Middlesex University research project celebrated as a Big Idea for the Future

Age diversity research selected for leading national report

16 June 2011

Middlesex University’s groundbreaking work on age diversity in workplaces has been chosen as one of the most important research projects of modern times, with the publication today of the Big Ideas for the Future report.

The report, which is being jointly published by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK, pulls together the leading research projects currently taking place across UK universities. Research from all fields, including science, social sciences, engineering, the arts and the humanities, were eligible to be included and Middlesex University’s project was selected for inclusion from hundreds of submissions. The report is narrated and backed by high-profile celebrities such as Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Alice Roberts and Professor Iain Stewart.

Middlesex’s Age Diversity project aims to produce a career development system which employers can use to assess their human resources policies and improve the quality of working lives for older members of staff.  With the recent abolition of the default retirement age, the research could be key in dictating how to manage older staff effectively in the future and making delayed retirement more attractive. 

The research is being conducted with Lingnan University in Hong Kong and it is hoped the system produced will help organisations across the globe.   

Dr Matt Flynn from Middlesex University who is leading on the project said: “My colleagues and I are working with the Employer’s Forum on Age and Community Business to develop tools to help employers improve the quality of working life for older workers. There has been a lot of media attention placed on the fact that in the future people will need to retire later. If older workers have opportunities for fulfilling and interesting work, longer working lives do not need to be a bad thing.”

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The research that has taken place at UK universities has helped to change the world and the way we live, whether that’s discovering DNA, inventing the world’s first computer or finding cures for life-threatening illnesses. It is great to see this tradition of world-leading innovation continue and get an insight into the many inspiring and potentially-life changing projects currently being developed by our universities. I would like to congratulate Middlesex University on their inclusion in the Big Ideas for the Future report, and wish them the best of luck with their research.”

The publication of the report forms part of the second annual Universities Week, which takes place from 13-19 June 2011, and aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.  Universities Week looks at the many different ways in which universities affect all of our lives — from supporting the economy, to working within local communities, to looking at how their research programmes could change our futures. Hundreds of events will be taking place around the country open to members of the public, as well as high-profile media coverage and activity across social media networks.

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