Making better use of data for ageing-related decision making in localities – new project

Local areas interested in using and linking local data sets to analyse system-wide impacts and better understand ageing-related issues are being offered the chance to take part in a new project by the Centre for Ageing Better.

The project ­– funded by the National Centre for Research Methods – will explore new and innovative ways of analysing local data sets to support ageing-related policy-making, as well as to help advance research, monitoring and evaluation methods in the field of ageing.

An academic researcher will work with a small number of localities for up to six months to explore research and evaluation interests, and help localities to develop practical ways to use existing big and open data sets.

Examples of issues localities might want to explore include how to better identify people who are at risk of or experiencing isolation or loneliness and how to most effectively target them with different interventions; understanding how local policies and programmes affecting the physical and social environment interact to affect the wellbeing of individuals; and tracking how lifestyle factors, or the make-up and infrastructure of a city, affect physical activity levels in different areas.

Participation in this project, which is likely to go ahead in the autumn/winter 2017, will involve meetings and discussions with the researcher throughout the project, however the level of involvement required is flexible. Depending on local needs, capabilities and interests of those participating, there is potential for this scoping project to help localities design and develop specific research and evaluation projects, as well as clarifying how these can be delivered and funded.

Local areas are invited to submit expressions of interest to take part. Those with a role in multi-agency programmes or services targeting specific age-related issues, including members of the age-friendly communities network, are encouraged to consider this opportunity. However, participation is open to anyone with an interest in how big, open and admin data can be better used to support locality-wide decision making around ageing-related issues, and a role in locality-level action.

Matt Bauman, Senior Evaluation Manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “This is essentially a data science innovation project, through which we want to shed light on ways that local areas can use open-data approaches to gain greater insight into the issues and interventions that will help people to have a better quality of later life.”

The project is focused on innovation in research methodology, and stretching the boundaries of what is currently possible. As such it is not able to support general capacity building for more routine elements of monitoring and evaluation.

Areas interested in applying should send a brief expression of interest (no more than 600 words, and using the reference Local Data) outlining their interest and experience in this area and any specific research interests to by 4th July 2017. Any queries should also be sent to this email address. Following receipt of expressions of interest, a call will be arranged to discuss ideas further. Academic researchers interested in helping to deliver the project should send just their contact details to the same email address.


The Centre for Ageing Better