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Professor Aideen Sullivan launces 'UCC Futures - Future Ageing & Brain Science', at a Town Hall meeting

21 Jun 2023
Photo top right: Professor Aideen Sullivan, Director UCC Futures - Future Ageing and Brain Science with Professor John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation, UCC at the Future Ageing and Brain Science Town Hall. Delegates and speakers at the groupwork session

Launching UCC Futures - Future Ageing & Brain Science, Professor Aideen Sullivan welcomed representatives from all UCC Colleges to the Future Ageing and Brain Science Town Hall meeting on May 15th 2023, ‘to encourage interest and input from researchers across all four of UCC’s Colleges, who have an interest in the very broad areas of ageing and/or brain science.’ 

UCC Futures is an ambitious new programme of research prioritisation, coupled with an innovative academic recruitment strategy across ten indicative areas of strategic importance that will build a foundation for economic, societal and cultural resilience and prosperity.

Professor Sullivan delivered the Vision Statement for Future Ageing & Brain Science, explaining how ageing and brain disorders are among the greatest challenges of our time, requiring sustainable solutions to address the associated health, socioeconomic and cultural challenges that face a growing and ageing global population. 

She described how 'UCC Futures - Future Ageing and Brain Science will address these challenges by empowering collaborative, dynamic and transformative research led by experts across the sciences, medicine and allied health, humanities, policy, business, law and technology, in partnership with community and industry. Leveraging existing world-class infrastructure across UCC’s key Schools, research institutes and centres, with our national and international partners, we will catalyse innovative and sustainable solutions, in order to maximise healthy ageing and brain health, and to prevent, diagnose and treat age-related disorders and brain disorders. 

Professor Sullivan welcoming the attendees from all four UCC Colleges, saying ‘I really want to convey a strong message of welcome to researchers in areas of the Humanities, Business and Law, and invite them to engage with Future Ageing and Brain Science. There may be some of you who do not consider your research to fall within the areas of Ageing or Brain Science, but I invite you to consider this more broadly, and to work with us to stimulate discourse on emerging transdisciplinary research topics.'

She emphasised that ‘As well as health and medical needs, there are very important research challenges to be addressed in areas such as ethical and legal issues around end-of-life and palliative care, care and intervention in people with dementia and other diseases of ageing, housing and communities for older people.’

Professor John Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation, was welcomed to the meeting by Professor Sullivan.  Addressing the attendees Professor Cryan congratulated the Future Ageing and Brain Science team, and especially Aideen Sullivan for her work in developing  this important UCC Future.

The UCC Futures – Future Ageing and Brain Science: Executive Management Team was then introduced, comprising of:  Professor Aideen Sullivan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience (Director), Professor Cora O'Neill, School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Professor Denis O'Mahony, Department of Medicine, Professor Yvonne Nolan, Vice Head for Graduate Studies, CoMH, Professor Gerard O'Keeffe, Vice Head for Research and Innovation, CoMH, Professor Suzanne Timmons, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Dr Annalisa Setti, School of Applied Psychology, Professor Nicole Muller, School of Clinical Therapies, Professor Christian Waeber, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Professor Ken O’Halloran and Department of Physiology, Professor Emma Wallace, Department of General Practice.

Professor Suzanne Timmons, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation and Dr Annalisa Setti, School of Applied Psychology then introduced and discussed the current research initiatives in Ageing and/or Brain Science in UCC which is aligned with this Future across the University. They explored the wealth of research ongoing in Ageing and/or Brain Science and illustrated how much of it is concentrated in the College of Medicine and Health, but also featuring in ongoing research across the other Colleges.

The Town Hall event continued with an informal groupwork session, which saw attendees split into 17 random groups, documenting their discussion and answers to open questions on current and emerging research themes, and initiatives to add value to Future Ageing and Brain Science.  A feedback session hosted by Donna O'Regan, UCC Academy, was followed by a summary and lively open discussion with contributions from many speakers from the floor. The next steps for Future Ageing and Brain Science were discussed, and the Town Hall was closed with a commitment to circulate a report of the captured outcomes, and to launch a network of researchers under this Future in 2023.


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News item and photographs B.Riedewald

Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience

Anatamaíocht agus Néareolaíocht

Room 2.33, 2nd Floor, Western Gateway Building, University College, Cork, Ireland