School of Social and Political Science

University of Edinburgh projects to meet challenge of healthy ageing



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New research in the School of Social and Political Science has received a portion of £3million awarded to the University to meet the challenge of healthy ageing. 

The project Healthy Working Lives has been awarded £1.7million, and is being led by Professor Linda McKie, Head of the School of Social and Political Science. It will focus on employment in the social care sector.

Healthy Working Lives is one of two new initiatives at the University of Edinburgh to be funded by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Healthy Ageing Challenge.

The second project, Beyond 10,000 Steps, includes SPS' Dr Lynne Robertson-Rose in its team of multidisciplinary researchers, and will be led by the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Both are in collaboration with the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC).

Healthy Working Lives – employment in the social care sector

Healthy Working Lives, will address challenges in the recruitment, retention and enhancement of the health and wellbeing of older workers employed in residential care sectors.

Working closely with the sector, the project will aim to establish how social care can be promoted as a socially meaningful and personally fulfilling area of paid work. Outputs will include practical ways to remove barriers to fulfilling and longer-term work as well as exploring ways to support existing workers to determine their developmental needs. 

Project lead Linda McKie, Dean and Head of the School of Political and Social Science, said: “Care work has a high staff turnover rate, and we want to work with the care sector to lower this, by making it an attractive proposition for older workers looking for rewarding work.”

Beyond 10,000 steps – University of Edinburgh Business School

Beyond 10,000 Steps, led by University of Edinburgh Business School, will work with employers and older workers to understand ways in which health needs can be addressed to enable productive later-life employment.

Dr Lynne Robertson-Rose, Career Development Fellow at SPS, will investigate financial wellbeing as part of the project.

Using these findings, the aim is to develop a suite of innovative projects and data-driven interventions to improve the health, wellbeing, and financial stability of older workers.

Wendy Loretto, Dean of the Business School, said “With this funding in place, we have a real opportunity to make a difference to older people in the workplace, ensuring they are well supported to continue in their chosen career.”

The UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge

The Healthy Ageing Challenge was established by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to support projects encouraging older people to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected across generations for as long as possible.

Within the Challenge, the Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme awarded grants of up to £2 million to projects which would provide insights into the needs and opportunities of an ageing population.

The University of Edinburgh was successful in gaining two out of the seven awards made under the programme.

The UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

The UKRI established the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) to address the big societal challenges being faced by UK businesses today. It’s made up of 23 challenges, covering the four themes of the government’s industrial strategy:

  • clean growth
  • ageing society
  • future of mobility
  • artificial intelligence and data economy

The projects began work on 8 March. A more detailed look at each project will be published later in the year.