on this vision.