About the University

Societal Challenge Themes

Societal Challenge Themes

We are committed to ensuring our research helps address some of the key global issues. We have identified three themes to focus on: ageing, social renewal and sustainability.

Our societal challenge themes address the demand side of research by responding to some of the most pressing needs within society. They form part of our overall focus on excellence with impact.


Our ageing theme brings together, under the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, research expertise from across the University to understand:

  • how we age
  • how we can age better
  • how we can meet the global challenge of ageing 

Working with a variety of partners, we seek to use that knowledge to better address the global challenge and opportunity of an ageing society. 

It is a development of more than 20 years of focus on ageing research, which has positioned us amongst a handful of global leaders in the field. We have the largest number of academics working on aspects of ageing of any institution in Europe. Many of our academics are based on a purpose-built Campus for Ageing and Vitality operated in partnership with the NHS Trust.

Social Renewal

Newcastle has significant strengths in research relating to how individuals, communities and organisations adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing and challenging environment.

We have created the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal as a hub for research activity which is focused on asking the big questions facing our society.


At Newcastle, we focus on the solutions that we can offer to the global challenge of sustainability, particularly in relation to our existing internationally leading research.

Sustainability can be summarised as: 'enough, for all, forever'. Under this banner the Newcastle University Institute for Sustainability coordinates research across traditional discipline boundaries to deliver practical, engaged solutions to real-world issues.

Tackling Society's Big Challenges

Download our Tackling Society's Big Challenges (PDF: 438KB) brochure.