Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, which are awarded by the Royal Anniversary Trust, honour work of outstanding importance and quality in higher and further education in the UK. The winners of the Eighth Round of the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes were announced at a special reception at St James’s Palace.
Life expectancy in the UK is currently increasing by two or more years each decade – equivalent to an increase of around five hours per day. Over the past 15 years, the University’s work in the field of ageing research has grown in scope, influence and reputation such that the University now plays a leading role in regional, national and international efforts to identify and manage the challenges presented by the phenomenon of an ever-ageing population.
“The challenges of ageing range from answering deep scientific questions about why and how we age to the very practical need to identify ways to make the most of our lengthening lives by improving health and wellbeing right across the life course,” says Professor Tom Kirkwood, who directs the University’s Institute for Ageing and Health. “We are thrilled that our work has been recognised in this way and that Newcastle and the North East of England are leading the way in addressing these challenges.”
From its inception in 1994, the principal purpose of the University’s research programme on ageing and health has been the delivery of excellence in the fields of healthy ageing and age-related diseases, making a leading contribution to education, training and research in these fields, and improving the quality of life for older people.
The work has made use of cutting edge research into the genetic and biological basis of ageing, along with pioneering studies into dementia, nutrition and chromosome damage. The research has contributed to ground-breaking developments, including the Face, Arm, Speech, Time – or FAST – test for strokes, together with work to raise public awareness of the issues associated with ageing.
The University’s entry in the 2009 Queen’s Anniversary Prizes competition charted the development of the programme into its current form as a substantial Institute for Ageing and Health, a world-leader in its field, which is based on a unique and growing Campus for Ageing and Vitality.
In September 2009, Newcastle University launched a year-long programme of events on the theme ‘Changing Age’, which focuses attention on the challenges facing society as people live longer. The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Brink, said: “I am delighted to receive this Award on behalf of the whole University. Under the leadership of our Institute for Ageing and Health, we have adopted the topic of an ageing population as a societal challenge and an institutional theme. The Queen's Anniversary Prize is a welcome recognition of our work, and will strengthen our efforts to respond to this important topic.”
Speaking at St James’s Palace, Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “I warmly congratulate the universities and colleges which have been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education in this the 8th biennial round of the scheme. Together the winners represent a distinguished and sustained contribution to human progress and to the UK’s high international standing in education.”
Robin Gill, Founder and Chairman of the Royal Anniversary Trust, commented: “The Prizes confer the highest national recognition on the work of our universities and colleges and the part they play in the country’s economic advance, social wellbeing and industrial self-fulfilment. The Prizes scheme creates networks that benefit the institutions themselves as well as the wider community. It establishes a benchmark for excellence and validates the UK’s contribution to innovation, knowledge and skills on the world scene. ”
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published on: 18th November 2009