Parliamentary reception highlights University’s role in empowering communities

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The role of research in empowering communities to become resilient as the world’s population ages was the focus of the University of Stirling’s presence at a Scottish Parliament reception.

Representatives from the University displayed a range of community-facing research projects focusing on ageing and dementia, at the Universities Scotland annual parliamentary reception. The event, which focused on the transformative impact that Scotland’s higher education institutions have in their local communities, was sponsored by Scottish Labour’s Education spokesperson Iain Gray MSP.   

Researchers at the University of Stirling are breaking new ground in understanding ageing and dementia, working with communities to transform the latest insights into innovative, applied solutions that can make a positive difference to quality of life. 

Projects featured as part of the showcase included Our Connected Neighbourhoods led by Dr Richard Ward, which works with partners in Stirling to create dementia inclusive communities at a neighbourhood level, and the REMODEM and REMOAGE projects led by Professor Alison Bowes, which aimed to improve care and support for older people and people with dementia living in rural and remote areas.

Guests at the reception also heard about the Housing and Ageing: Linking Strategy to Future Delivery project which emphasises the benefits of placing housing at the centre of service integration, and the University’s ambitious proposals for an intergenerational living innovation hub. The research hub will combine an innovation lab with a demonstrator community of model intergenerational homes, retail units and workspaces, in a full-scale dementia and age-friendly designed built environment.

Speaking following the reception, Professor Judith Phillips, the University’s Deputy Principal (Research), said:

“Population ageing may be a global phenomenon, but it will be experienced primarily in those communities where we live, work and socialise. Researchers at the University of Stirling are at the forefront of efforts to understand how communities can respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society, pioneering new approaches to allow all older people to live healthier, independent lives for longer.

“By working in partnership, we can ensure that communities are prepared for the challenges of the future with confidence.”