The future of ageing

Current Project

Current in-depth inquiry

This inquiry is exploring ethical questions in relation to the role of science and technology in helping people live well in old age.

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Bella Starling (Chair of the working group) is a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow and Director of Vocal, at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Her career has spanned basic research, science writing, biomedical ethics, public engagement, patient involvement and science policy, as a practitioner, action researcher, strategic adviser and funder. She is passionate about inclusion in, and democratisation of, biomedical and health research; her Fellowship explores how public engagement with research acts as a catalyst for scientific and social change.

Muna Al-Jawad is a Consultant in Medicine for Older People at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. She is a senior lecturer in medical education and lead for curriculum development at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Muna is a practitioner-researcher. She uses qualitative methods to explore, understand and improve healthcare practices, particularly regarding care for older people and practitioner identity. In addition, she draws comics as part of her research process - you can find some of them here.

Carol Brayne CBE is a Professor of Public Health Medicine and Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health in the University of Cambridge. Her research focus has been longitudinal studies focusing on brain ageing and dementia, studies that contribute to national and international policy development. She has led research on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications around diagnostic testing and availability. She is a member and chair of scientific advisory boards, Royal College and Charity Committees.

Frances Flinter is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Genetics at Guy’s & St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, where she was also the Caldicott Guardian for 12 years. Currently, she acts as Scientific Advisor to the Science and Technology Committee for their investigation into Commercial Genomics. She was the elected President of the Clinical Genetics Society from 2009-11 and previously served on the Human Genetics Commission. Frances was a member of the Council’s Working Party on mitochondrial replacement therapies.

Ann Gallagher is Head of Nursing & Professor of Care Education, Ethics and Research at the Academy of Nursing, University of Exeter. She is Editor-in-Chief of Nursing Ethics, a Fulbright Scholar and served two terms as a member of the Nuffield Council. She recently co-led (with Michael Dunn) a Wellcome Trust funded project on the theme of Roles, Responsibilities, and the Future Care of Older Adults, bringing together perspectives from 11 countries.

Peter Gore is a Professor of Practice in healthy ageing at Newcastle University. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the IMechE and RSA, with a particular focus on the role of technology in ageing. For several years he was an expert evaluator and Project Technical Assistant in ageing, for the EC. He is the co-founder and CEO of ADL Smartcare – an international company which has developed an expert system to match people to appropriate technology. He has sat on several committees & expert advisory groups, as a design judge, advisor etc. In 2018 he was the lead author of the Compression of Functional Decline paper, which focused on the malleability of the ageing process – around which he lectures routinely across the UK and overseas.

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE (until June 2022). Sally was a crossbench (independent) member of the House of Lords and she co-chaired five All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Dementia, Corporate Social Responsibility, Bladder and Bowel Continence Care, Social Care and Ageing and Older People. She was Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Choice at the End of Life and Longevity, and Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Equalities. Sally also Chaired the cross-party Intergenerational Fairness Forum. Sally was Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK. Her work on ageing has been recognised by the UN Committee on Ageing and she received an outstanding achievement award from the British Society of Gerontology as well a British Geriatric Society Medal. Sally was UK Woman of Europe in 1990 and was an Ambassador for the Prince of Wales supporting responsible business practice.

We were greatly saddened to hear of the death of Baroness Greengross on 23 June 2022. Her passion & dedication to improving the lives of older people was truly inspiring, and we have greatly valued her contributions to our work.

Rachel Griffiths MBE has been involved in implementing the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) in England and Wales since its inception in 2007 and has been awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable people. Her main area of interest is the implementation of the MCA throughout health and social care, in particular embedding its human rights-based empowering ethos into practice. She was formerly the MCA lead at the Care Quality Commission. She is part of the leadership group of the National Mental Capacity Forum, and of the UK Department of Health and Social Care working groups on the code of practice and workforce implementation for the forthcoming Liberty Protection Safeguards.

