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Optentia, North West University, South Africa

The Oxford Institute of Population Ageing at the University of Oxford was established in 1998 with funding from the National Institute on Aging, achieving Institute status in 2001.  Our aim is to undertake research into the implications of population change. We are a multi-disciplinary group with demography as our main disciplinary focus.

The mission of the Optentia Research Focus Area is to develop and organise knowledge for the optimal expression of individual, social and institutional potential, with specific interest in the African context.

Like the North West University itself who came into being in 2004 through the merger of two universities with very different histories, personalities and cultures, Optentia also exemplifies a highly innovative approach. The research entity utilises the inputs from various disciplines, including Work, Educational, Clinical, Counselling and Research Psychology, Risk Management, Information Technology, Human Resource Management, Sociology, Educational Sciences, Employment Relations, and Social Work. These multidisciplinary inputs are used to study the optimisation of potential through an approach of moving “from precarity to capability”.

It is therefore, a partnership which will build on these existing strengths and together create opportunities for even greater success for both institutions.