ICMR and Forte to begin collaborative research projects in field of ageing & health

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The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health Working Life and Welfare, will soon begin collaborative research projects in the field of ageing and health, focusing on developing affordable and appropriate innovative assistive technology for the disabled elderly and methods of home based care interventions for the elderly.

The collaborative research projects will stimulate interdisciplinary, innovative, close to practice research in the field of ageing and health. The main theme of these projects will be Innovative and assistive technology studies; and Models of home-based care. All studies should aim to enhance the understanding of the theme of the call for proposals and should demonstrate potential benefits to Sweden and India. The ICMR and Forte have invited research proposals from eligible scientists for the projects and will deliver significant 2-3 years research funding for internationally competitive and innovative projects.

Proposals could include the development of innovative and assistive technology and services that are affordable and appropriate (culture, gender, age specific) for the elderly. It will include Projects on development of visual assistance, mobility assistance and cognitive assistance of the elderly; Design and provision of technology applicable to working with older adults; and Identify barriers and strategies on older adults’ acceptance of technology and perceptions of learning how to use new tools.

In the area of models of home-based care, proposals could include how the design of housing, living arrangements, effective supportive technologies for functional abilities, and the availability of local communities affect elderly people’s participation, activities and independence. Proposals should address how interventions could prevent or reduce the severity of functional impairment, especially impairments secondary to cognitive decline. It will include interventions aimed at the prevention of functional impairment as well as health promotion in order to reduce the incidence of functional impairment in the elderly; Systems of integrated care designed to address the set of health, social and functional needs of the frail elderly; and community based care models.

Proposals must demonstrate collaboration and include both Swedish and Indian Principal Investigators. Indian applicants must be working in a permanent position in a medical college, research institute or university, anywhere in the country including government, semi-government and registered bodies. Applications from non-governmental agencies and private organizations should provide documentary evidence of registration certificate for research with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), government of India, previous track record etc.

This call for proposal is open for joint proposals from research teams based in India and Sweden. A Memorandum of Intent (MoI) between ICMR and Forte for cooperation in the field of ageing research and health was signed during the visit of the President of India to Sweden in June 2015. The MoI is based on a planning workshop that was partnered by ICMR and Forte in November 2014 to identify key areas for bilateral cooperation.

With declining fertility and rising life expectancy, there is a rapid increase in the number of elderly persons worldwide. Currently, persons aged 60 years or over comprise 11.5 per cent of the world’s population. This number is expected to surpass the 2 billion mark in 2050 from 841 million in 2013.

India stands to witness 100 million persons aged 60 and above currently as per the latest report from Helpage India. The need for elderly care in India is similar to the global scenario with some factors pertinent to India like a changing family system, a rural urban divide, gender based beliefs, and a lack of facilities that needs to be addressed.

The Swedish national objectives for the policy for the elderly are focused on individual care and treatment. India on the other hand has to put greater stress on the healthcare system to cater to the needs of its elderly population. There is a need to understand and strengthen the mechanisms of provision of care for the elderly and address them through appropriate delivery mechanisms. For this we need to turn to global models of home-based services and remote healthcare delivery through mHealth or telemedicine to understand the nuances of designing and implementing public and private models of elderly care. This will provide an insight into critical success factors as well as challenges in managing elderly care. Through cross national studies, lessons can be learnt on the need for collaboration amongst various stakeholders that can change India’s elderly care landscape, and bring it to a level that is comparable with global standards.

Source: 1, 2

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