Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Project Context and Objectives:
MOPACT is a four year project to provide the research and practical evidence upon which Europe can begin to make longevity an asset for social and economic development. To achieve this aim MOPACT concentrates the highest possible quality of scientific analyses into the development of innovative policies and approaches that can assist public authorities and other key actors, at all levels in Europe.

MOPACT starts from the conviction that Europe requires a new paradigm of ageing if it is to respond successfully to the challenges of demographic change. Ageing is currently understood as a time of decline, frailty and dependence and policy responses to it still reflect the historical era when retirement took place for a majority at state pension ages and post-retirement years were relatively short. Changes in the labour market and social behaviour coupled with a remarkable extension in longevity have transformed the experience of later life. The boundaries of frailty are being pushed back and, for a growing number of older Europeans, 70 is the new 50.

A multi-disciplinary team will target the key challenges of ageing: the continuing longevity revolution; a shrinking and ageing labour force; the fiscal sustainability of pensions, welfare systems and health care; the structural lag between changes in society and subsequent changes in societal institutions and attitudes; the rising need for long-term care, and; changing social and political roles

MOPACT brings together 29 partners from 13 countries across Europe in a unique collaboration to study the interfaces between the demographic developments and the five main dimensions of their economic and social impact: economic and financial consequences of ageing; societal structures, civil society and cohesion; social support, long-term care and quality of life in an ageing society; the built and technological environment, and; health and well-being, biological ageing (biogerontology), and the boundaries of frailty

The consortium includes a high quality, multi-disciplinary group of leading researchers to address the grand challenge of ageing. MOPACT’s core theme is focused on realising active and healthy ageing as an asset. This will be support by eight scientific themes:
- ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF AGEING: understanding and alleviating the economic effects of population ageing.
- EXTENDING WORKING LIVES: raising the employment of older workers, aided by lifelong learning.
- PENSION SYSTEMS, SAVINGS AND FINANCIAL EDUCATION: ensuring pension adequacy and pension system sustainability.
- HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: driving healthy life expectancy and the social engagement of older people.
- BIOGERONTOLOGY: delaying the onset of frailty, dependence and age related diseases.
- BUILT AND TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT: shaping housing, mobility, transport and ICT provision to support an ageing population.
- SOCIAL SUPPORT AND LONG TERM CARE: matching sustainable supply and demand for long-term care and ageing-related social support.
- ENHANCING ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP: enhancing the political participation of senior citizens and improving the capacity for adapting to societal change.

Reflecting the diverse nature of our scientific team, the specific project activities cover a wide range. The final project output will be a major report synthesising knowledge on active ageing in Europe, but there are many substantial steps on the road to the report. The objectives of the project are:
-To conduct the most comprehensive review to date of the social and economic challenges of ageing.
-To collect and analyse social innovations and policy initiatives.
-To map the steps required to realise active ageing in Europe and to propose innovative ways of doing so.
-To involve key end users and stakeholders, such as policy makers, practitioners, product producers, designers and older people in all project activities
-To undertake the wide and effective knowledge transfer and dissemination of the work of MOPACT.

Project Results:
The scientific work of MOPACT has undertaken three years of research spread over nine different work packages and generated 35 different outputs so far. This array of scientific findings each provide highly valuable results within their own research fields, but when viewed collectively offer much richer first insights into a more sophisticated model to meet the challenges of demographic change.

The key findings so far are drawn from the work undertaken across the nine research work packages. These early messages are:

1. The multifaceted and aggregative form of active ageing has been rising in the EU countries, despite the economic downturn and austerity in many of the EU countries.
2. One of the future challenges facing European societies is a fast rising proportion of people aged 80+ who live alone. It is therefore important to look into the special needs and aspirations of this specific group of the population in improving their experiences of active and healthy ageing.
3. A specific challenge is to (continue to) introduce measures that increase healthy life expectancy alongside the rising life expectancy; greater emphasis needs to be placed on social engagement of older people (especially for those with limiting health) and early life interventions that improves lifestyle factors. A strong set of findings suggest that interventions that extend healthy lifespan include ‘dietary and/or caloric restrictions’ of various kinds.
4. To improve and define new early intervention strategies, it is vital to develop excellent translation practices.
5. Long term care has been increasingly acknowledged as a social risk, however important distinctions are necessary between health and social care and between formal and informal care. A coherent policy design for the provision of long term care is needed in many EU countries.
6. Fiscal sustainability and pension income adequacy (old age poverty) will remain a challenge in many EU countries, especially for Greece and also for many of the Central European countries. In this respect, universal minimum pension (the so-called social pensions) is considered a powerful policy instrument to enhance income adequacy and independent living for future retirees.
7. In the pursuit of longer working careers, the observations so far suggest that the actuarially fair adjustments are not enough and effective incentives are needed to keep constant the ratio of working years and retirement years. A better organisation is required of working time over the whole of the life course, supplemented by improvements in the quality of work environment, better work-life balance and on-the-job training.
8. Measures to tap the unfulfilled potential of the ICT use is found to be most effective in promoting active and healthy ageing. An increasingly greater use of the ICT by the current and future generation of older people will offer great scope for innovations and improving their cost effectiveness in the future.
9. Silver economy potential has largely gone untapped in many countries, due to low user involvement and administrative constraints.

