Letter to the Committee Specialist from
Professor Peter Lansley, University of Reading
Unfortunately I did not get an opportunity to
speak with you on Monday following the POST meeting on Ageing,
so I hope you will not mind this short note.
Although I have written to the Committee of
Inquiry drawing on my experiences as chair of the EPSRC EQUAL
panel, an issue which I did not cover was one which was raised
late on Monday afternoon. This concerned the closing of ranks
by the science community against ageing research.
Regrettably this problem is rife, not just in
the European Commission about which the comment at the Meeting
was made, but also within the UK.
The particular point which I should like to
make is that, whilst presently the EPSRC EQUAL initiative is going
quite well, that is because it is confined to a small number of
areas of research (Built Environment, Design for All, Rehabilitation)
and the initiative is contained within one division of EPSRC.
When the present initiative comes to an end and ageing related
research proposals are then spread across a number of divisions
it is more than likely that they will be not given a fair hearing
but will be squeezed out by the concerns and norms of traditional
So the review body may wish to address the following
issue. This is, even if current Research Council initiatives are
going well, what plans do the Research Councils have for ensuring
that there will be an adequate change of culture so that ageing
research continues to be encouraged across the board without the
protection of special initiatives.
Naturally I would be very pleased to discuss
this issue with you in more detail should that be desirable.
3 February 2000