How the Foresight ageing project supported development of the Industrial Strategy Ageing Society Grand Challenge
The PM recently announced the first Ageing Society Grand Challenge mission. She set us the challenge of ensuring everyone enjoys five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035. And that we should achieve this while narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest.
This is a stretching ambition. It will need government to work in partnership with industry and the third sector. It will also need great new ideas throughout people’s lives that promote good health. Achieving it, however, will transform ageing in the UK – from something people fear into something we all celebrate.
Fewer of us will be forced out of work through ill health or caring responsibilities. More people will be able to continue contributing skills and experience in their industries and communities. More of us will be able to remain happy and independent in their own home. More British companies will have innovative approaches which help achieve this. Their products will have a growing global market. All of which means it’s a great area of focus for the Grand Challenge.
Getting to this announcement is the result of lots of careful work. We had to think through all the challenges and opportunities of population ageing. Then we worked which issues were key for the Industrial Strategy to intervene in. So, it was incredibly helpful to have the Foresight Future of an Ageing Population project to hand. Using it, we had:
- a collated evidence base allowing us to quickly explore the key issues, and how they were related: housing and disability, technology and care services, life-long education and health
- ready access to a network of experts who understood these connections well and were willing to get involved in shaping policy
- a team in the Government Office for Science who knew the evidence and experts well
- importantly, they were also willing to roll up their sleeves and help us develop the policy
- and great workshop materials, which we used at points in our policy development to explore issues in more depth
If you’re grappling with a long-term issue like population ageing, get in touch with the team. You won’t regret it. They may have already done some work you can use, in which case you’re in luck! And even if they haven’t, they’ll always have good tools and advice for thinking through a new issue.