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2011 Updated Strategy Document

BSG Strategy 2009-2014:
‘Raising the Profile of Ageing Research’

Introduction:

This updated (2011) document reiterates the Society’s commitment to its 5 year strategy; reviews progress towards its aims and objectives over the last two years; and outlines the key activities which have been identified for each task group for 2011-2013.

The BSG’s Strategic Plan serves as our road map and guides us in establishing the annual goals we need to meet along the way. It helps us assess how far we have come toward achieving our strategic goals and recognises where we need to adjust our approaches to achieve better results. We deliberately selected a time frame of 5 years rather than 2 years (as previously) to ensure longer term planning and stability in taking initiatives forward.

As always, we welcome comments from our members in shaping the way forward for the
BSG. Please contact Rachel Hazelwood with any comments. Please follow this link to access the original strategy document.

Aims and objectives:

The Society aims to promote the understanding of human ageing and later life through research and communication; and to foster the application of this knowledge to the improvement of the quality of life in old age.

The overall aim of the strategy is:

To position the BSG as a visible world leader in the development of ageing research.

Objectives:

We wish to ensure that the objectives and activities outlined in the strategy are achievable given the voluntary contributions of the Executive and the Society’s membership. The objectives of the Strategy are:
  1. To support our members in further developing the national and international profile of the society;
  2. To support our members in ensuring that the society contributes to strengthening the social sciences;
  3. To support our members in advancing the Society’s aim of promoting the understanding of human ageing and later life through research and communication;
  4. To support our members in fostering the application of this knowledge to the improvement of the quality of life in old age.

Progress to date in identified areas of activity (2009-2011):

Five main areas of activity were identified for the first two years: advising/lobbying; developing an impact brochure; identity; building capacity (Emerging Researchers in Ageing – BSG ERA); and financing the strategy. Under the leadership of members of the Executive, a series of task/working groups was established to progress these activities. In addition, we also retained some of the working groups outlined in the previous strategy (2006-8), namely Conference Liaison, Publications and International Relations (see appendix for list of all the current groups). Membership of these groups is, of necessity, dynamic and overlapping as people join and leave the Executive and as BSG members volunteer and/or get co-opted to assist us with particular activities.

The activities identified for Years 1 and 2 of the strategy have all been progressed. Details can be found in the reports presented by each group to the 2011 Annual General Meeting held at the Plymouth Conference but highlights include:

• Society on a secure financial footing and underpins the strategic plan.

• Successful completion, launch and distribution of the impact brochure: Making the Case for the Social Sciences: No 2 Ageing.

• Creation and development of the new BSG website and associated publicity materials.

• BSG taken on leadership of the British Council on Ageing (BCA) and increased membership of the Executive to two from each society (BSG, the British Geriatrics Society and the British Society for Research on Ageing).

• Memoranda of Understanding agreed and signed with the International Longevity Centre (ILC)-UK and with Age-UK.

• First BSG/ILC-UK ‘Think Piece’ published and launched: Climate Change and Public Services, by Simon Evans.

• Three members appointed to REF2014 sub-panels: Professors Judith Phillips (Swansea University, Wales) and Alison Bowes (Stirling University, Scotland) to the Social Work and Social Policy sub panel (sub panel 22 of main panel C); and Professor Sara Arber (Surrey University) to Sociology (sub panel 23).

• Extensive work on clarifying BSG’s links with international agencies/ organisations has been completed and a template drawn up to guide future work.

• Nominated by the BSG, Professor Alan Walker was the recipient of the first IAGG-ER ‘Award for Advances in Gerontology and Geriatrics’ in social and behavioural sciences at the European Congress in Bologna in April 2011.

• Small Event Scheme established and Conference Guidelines updated.

• BSG 40th anniversary celebrations underway: 2011-2012.

Planned activities to support years 3 and 4 of the BSG strategy:

Advisory/Lobbying Group

• Continue talks with political leaders to raise awareness of ageing research issues.

• Continue discussions with ESRC Chief Executive and other key funders.

• Progress BSG’s influence through leadership of the British Council on Ageing (BCA) and through other strategic partnerships (eg. through the Memoranda of Understanding we have signed with the ILC-UK and with Age-UK).

• Address postgraduate research issues - especially in the light of the contraction of funding and the concentration of ESRC support into a limited number of designated centres.

• Progress European links/avenues for influencing European agendas.
Lead Responsibility: Miriam Bernard with Robin Means

Membership and Communications group

• Further develop and fine-tune the website over the next 12 months; develop a strategy to maintain an up-to-date and dynamic website.

• Identify our key audiences (e.g. ageing centres, public, older people, media, policy organisations, political arena, other Societies, BSG members, researchers, practitioners, teaching and research centres) and strategies about how to promote our communications.

• Develop a welcome pack for new members and new Executive members.

• Review the benefits of membership and consider how these can be enhanced.

• Consider how to increase our membership and develop a strategy to communicate with lapsed members and encourage renewal of membership.

Lead Responsibility: Wendy Martin

BSG-ERA

• Actively address postdoctoral, as well as postgraduate, issues to reflect the diversity of ERA’s membership.

• Improve the ways in which early career researchers are identified at the point of joining the Society and renewal of membership.

• Identify and support ERA events of benefit to the membership including, for example, an ERA conference and/or event linked to the annual conference; and regional events.

• Maintain and expand links/activities with other similar groups (eg the Australian ERA group, ARGHE, GSA).

Lead Responsibility: Debbie Cairns (postdoc) and Naomi Woodspring (postgrad)

Fundraising and Funds

• Collate guidance from members who have successfully raised sponsorship for local and one day events and make this available to members wishing to organise similar events.

• Document knowledge of how to achieve sponsorship - including for the annual conference.

• Investigate whether the Society might be able to raise money from referrals via the BSG website to academic publishers/booksellers.

• Consider whether corporate or commercial sponsorship for one-off pieces of work might be feasible, for example, pamphlets summarising the current state of knowledge on issues of public interest related to ageing.

Lead Responsibility: Debbie Price

Conference Liaison and Small Events

• Continue to encourage and support appropriate organisations to host the BSG annual conferences.

• Encourage take up of the newly-launched Small Events Scheme.

• Support a full range of events that help develop the national and international profile of the society.
Lead responsibility: Simon Evans

International Relations

• Complete the template(s) which has been devised for each of the EU/international agencies we have links with.

• Develop ways to promote BSG’s ‘International Activities’ more effectively.

• Devise guidelines for those representing the Society on/with international organisations, including reporting mechanisms.

• Have pieces in Generations Review on the nature, and benefits of, the BSG’s international links.

• Devise ways of capturing, and showcasing, members’ international activities (through GR, the website etc).

Lead Responsibility: Alisoun Milne

Publications

• Review and develop new format for publication and distribution of Generations Review.

• Review and update BSG research ethics guidelines for publication on website.

• Publish further ILC-UK ‘Think Pieces’ by BSG members.

• Progress BSG archiving system to maintain a detailed history of BSG for future gerontologists and interested others.

• Review relationships with key stakeholders to maximise opportunities for jointly sponsored publications (e.g. Age UK, ILC-UK, CUP).

• Develop guidelines for BSG sponsored books.

Lead Responsibility: Mary Pat Sullivan