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New philanthropic research fund announced at House of Lords event

BRSA

31 October 2014

Aston academics Professor Helen Griffiths and Dr James Brown met with other international scientists, politicians and philanthropists at the House of Lords, this week, to highlight the importance of research into the biology of the ageing process.   

The British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA) is establishing a new charity and initially aims to raise £700,000, which will be used to train early career scientists in biological and biomedical ageing research. 

Professor Griffiths and Dr Brown represented ARCHA, Aston’s Research Centre for Healthy Ageing, which is at the forefront of ageing research. 

At the reception, guests were informed of the importance of ageing research in preventing disease and increasing ‘health span’, which in turn is already yielding interventions which can close to translating intoimproved health and reduced health costs. 

An initial $60,000 was donated to the Fund by the US Glenn Foundation for Medical Research. The Foundation also presented a $60,000 personal research award to Professor Helen Griffiths. The Glenn Foundation provides awards to academics who have significantly contributed to the field of biogerontology. 

Speaking about the new fund, Professor Griffiths, Executive Dean of Life and Health Sciences and Chair of the BSRA, said: “It is difficult for philanthropists to support biogerontology research in the UK. This new Charity will facilitate investment in biological ageing research and help to turn research developments into clinical reality." 

Dr James Brown, whose current research is focussed on the effects of cellular ageing by obesity and metabolic disorders, said: “It is imperative that we invest in fundamental biological research to help ensure that the ageing population worldwide can remain in good health, and avoid the frailty and decline that are becoming too common among older people today. This exciting initiative will help train a new generation of researchers who can continue to support and promote lifelong health and wellbeing.” 

Professor Richard Faragher, of the British Society for Research on Ageing added: “Good health is key to a happy old age. The science of ageing has reached a point at which small amounts of carefully targeted funding will yield great social returns. The time to act is now.” 

The event was attended by a number of leading international research groups, including representatives from UK universities; the British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA); The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research; and The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). 

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Notes to editors 

Visit the British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA) charity fund pages here 

The Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

ARCHA takes a multidisciplinary approach to successful ageing by asking how technological, therapeutic and psychosocial strategies can be employed to understand and arrest age-related decline.

Its mission is to facilitate research that helps understand, predict and prevent age-related degeneration. ARCHA has specific focus on the eye, the mind, the metabolism and medicines and devices in the context of the psychological, social and policy factors affecting ageing lives. 

The British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA) is the oldest scientific society in the world promoting research aimed at achieving a healthy old age. It publishes a journal called Biogerontology. Website: http://www.bsra.org.uk/ .  Its members include many of the greatest scientists in the world interested in the biology of the ageing process. 

The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research was founded in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn to extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the mechanisms of biological ageing. Website: http://glennfoundation.org/ 

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) has supported the science of healthier ageing since its foundation in 1981. AFAR has played a major role in advancing knowledge of ageing and mechanisms of age-related disease by providing grants to more than 2,800 talented scientists. Website: http://www.afar.org/ 

For further media information contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549 or a.earnshaw@aston.ac.uk