Additionally, a database has been created to share details of 150 curated social innovations which support active ageing. This provides both an indication of the types of social innovations being developed and tested across the EU countries, and examples of successful interventions that can be learned from to provide inspiring ideas for others to build upon.

Proposals have also been developed for an expansion of the Active Ageing Index (AAI) to include prospective indicators which review the past life experiences (the life course effect) and retrospective indicators which connects current life experiences with the prospect of active and healthy ageing outcomes in old age. The current AAI provides some additional insights into how Europe is experiencing active ageing:
• Countries that have achieved higher active ageing outcomes have also been able to keep the inequality in active ageing experiences low.
• Helping the most vulnerable people in countries with low active ageing will also improve equality across member states.
• The experience of active ageing has become more equal in the period from 2004 to 2011 in the selected nine EU countries where data was available for this time period.

Potential Impact:
MOPACT is underpinned by a strong commitment to impact, notably in two areas:

1. An advance in the knowledge base that underpins the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives supporting inclusive societies, in the context of active ageing.
2. A critical mass of resources, relevant communities, stakeholders and practitioners to assess the potential for practices, values, policies and initiatives supporting inclusive societies, in the context of active ageing.

The overarching responsibilities of work package 1 will, over the final year of the project, generate a set of scenarios of active ageing, an evidence base for policy makers to develop strategic actions to meet the challenges of demographic change in Europe. Strategies and policy recommendations related to how to make longevity an asset for Europe will be developed following (1) a review of the empirical evidence on active ageing, building on the analysis of the AAI, its indicators complemented by life course-specific indicators and additional indicators on capacity and enabling environment and (2) a review of institutions and policies on specific issues.

This report will support the knowledge base required to promote the formulation and implementation of policies and initiatives by policy makers that support its new paradigm of active and healthy ageing. MOPACT will contribute a step-change with regard to both of the expected impacts by:

1. Advances in the knowledge base for policy and practice
- Gathering and presenting detailed applied knowledge of the baseline circumstances from which EU Member States will seek to promote the process and policies of active and healthy ageing
- Conducting the most comprehensive review to date of the social and economic challenges of ageing
- Building on and not replicating previous initiatives and research
- Adopting the fundamental principles developed by FUTURAGE for state-of-the-art ageing
research, including multi-disciplinary and stakeholder engagement
- Ensuring that a more multi-disciplinary approach is taken than any previous project of this sort. If policies are to promote social cohesion and active ageing they must be based on analysis of all of the major contributory factors – biogerontological, environmental, health related, social and economic – rather than the more usual narrow disciplinary range
- Covering the key influences on the social and economic impact of longevity: economic and financial, societal, support and long-term care, the built and technological environment and biogerontology
- Ensuring that, throughout the life of MOPACT a carefully designed iterative process keeps the policy, practice and product development dimensions at the forefront of its work (rather than after thoughts)

2. Making longevity an asset via innovative policies and practices
- Creating a consortium that includes not only leading scientists but also key stakeholders such as the WHO and AGE Platform Europe
- Appraising good practice policies and initiatives and then formulating concrete recommendations about innovative solutions that are necessary across diverse circumstances of EU countries. An explicit emphasis on identifying the bridges and barriers to policy implementation will help separate out those policies that have a greater chance of generating outcomes of raising healthy life expectancy.
- Undertaking a global search for social innovations and policy initiatives with proven success in promoting sustainable active ageing.
- Setting out the steps required for Europe to realise active ageing at all levels of society.
- Proposing innovative policies and approaches towards the realisation of active ageing with due regard to existing differences between EU countries.
- Building stakeholders into the heart and soul of MOPACT so that they both cross-examine and decide on the most promising innovations and approaches.
- Making a special point of engaging directly with the representative of older people in Europe.

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Joanne Watson, (Section Head - EU Research Finance)
Tel.: +44 114 222 4754
Fax: +44 114 222 1455
Record Number: 189202 / Last updated on: 2016-09-20