Impact Brochure
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Impact brochure - Making the Case for the Social Sciences - Ageing

A new brochure from the Academy of the Social Sciences, BSG and Age UK makes the case for ageing research

Click on the link below to download a copy of the brochure:

Impact Brochure (0.65MB)

The speech given by Professor Judith Phillips, Past President of BSG at the Westminster Launch of Making the Case for the Social Sciences - Ageing

Speaking as the president of the British Society of Gerontology (the BSG) I am delighted to have this opportunity to launch and promote this important booklet.

Ageing is often described as one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century; one which is to be celebrated - the fact that a longer and better quality of life is achievable presents us with opportunities in relation to employment, family life, leisure, volunteering and intergenerational relationships. Many of these opportunities which we now take for granted have been heralded by decades of excellent quality research in this country on the social and behavioural aspects of ageing. As well as demonstrating the potential of our later years, ageing research also provides the evidence needed to underpin sustainable policies and practices to meet the needs of our ageing population and represents great value for money, providing solutions to the needs of later life.

The BSG is a society of 400+ members- academics, researchers, practitioners and policy makers who are interested in promoting an understanding of ageing and later life.  The BSG brings together researchers from a wide range of disciplines. Our members come from the social and behavioural sciences; humanities; medicine; health, housing and social care; policy; voluntary agencies; graduate and postgraduate students. This multidisciplinary perspective is one of the key strengths of our society.

We are committed to raising the profile of ageing research, making the outcomes of our research more visible, and improving the quality of life of older people. We seek to achieve this through supporting and promoting the impact of high quality research, challenging stereotypes and providing an evidence base for policy and practice. We are a leading academic voice in the UK, with a world-wide reputation for research on ageing and its dissemination. Leading members of the society are in constant demand to speak at major international conferences.

Our commitment to raising the profile of ageing led us to invite the Academy of Social Sciences and AgeUK to jointly produce this brochure. We are very pleased that this idea 18 months ago has resulted in such a prestigious launch and I would (especially) like to thank the Academy for recognising the importance of ageing research and including it in their series on ‘making the case for the social sciences’.

(It is our hope that) the brochure will enable government and other stakeholders to appreciate and further their knowledge of the importance of ageing research; to see its value. It will also provide a key foundation document for others, outside government, who are working to improve the lives of older people. Many of the examples of research undertaken by our members and highlighted in the booklet have been replicated and used in policy and practice in other countries and contexts. Leading institutions abroad are interested in drawing on our experience of documenting and monitoring the outcomes and impact of ageing research in a similar way.

I'd like to draw your attention to a few examples in the booklet: examples which illustrate the vital role which social gerontology plays in exploring issues of national and global importance - through dementia care mapping improving the lives of older people in care homes; around financial provision for later life and through work on older people in deprived urban areas leading to Help the Aged's £8m Christmas appeal. This publication reflects the reach and significance of our members’ research portfolio. It also demonstrates the high quality of research and the international calibre of the people leading ageing research in the UK.

It is impossible for a 22 page booklet to capture the full range and diversity of research on ageing and later life. Indeed the booklet only captures the briefest executive summary of each of the areas of work discussed. A major part of our strategic initiative - to raise the profile of ageing research - continues with similar examples being showcased on the BSG website - we will be having a rolling programme of examples making the case for ageing research and demonstrating impact. I hope the launch of this brochure will be an invitation and encouragement for people to contact the BSG and to explore the relevance and functionality of our work to the needs of society.

Social and behavioural sciences in general face a difficult time given the current economic situation. It is imperative that we (AgeUK, BSG and the Academy) collectively demonstrate the importance and value of ageing research, as well as provide greater visibility in discussions around social sciences. Given the value for money of ageing research with clear examples of how research improves the lives of older people, it will be important to build on today’s initiative. I see the Society playing a part in developing and responding to this agenda and hope you agree with me that this is an excellent start. If anyone would like to make any comments or raise any questions, please do email BSG at the address on the brochure. Likewise if you have any of your contributions you would like to make to the ageing debate please do email.

I would like to thank all who compiled the brochure on behalf of BSG and all members who contributed to it. Thank you.
Finally I would like to thank you for coming to the launch- the significance of the event is illustrated by the diversity and status of you all.
Thank you.