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Other Funded Programmes in Ageing Research

Since 1997 the UK Research Councils have supported a variety of ageing-orientated programmes - EPSRC - EQUAL (Extending Quality Life), BBSRC - SAGE (Scientific Aspects of Ageing) and ERA (Experimental Research in Ageing), ESRC - GO (Growing Older). Since 2005 EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, AHRC, MRC have supported NDA (New Dynamics of Ageing), and in 2007 MRC announced a programme supported by other research councils to establish major centres in Lifelong Health and Wellbeing.

EPSRC and EQUAL: The requirement of current ageing programmes for a multidisciplinary approach and strong user focus builds heavily on the success of the EQUAL initiative which pioneered for the research councils multidisciplinary, collaborative, user-focused ageing research. This initiative resulted in many significant advances of value to policy makers and professionals working with older people and direct benefits to many older people. Details of EQUAL and the projects it supported can be found at the EQUAL web site (which is rather out-of-date) but the more recent projects and major projects funded as EQUAL Consortia on  Prolonging Independence in Old Age, are described in detail below.

Current EQUAL Consortia Projects

Four Projects resulting from the EPSRC Sand-Pit - Taking Care to the Patient :

Other Current EPSRC Funded Projects

Other Recently Completed EPSRC Projects (*= EQUAL)

Cognition, dementia, learning disabilities

Vision and Hearing

Design for All

Housing and Care

Accessibility and Driving


Lifelong Health and Wellbeing

MRC and LLHW: The LLHW programme is managed by MRC on behalf of other research councils and the Departments of Health of the UK and the devolved governments. General details are available at the MRC website. Here is the list of projects and networks supported so far.

The three funded centres

Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology Host: University of Edinburgh Director: Professor Ian Deary

Centre for Brain Ageing and Vitality Host: Newcastle University Director: Professor Doug Turnbull

The Crucible Centre Host: University College London Director: Professor Nick Tyler

Ten Collaborative Development Networks


New Dynamics of Ageing

ESRC and NDA: The NDA programme managed by ESRC but which has received significant funding from other research councils is expected to continue for some time. General details are available at the NDA programme website and the ESRC website. Here is the complete list of NDA projects and networks.

Preparatory Networks: These 11 networks ran from October 2006 to November 2007. They were funded specifically to prepare applications for the second call for Collaborative Research projects in November 2007.

Collaborative Research Projects: These are major multi-disciplinary collaborations consisting of various complementary work packages and (usually) several research sites.

Programme Grants: These are stand-alone projects of a smaller scale and usually based at one research site.


SPARC & KT-EQUAL Workshops

Please refer to the KT-EQUAL website for forthcoming workshops.

Latest Executive Summaries and Monographs

Please refer to the KT-EQUAL website for recently issued monographs.


Become a SPARC/KT-EQUAL Member (no charges) and receive updates and information about our work.

Please refer to the KT-EQUAL website for the current membership form.

The SPARC Story

Welcome to SPARC and KT-EQUAL: Knowledge Transfer for Extending Quality Life

SPARC brings together researchers, practitioners and policy makers in ageing. It specialises in communicating the latest design, engineering and biological ageing-related research to all stakeholders, making the case about the benefits for an ageing population of scientific research, and it encourages new blood into ageing research. Although funding for SPARC ended in December 2008, SPARC is continuing to function from the University of Reading within a new initiative - KT-EQUAL which commenced in January 2009. Soon KT-EQUAL will have its own website but for the time being news and information about SPARC and KT-EQUAL events are being handled by the SPARC website.

SPARC Mission Statement

Supporting Older People by
Putting Research into Practice and
Actively Promoting Needs and Solutions through
Research Leadership and


BBSRC - Biotechnological and Biological Sciences Research Council EPSRC - Engineering and Phsyical Sciences Research Council