A senior UK politician visited the University of Stirling today (Friday 22 March) to hear about its internationally renowned work on ageing and dementia.
UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, was welcomed to the Faculty of Social Sciences by the University’s Principal, Professor Gerry McCormac and Senior Deputy Principal, Professor Malcolm MacLeod. The Minister learned about the University’s ageing research and proposals for an intergenerational village and innovation hub.
An Ageing Society is one of four major challenges identified in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.
Lord Duncan – who also met Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Principal for Research, and Martin Quirke, from the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) – was given a demonstration of Iridis, a specialist app providing guidance on dementia design. He also took a tour of the University’s Design and Technology Suite, a specialist unit that showcases the principles of dementia-friendly design and the types of innovative solutions that can help support independence for older people living with the condition.
L-R: Professor Alison Bowes, Principal Professor Gerry McCormac, Lord Duncan, Martin Quirke & Professor Malcolm MacLeod
UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said: “A key priority for the UK Government is to support innovation for our ageing society. As people are living longer, we want to make sure they are also living independently and happily. This is why the UK Government is investing over £300 million from our Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to tackle issues like this.
“Scotland has a reputation as a world leader in innovation and research and it is great to see the vital contribution by the University of Stirling to one of society’s most pressing problems.”
The University is a leading centre of expertise in ageing and dementia research, with researchers working closely with policymakers and practitioners to develop cutting-edge solutions to encourage independence and wellbeing in older age.
It has developed plans for an Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub, acting as a test-bed for the latest technological, health and social care, architectural, and streetscape solutions to living well in older age. It will also enable communities to live together in a way that provides benefit and support to all.
Professor Phillips said: “As the population ages and people live for longer, there are opportunities for businesses in the field of ageing. Working with industry and policymakers, University of Stirling researchers are developing innovative solutions to the challenges of ageing and dementia that are enabling older people to live independent lives, for longer.
“Our plans for an Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub build on this track record, positioning Scotland at the forefront of cutting-edge research on design and services for older people.”
Other innovations at the University include the award-winning Iridis app, developed by DSDC in collaboration with Space Group to offer expert guidance on dementia design at the touch of a button. App users can assess both new and existing buildings to understand the impact of the environment – such as layout and internal finish – on people with dementia, allowing those with age-related impairments to enjoy a greater quality of life and remain independent for longer.