£14m competition to create better services for older people so they remain independent
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body that promotes innovation, has launched the £14 million Designed for Ageing competition.
The aim of the competition is to create more and better services that support people as they age to remain active, independent and socially connected.
As part of UKRI’s healthy ageing challenge, the competition is open to businesses developing services that meet the needs of people as they age. Designers can get grants of up to £2 million from a £14 million fund.
Successful projects will need to demonstrate that projects and services have been co-designed with the people who are going to use them. This will help ensure that winning projects are fit for purpose, scaleable and meet the challenge objectives.
The idea should:
- help people as they age, allowing them to remain active, productive, independent and socially connected for as long as possible
- narrow the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest
- apply research to develop a new solution at high technology and market readiness
Design for Ageing will further support business-led, near-to-market innovations that have potential to scale and ensure good people-centred design principles.
Julia Glenn, Design Innovation Lead at UKRI, said: “Despite more of us living for longer and wanting to choose how to live in later life, the market for products and services which genuinely meet the needs of older people is fairly underdeveloped. Designing for ageing needs to think beyond comfortable shoes and stairlifts.
“We need to address the proper design of flexible life choices for older people, of financial services beyond pensions and see that ageing is a continuum, not a boundary line. That’s why real co-design is so important and why we have built this as a requirement into this competition.”
The competition is open now and closes on 17 November. UKRI is encouraging applications from businesses across the UK.
Businesses and partners can apply for up to £2 million and should demonstrate that they plan to deliver a clear game-changing service-led innovation that has a significant impact on ageing positively in the UK.
Interested designers can apply for the competition here
Earlier this year, UKRI provided £10.7 million in funding for seven research projects designed to support the UK Government’s healthy ageing agenda. The funding intended to bring about home improvements for older people so that they can remain independent for longer as well as support this demographic to be more active and social connected.