Sarah Harper CBE is Clore Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, a Fellow at University College, and the Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing. She currently directs the Oxford Programme on Fertility, Education and Environment (OxFEE) and is PI on the DAI@Oxford Programme, part of the Design Age Institute of the Royal College of Art. She was appointed a CBE for services to Demography in 2018. Sarah served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, which advises the UK Prime Minister on the scientific evidence for strategic policies and frameworks, and Chaired the Government Review into the Future of the UK's Ageing Population. She is a Board member of the UK Research Integrity Office and of Health Data Research UK. Sarah is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropology Institute and holds a Royal Society for Public Health Arts and Health Research Award for her research.

Janet Lord FMedSci is Professor of Immune Cell Biology and director of the MRC-Versus Arthritis Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research at Birmingham University. She is a theme lead in the NIHR Birmingham BRC in Inflammation. Her primary research focus is in the effect of ageing upon immune function and how this limits the ability of older adults to resolve inflammation and predisposes them to chronic inflammatory disease. She also researches the link between chronic systemic inflammation and physical frailty in old age and chronic disease. In this context Professor Lord has a particular interest in the role played by stress (physical and psychological) and the altered HPA axis in modulating immunity and frailty in old age and following an injury. In 2013 she was awarded the Lord Cohen of Birkenhead medal for her outstanding research in human ageing by the British Society for Research in to Ageing. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

James Nazroo FBA FaCSS, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, founding and co-Director of the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) and founding and Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre of Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). His research on ageing has been concerned to understand the patterns and determinants of social and health inequalities in ageing populations. He was PI of the fRaill programme, an interdisciplinary study of inequalities in later life, and is co-PI of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is a multi-disciplinary panel study of those aged 50 and older. His work on ethnicity/race has focused on developing an understanding of the links between ethnicity, racism, inequality and health.

Mark Schweda is a philosopher and bioethicist. He is Professor for Ethics in Medicine at the Department of Health Services Research of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Oldenburg (Germany). His work focuses on ethical aspects of aging, the life course, and human temporality, on the role of assistive technologies and digitization in medicine and health care, as well as on questions of political philosophy.

Mehrunisha Suleman is a medically trained bioethicist and public health researcher who is leading the Health Foundation's COVID-19 impact inquiry. She has a range of research experience spanning from healthcare systems analysis to empirical ethics evaluation. She was previously co-editor of the NHS Atlas of Variation for Diabetes and Liver Disease at the Department of Health. More recently she has been working as a researcher at the University of Cambridge conducting an ethical analysis of the experiences and inequalities faced by patients and families trying to access effective palliative and end of life care services. She has extensive outreach and engagement experience, include working with minority groups and diverse sectors across the UK and globally. She is a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Patrick Vernon OBE is Associate Director for Connected Communities for the Centre for Ageing Better. He is a Clore and Winston Churchill Fellow, Fellow of Goodenough College, Fellow at Imperial War Museum, Fellow of Royal Historical Society and former associate Fellow for the department of history of medicine at Warwick University. He is also Independent Adviser on Equality and Diversity for Lambeth Council. Patrick is currently chair of Citizenship Partnership for HSIB and Non-Executive Director for Hertfordshire NHS Trust. He is the founder of Every Generation Media and 100 Great Black Britons, which develops education programmes, publications, and films on cultural heritage and family history. Patrick was made Pioneer of the Nation for Cultural History by the Queen in 2003 and was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his work on tackling health inequalities and ethnic minority communities. He is a leading expert on African and Caribbean genealogy in the UK.

Gry Wester is a healthcare management consultant at VMLY&R HEALTH, working on market access and business strategy in the specialty, Rx, pharmaceutical and biotech sector. Prior to joining VMLY&R HEALTH, Gry was a lecturer and researcher at King's College London. She has 15 years' experience in health and health care research, specialising in health equity, resource allocation in health care, and public health policy.

A register of interests for the working group is available here.