Promoting physical activity in older age: Call for Research Grants

Despite wide spread recognition of the physical and mental health benefits of physical activity at all ages, activity levels commonly decline in older age, whilst the prevalence of sedentary behaviour increases. The cross-Research Council Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) programme wishes to support research into the  physiological effects and behaviours associated with physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the older population, which will inform the future development of effective interventions to motivate and sustain activity in this target population.  Approximately £5M is available to support research arising from this nine funding partner call. Applicants may apply for up to £1 million (80% fEC) for a maximum period of 3 years.

Interdisciplinary research proposals are invited which focus on the following three areas:

  • Physiological effects of activity and sedentary behaviour on older people’s health: Includes understanding physiological mechanisms and research assessing: the benefits of different types and levels of activity on physiological systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, musculoskeletal, neurological and neuromuscular systems, and cognitive function in later life; levels of sedentary behaviour that have adverse effects on these systems and a harmful impact on health; the amount and type of physical activity that can mitigate these adverse effects in older populations. Physiological systems may be studied individually or using a systems approach to understand the whole body effects of active and inactive behaviours in later life.
  • Understanding the determinants of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles in later life: Includes research on the relationships between determinants that influence an individual’s likelihood of being physically active or sedentary such as health status and socio-economic, cultural and environmental factors. Consideration of how these factors can be modified and/or utilised to achieve positive and sustained behaviour change in older populations. Integration of interdisciplinary evidence on the benefits of different types and levels of activity and determinants of activity levels to better understand how positive, sustained behaviour change can be achieved.
  • Measurement of activity and inactivity in older populations: Includes research on more accurate and validated measures of physical activity and inactivity specifically in older adults, user centred design of devices and systems to more effectively monitor activity levels, interpretation and analysis of measurement data, development and linkage of objective measures to self-reported measurements, and validation of measures to link to health outcomes enabling interpretation of data in this target population.

For further information on the scope and remit of the call please visit the call page on the MRC website.