Select Committee on Science and Technology First Report


The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology has appointed a Sub-Committee, chaired by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, to inquire into the scientific aspects of ageing.

Average life expectancy in the UK is 77 years, and is still increasing. However, the healthy life expectancy in the UK stands at only 68 years, and the 2001 Census showed that half of the population aged over the statutory retirement age of 65 had a long-term illness or disability.

We therefore invite written evidence on how science and technology can help improve people's prospects of healthy and active life expectancy, and whether Government policy is in place to achieve this. In particular, we would welcome comments on:

The biological processes of ageing, including—

  • What are promising avenues for research? How will such research benefit older people and delay the onset of long-term illnesses and disabilities?
  • Differences between the sexes, and between different social and ethnic groups in the UK.

The application of research in technology and design to improve the quality of life of older people, including—

  • Existing technologies which could be used to a greater extent to benefit older people;
  • The development of new technologies.

In both of these areas—

  • How effectively is research co-ordinated in the public, private and charitable sectors (including internationally)?
  • Have the correct priorities been identified? Are there any gaps in research?
  • Is there sufficient research capability in the UK?
  • Is the research being used to inform policy?

Please note that the inquiry will not be considering health care for older people, or the economic aspects of the increase in the expectation of life, such as the future funding of pensions.

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