Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Professor Thomas Scharf

Prof of Social Gerontology


I am Professor of Social Gerontology in the Institute of Health & Society and lead the theme on ‘Ageing: economic and social impact’ within the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA).  I joined Newcastle at the start of 2016, having previously been Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway, Ireland. I completed my undergraduate studies in Combined Honours (German and Politics) at Newcastle University in 1985, before moving on to Aston University where I was awarded a PhD in Political Science in 1991. I have since held teaching and research posts at Bangor University, Keele University and the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, Germany.

I am a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences and have held visiting professorships at NUI Galway, the University of Manchester, Keele University and the University of Vienna. I sit on the Advisory Board of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS) and have held a similar position on The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA).

Areas of expertise

  • Ageing and Social Policy
  • Environments of Ageing
  • Social Inclusion and Exclusion in Later Life

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My research addresses issues relating to social inclusion and exclusion in later life, often with a focus on the spaces and places in which inclusion and exclusion arise and on the policy responses to forms of exclusion. My work has been supported by major grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, the New Dynamics of Ageing programme, the Irish Research Council, and The Atlantic Philanthropies. Research findings have been published in such journals as Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, the European Journal of AgeingAgeing and Society, and the Journal of Rural Studies. My most recent book is From Exclusion to Inclusion in Old Age: A Global Challenge (2012, co-edited with Norah Keating and published by The Policy Press). With Chris Phillipson and Toni Calasanti, I currently co-edit the Ageing in a Global Context book series for Policy Press.

In 2017, working in collaboration with colleagues at ILC-UK, I led a team commissioned by Centre for Ageing Better to produce a scoping review on inequalities in later life. This work highlights the persistent and deep-seated nature of inequalities affecting people aged 50 and over in England.