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National Collaboration on Ageing launched

A conference in Birmingham, UK sets out a model of how disparate agencies can be brought together to focus their efforts more efficiently.

Helen Gavaghan(gavers@supanet.com)

When four of the research councils that fund the UK's university-based research announced their backing this week for a national collaboration on ageing (NCAR), they and the new collaboration soon found themselves afloat in the treacherous waters of policy and politics.

NCAR has no direct control over research funding, but it will work with the research councils — the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) — to promote interdisciplinary research in an effort to overcome what many working in the area call the fragmented nature of studies into ageing and its consequences. Traditionally, it is not easy to get funding for interdisciplinary research.

"A lot will depend on how the idea is implemented," said Jeanette Lilley, a psychologist...

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