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Ageing exhibition reveals scientists’ plans for lifelong health

12 November 2007

The UK population is rapidly getting older: a predicted 1 in 4 people will be over the age of 65 by 2031. Ensuring that an increasingly ageing population stays healthy and mobile is a challenge for both the Government and the scientific research community. An exhibition, ‘Lifelong Health: The Bioscience of Ageing’, organised by the publically-funded Biotechnology and Biotechnology Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC) on behalf of Research Councils UK (RCUK), will be launched today in Westminster (Monday 12 November).

The exhibition will describe how UK scientists are working together to overcome key challenges presented by an ageing population. Both the exhibition and accompanying talks will discuss how people can stay healthy and mobile for longer. They will also explore causes, prevention and treatment of age-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and visual impairment.

Speakers at the launch event include Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, host Lord Sutherland, Chair of the House of Lords committee on scientific aspects of ageing and Research Council-funded scientists.

Ian Pearson, speaking ahead of the event said “Research into ageing is a high priority on the Government’s agenda with lifelong health and wellbeing one of the long-term policy challenges.  Scientific advances mean that life expectancy is now twice what it was 100 years ago. An ageing population presents new challenges for society, which we need to tackle.

“This Bioscience of Ageing exhibition will help spread the message across Britain that research into ageing is a priority and that the Government, through our Research Councils, is funding this important work. It demonstrates how the UK is getting a return on its public investment in science which is looking for answers to debilitating age-related conditions.”

Steve Visscher, interim Chief Executive of BBSRC, said “The basic bioscience conducted by BBSRC-funded researchers is essential to underpin our understanding of the human body and how it changes throughout the course of our lives so we can understand how to stay healthier for longer.”

Members of the public will also have the chance to view the exhibit when it visits the Centre for Life in Newcastle from 15 November until February 2008. It will be on display at the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2008.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Lifelong Health: The Bioscience of Ageing is a parliamentary exhibition led by BBSRC and MRC. The launch event will be held on Monday 12 November 2007, 6.00 -8.00pm at Council Room, 1 Great George Street, Westminster, SW1P 3AA.

About BBSRC

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £380 million in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

About MRC

The Medical Research Council is dedicated to improving human health through excellent science. It invests on behalf of the UK taxpayer. Its work ranges from molecular level science to public health research, carried out in universities, hospitals and a network of its own units and institutes. The MRC liaises with the Health Departments, the National Health Service and industry to take account of the public's needs. The results have led to some of the most significant discoveries in medical science and benefited the health and wealth of millions of people in the UK and around the world. http://www.mrc.ac.uk

About RCUK

The seven Research Councils are independent non-departmental public bodies, funded by the Science Budget through the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). They are incorporated by Royal Charter and together manage a research budget of over £2.8 billion a year.

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the partnership between the UK's seven Research Councils. Through RCUK, the Research Councils work together to champion the research, training and innovation they support.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

External contact

MRC Press Office

tel: 020 7637 6011 (out of hours call 07818 428297)

Contact

Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299

Tracey Jewitt, Media Officer

tel: 01793 414694
fax: 01793 413382