User involvement

Workstream leaders

Age UK (formerly Help The Aged) (James Goodwin)
AGE Platform Europe (Anne-Sophie Parent)

About the workstream

As well as the four scientific themes a core element of FUTURAGE will be a focus on involvement of end users in ageing research. Globally there is an increased awareness of the importance of the involvement of older people in research.

All the major research directives from the UN, WHO and many national bodies (eg New Dynamics of Ageing (UK)) recognise this principle. However the extent to which funding bodies have formalised user involvement into their programmes varies greatly across Europe. Additionally, there is great variation in Europe in the state of development of autonomous and representative older people’s groups. In particular, such organisations are in an early stage of development in the new accession countries and equally, age research programmes appear to be embryonic.

There is therefore an acute need to develop the involvement of older people and the user organisations with the research community, so that ageing research is more society driven across the whole of Europe. Such co-ordinating activity will give added value to both communities and strengthen the effectiveness of research expenditure. Equally neglected is the relationship between research and policy and practice and how the involvement of these groups in the research process might improve the impact of knowledge translation.

In a similar vein the non-involvement of older users in product development has led to a huge waste of unused gadgets and the raising of false hopes.

Workshops and reports

Towards a model of user involvement in research workshop 1 - Brussels, Belgium, 25th-26th March 2010

User Involvement workshop 2 - Barcelona, Spain, 13th-14th July 2010