The Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative was announced in 2015 with funding from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research for three years. Associate Professor Clare Newton and Dr Ruth Williams remain involved with an active community of researchers on ageing at the University.
Context: an opportunity and a challenge
- Australians aged 65+ years in 2016 was 3.7 million (15%). By 2056, it is projected the number will be 8.7 million (22%).
- Australians aged 55+ years are the fastest growing segment of the workforce and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
- The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) estimated 354,000 people with dementia in Australia in 2016—projected to reach around 833,000 in 2046.
- Opportunities exist—7 in 10 older Australians considered they had good, very good or excellent health (AIHW, 2017).
The Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative reinforced and focused the University's research capacity and commitment to leadership in this field. As a hub for information, resources, discussion forums and events, the Initiative provided collaborative frameworks for University of Melbourne researchers in ageing to unite and pursue large-scale project and funding opportunities. The Initiative also supported research activities through smaller-scale incentives such as seed funding and facilitated connection between researchers and industry partners.
[Banner image source: Ruth Williams]
From an interdisciplinary base, the Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative built on existing strengths of the University to cultivate a new network of researchers in ageing - to share ideas among multiple stakeholders and across a broad range of disciplines.
Bringing together research and researchers working in creative ageing solutions
Research projects awarded competitive funding by the Ageing Hallmark Research Initiative involved University of Melbourne academics--from 14 schools, departments and faculties--with industry partners, peak bodies and academics from other universities.
An active, engaged community of researchers and practitioners continues to be involved in nurturing research, learning and teaching in the 'ageing' space.
- Attitudes to ageing in Australia. Lead researcher - Dr Joshua Healy
- Sexual health and healthy ageing over the life-course—what can GPs do? Lead researcher - Professor Jane Hocking
- The role of cultural institutions in facilitating an age-integrated society. Lead researcher - Dr Andrew Jamieson
- Design for building engaged, inclusive & resilient residential aged care workforce. Lead researcher - Associate Professor Lucio Naccarella
- Self-compassionate ageing: A brief intervention to promote heart-health and happiness in older adults. Lead researcher - Associate Professor Christina Bryant
- Promoting healthy ageing in Vietnam veterans. Lead researcher - Associate Professor Meaghan O'Donnell
- Reframing stroke rehabilitation spaces: The role of learning in recovery and its implications for design evaluation. Lead researcher - Associate Professor Clare Newton and Prof Julie Bernhardt
- The role of masculinity in the suicidality of men aged 80 years or more. Lead researcher - Dr Kylie King
- Active-VR for engaging older adults with dementia in residential aged care. Lead researcher - Dr Steven Baker
- Intergenerational co-housing: Perceptions among older adults. Lead researcher - Dr Irja Haapala-Biggs
Discipline based initiatives linked to ageing
[The Arts] Creative Ageing: a proposal for an ARC Centre of Excellence - led by Professor Jane Davidson. This research will consider how the brain responds to creative activity, mapping the neural scaffolding mechanisms by which different creative arts engagements selectively maintain and/or protect cognitive, affective, social and physical functioning, thereby promoting wellbeing and healthy ageing.
[Technology] Virtual reality, older adults and social participation - ARC Discovery project led by Professor Frank Vetere. As people approach advanced old age their opportunities to engage in social activities often diminish due to increasing frailty. This project investigates how full-bodied gesture-based interactions and avatars can be used to create a sense of virtual presence between older people.
[History and Philosophy] The Museum Multiple: Understanding older visitors - a McCoy project led by Dr Andrew Jamieson 2016-2018. Museums as places of learning and stimulation; enjoyment, engagement and entertainment and social inclusion. Interviews and surveys of over 100 visitors highlighted the role of the museum as places for intergenerational experiences.
[Design] Age-friendly inclusive design, residential aged care including design for dementia
Agile housing, inclusive design, age-friendly communities and design for dementia. Agile housing and age-friendly cities - Associate Professor Clare Newton.
Inclusive design - Dr Andrew Martel.
Hospice design - Professor Alan Pert.
Affordable housing - Professor Carolyn Whitzman.
Design for dementia - Dr Hing-Wah Chau.
[Workforce] Creating conditions for a thriving ageing workforce
Keeping wisdom at work - Dr B Brijnath.
Ageism in Australia and the workforce - Dr Josh Healy and Dr Ruth Williams.
[Bioinformatics] Telehealth and mobile health
Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre (HaBIC) - Associate Professor Kathleen Gray. Focuses on why and how to describe, collect, store, analyse and visualise health data, health information and health knowledge in order to contribute to planning, problem-solving, decision-making and inquiry.
[Health] Multiple research projects including general medicine, stroke, cancer and psychiatry
Academic Unit for the Psychiatry of Old Age (AUPOA) - Professor Nicola Lautenschlager.
@Ageing - Prof Andrea Maier.
Stroke and the AVERT Early Intervention Research Program - Professor Julie Bernhardt.
Older and Wiser - A co-designed, online, supportive care resource for older adults affected by cancer.
[Generational] Population ageing research and multi-generational initiatives
UoM base of Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR) - Associate Professor Jeromy Temple. CEPAR is a collaboration between academia, government and industry.
Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program - Professor Lisa Gibbs. Includes research on the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program which is revealing benefits for older volunteers.
[Teaching] The Master of Ageing - hosted by the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. This fully online degree includes subjects on the body, health, ethics, economics, technology, design, social work, and the workforce. This course concludes with an applied research project related to the workplace of the student.