The £98 million Healthy Ageing Programme, funded by the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and led by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will open its first tranche of competitions today. The programme will stimulate new ideas for products, services and business models, to help us live healthier, happier and more independent lives as we age.
One third of children born this year are expected to live to 100. By 2040, around one in seven people in the UK are projected to be over the age of 75 (rising from one in 12 today), but ageing should not be seen as a burden on society. The over-50s account for 76% of the UK’s financial wealth and nearly half of all consumer spending. There are great opportunities for business to create products and exploit new markets, which will bolster our economy and generate jobs.
The UK’s world leading academic, innovation and technology sectors are in prime position to support and enhance our longer lives, designing new products to keep us active, productive, independent and socially connected across generations for as long as possible.
Of the range of competitions to open in the coming months, the first two to go live are for Investment Accelerator (opening for applications from 19 August – 6 November) and the Research Director (opening for applications from mid-August – 15 October).
The Investment Accelerator scheme will stimulate private investment in business-led research and development, to grow and bring to market ideas for healthy ageing products and services that have potential to be adopted on a wide scale. A total of £29 million in government grants together with matched funding from private investors will be available over the next four years for projects up to £1.5 million.
The competition for the position of Research Director opens this summer to provide leadership of the upcoming Social, Behavioural and Design Research Programme, and ensure that insight from research makes a difference across the ISCF Healthy Ageing Challenge as a whole. The programme’s largest element (£40m) will be the ‘Trailblazer’ projects, which will stimulate new ideas from a wide range of businesses and social enterprises to develop and deliver products, services and business models at a large scale to support people as they age. These funding grants will open in the autumn.