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Physical Activity and Nutrition INfluences In ageing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PANINI (Physical Activity and Nutrition INfluences In ageing)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Given the increasing lifespan, but not health span, of the population within Europe, there is an urgent need to understand the factors influencing health in old age and develop and validate interventions and health policies to ensure more of our older adults achieve healthy and active ageing. Consequently, the PANINI project was created that includes a network of eight beneficiaries with 10 partner organisations in Europe to conduct innovative research on ageing around the themes of physical activity and nutrition. It aims to determine how these variables interact to predict healthy or unhealthy ageing, and to assess the effectiveness of different approaches to altering these variables as targets for interventions. PANINI will also coordinate existing and new data to come to consensus on key outcomes that should be reported in ageing research, in addition to exploring the potential to standardise physical activity, nutrition, and epigenetic measurements across projects and data within the network. This is to create an agreed toolkit of ‘best practice’ measures for assessing physical activity and nutritional status as well as related key variables to apply to new data collection within the PANINI project. Such coordination will contribute to a shared database from which different ageing profiles can be examined and intervention effectiveness can be tested across samples with a range of frailty levels and from a variety of European cohorts. PANINI has a strong communication strategy for the dissemination of knowledge gained from shared/individual projects, and will create a health impact assessment and healthy ageing policy document with key stakeholders who are partners in PANINI to enable its impact to reach beyond both the academic community and the duration of the project.
The PANINI project focuses on understanding the impact of physical activity and nutrition on the ageing process and across different older adult populations. The PANINI project and its research will ultimately provide a more effective research system for Physical Activity and Nutrition, unifying the measures and data used to support its findings. This has not been developed before and will provide a benchmark for all research in this area as well as open access tools for use beyond PANINI. An agreed standardised toolkit of physical activity and nutrition measures has been developed and is being utilised across the projects within PANINI in order to contribute towards a standardised dataset across different older populations with differing physical function levels. In the long term it will promote joint working, which may not have occurred previously. Our mission statement and first joint dissemination paper are currently in press and initial work on each ESR’s project is underway resulting in systematic reviews and publications on measurement issues.

The training and support provided to the ESRs during the 3 years in post will also widen the labour market for them, as PANINI will facilitate mobility, assist in becoming more attractive candidates and remove /reduce barriers to industry and academia. Initial training is ageing research and public engagement is complete and ESRs are about to attend their first group secondment in healthcare, training in commercialisation, and are arranging individual laboratory secondments currently. The research collected in PANINI will be freely available to access, strengthening the scientific knowledge available and circulated. The generation of Intellectual Property within this project is possible, and we have written an IP Strategy, but the time and money constraints to achieving full commercialisation would surpass the lifetime of PANINI, thus on the whole we are opting for an open access strategy. Thus far we have completed half of the ESR training courses and one group secondment to the health sector. Dissemination is occuring in each country several times per year as well as jointly annually through events such as the PANINI Public engagement event. Where data collection is complete as per individual deliverables, the ESRs have begun to produce research articles, and dissemination via conferences as well as public dissemination online and at public events. Laboratory secondments between individual fellows will be commencing in 2018 or early 2019. The impact of the project will not be fully realised until after the project’s completion, but we aim to contribute to the employability of the ESRs, career longevity, and develop a Health Ageing Policy document with our 3rd sector and policy maker partners that can inform the direction of the health sector, as well as a repository of training resources to develop research capacity in ageing.

The impact of the project will not be fully realised until after the project’s completion, but we aim to contribute to the employability of the ESRs, career longevity, and develop a Health Ageing Policy document with our 3rd sector and policy maker partners that can inform the direction of the health sector, as well as a repository of training resources to develop research capacity in ageing.
The impact of the project will not be fully realised until after the project’s completion, but we aim to contribute to the employability of the ESRs, career longevity, and develop a Health Ageing Policy document that can inform the direction of the health sector, as well as a repository of training resources to develop capacity in ageing.

Specifically, the impact goals were to;
• Enhancing research and innovation-related human resources, skills, and working conditions to realise the potential of individuals and to provide new career perspectives
• Key Skills, Career Prospects, Employability
• Fostering Creativity and Entrepreneurial Skills
• Contribution to structuring doctoral/early-stage research training at the European level and to strengthening European innovation capacity:
• Contribution of the non-academic sector to the doctoral research training, as appropriate to the implementation mode and research:
• Effectiveness of the proposed communication and dissemination of results
• Communication and public engagement strategy of the project
• Dissemination of the research results:
• Exploitation of results and intellectual property (IP)

To meet these impact goals we are ensuring that our ESRs are trained in complementary skills as well as specific and generic research skills at the individual Beneficiary sites as well as through the ATCs and secondments. We have a visiting scientist (D4.7) visit to give careers advice to the ESRs upcoming at Network meeting 2 in February 2018, and we are enhancing the ESRs’ career prospects, skills, and employability through the different types training offered at each site, through the ATCs, the group and lab secondments, and the involvement of our non-academic partners in training and secondments, giving them access and experience in a range of different settings. Entrepreneurial skills will be specifically covered in the second half of the project through specific ATC 6 & 7 (D4.8) as part of Network Meeting 3 in October 2018, and group secondments.
Group photo