KT-EQUAL: Putting ageing and disability research into practice


Research into ageing aimed at improving the lives of older and disabled people has received, over the last 11 years, significant financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In particular, the EQUAL (extending quality of life of older and disabled people) programme and associated network has encouraged a wide range of research; including design of the built environment to encourage safe and enjoyable use by older people, inclusive products which can be used by everyone including older people, and technological applications in the home to maintain independence in later life. The research has had a significant impact upon a range of groups; for example it has led to major changes to building regulations and to housing corporation specifications and has also identified best practice in a range of social, health, planning and design professions. A number of trial products have also been developed. With the increasing proportion of older people in the population, there is a growing urgency for evidence and knowledge to inform solutions to enable older people, for example, to maintain their independence, to continue to be active in the workplace for as long as they choose, and to benefit from emerging technologies. Meeting these and other challenges will be the focus of the work of the KT EQUAL consortium which brings together experts in engineering, construction, architecture, participatory and inclusive design, rehabilitation, psychology, change management and public engagement to work collaboratively with each other and with older people to promote knowledge transfer in innovative and effective ways. From the outset, EQUAL recognised the importance of involving older people so that they can both inform what research is undertaken in this area, and help to determine how that research is conducted. This will characterise the approach and working methods of the KT EQUAL Consortium. We will consult with older people, their carers, those that work with older people, with policy makers and with others. Older people will be invited onto project groups to directly influence the work programme of the Consortium. Views of a wider group of participants (including older people) will be sought through a variety of activities which will take place in different venues across the country. In these ways, older people will help us to identify the research topics and research results which are of importance to them, and what should happen as a result. A priority for the KT EQUAL consortium will be to actively draw the attention of industry and others to the needs of the ageing population and to the outcomes and impact of the EQUAL and SPARC programmes which offer great potential benefits for society, including excellent investment opportunities for industry. This will be achieved in part through events to raise awareness and a high profile in the media. We will work with stakeholders such as manufacturers, technologists, designers, as well as those responsible for delivering public services throughout. The Consortium will also encourage researchers to publicise their work in ways that will be understood by a wide audience so that new ideas might be taken forward by older people themselves, by professions working directly with older people and by those developing services/ products for older people.The KT EQUAL Consortium will also take over from SPARC to support the career development of researchers who are interested and committed to research concerning older people. We need to support the workforce that has already been funded through the EQUAL programme as well as identifying new researchers. We will also address the pressing need to develop the capacity of older people to engage and participate in ageing research and in the application of its findings..


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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/G030898/1 05/01/2009 31/05/2009 £1,873,016
EP/G030898/2 Transfer EP/G030898/1 05/01/2009 04/07/2013 £1,873,015
Description the grant was for knowledge transfer out of the extending quality life of older and disabled people managed by the EPSRC
Exploitation Route The work was an exemplar for realising the impact out of research
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Healthcare,Transport

Description as exemplars of how to create research impact
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Healthcare,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Community Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Research Assistants attended a meeting with the local Community Forum and presented the study.

The forum agreed to circulate maketing materials to relevant older people groups in the area and signposted the study team to a number of other local groups and organisations to approach for recruitment activity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description KT-EQUAL weblog 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact KT-EQUAL weblog launched and integrated into the KT-EQUAL website to provide news updates, topical commentary, audio interviews and a place for public dialogue.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
Description Parliamentary Working Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Unknown
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description university lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk on technology for an older population -how professional practice needs to take digital technologies into account
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016