Life-Course, Development and Ageing

Leads: Lindsay Pennington & Louise Robinson

Lifecourse, Development and Ageing (LCDA) is a multidisciplinary theme which brings together a wide range of academics and clinicians to conduct applied health research across the lifespan. The group includes academic expertise in mixed methods research with representation from health psychology, medical sociology and social gerontology and clinical expertise from both primary and secondary care (including primary care, paediatrics, child psychology, geriatrics and old age psychiatry).  Our research explores the whole spectrum of healthy ageing, from development in childhood and the consequences of disability, to the health and wellbeing of the oldest old, those aged 85 years and over. The LCDA theme incorporates six research strands:

  • Ageing and Health
  • Transitions in health and disability
  • Understanding child disability
  • Improving quality of life
  • Technologies and the environment
  • Cognitive impairment and dementia.


  • To develop and deliver internationally recognised multidisciplinary, empirical research that contributes to our understanding of development, ageing and health across the life course, from childhood into old age, and improves an individual’s quality of life and the quality of care they receive
  • To conduct research into:
    • Factors that influence health across the life course, from childhood through to old age, with a focus on promoting independence, enhancing function and reducing disability
    • How new knowledge, technologies and interventions can improve individuals’ wellbeing, participation and quality of life across the lifespan, and the quality of healthcare they receive
    • Understanding the experience of health, impairment and disability across the life course, and within the family, with a particular focus on childhood development/disability, cognitive impairment and dementia in later life and the health of the oldest old


To mark the start of World Alzheimer’s Month, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is showcasing some of the cutting-edge clinical research that could bring new hope to dementia patients and their families.
Over the past two years, the National Institute for Health Research has put millions of pounds of extra investment into supporting clinical research into dementia, which affects 800,000 people in the UK – a figure that is expected to rise to one million people by 2021.
Now, as part of World Alzheimer’s Month, the National Institute for Health Research has launched Aimed at the general public, the online showcase highlights some of the pioneering work supported by the NIHR, which could lead to better treatments for dementia sufferers, and improvements in the quality of life for those with the condition.

Selected Projects

Further information: