NUIG professor to reveal groundbreaking research on ageing

Professor Tom Scharf.

Professor Tom Scharf.

A leading local university professor, who has conducted groundbreaking research on ageing, will share his findings with the public at a seminar to be held in the city later this month.

Professor Tom Scharf, the director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway, will speak about his research at the event entitled “Maximising the Impact of Research: Perspectives from Social Gerontology” on Monday, September 13 at noon at Room MY336, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway.

He has been profiled in a new brochure aimed at raising the profile of social science research in the UK. Published jointly by the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Society of Gerontology, and Age UK, it was launched recently at the House of Commons and is part of the ‘Making the Case for the Social Sciences” series.

The publication highlights projects undertaken by researchers on ageing that have had a significant impact on public policy or social behaviour and help society to address some of the challenges that are associated with demographic change.

Professor Scharf’s research focuses on the experiences of older people living in some of England’s most disadvantaged urban communities. Having collected an array of information from older residents in neighbourhoods in London, Liverpool and Manchester, he drew from the older people’s daily experiences of poverty, social isolation, loneliness, and crime to help shape public perceptions of the ageing of some of Britain’s most disadvantaged citizens. This research has been used by charities, local authorities, and national government in their efforts to improve the quality of older people’s lives.

The professor’s research has encouraged policy makers to consider intervening earlier in people’s lives, for example, at times of bereavement or when chronic health problems begin, to prevent the onset of disadvantage.

Commenting on the research, Professor Scharf said it is more important now than ever before for scientists to emphasise the value of their work to a general audience.

“Policy makers often need good research evidence delivered in simple, jargon-free language. If researchers are to have a positive impact on policy, they have to think of new and creative ways to communicate their findings.”

For further details on the seminar contact the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at (091 ) 495461 or [email protected]

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