Newsletter Initiative Updates
The global COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact student travel and so, in turn, the IARU Courses have had to adapt and revise their offerings to work within these constraints. The participating institutions have endeavoured to produce a stimulating and varied programme, covering topics such as 'Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Development in China', 'Afropolitanism, Social Justice and Entrepreneurship' and 'Sustainable Ageing'. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, a total of 17 courses were offered by 8 institutions and were attended by 51 students. It is hoped that the IARU Courses will be able to expand and realise their full potential as restrictions ease in the future and in-person courses will be able to take place once more.
Building on the success of the University of Tokyo-Peking University joint online course ‘East Asia and the World under the Pandemic’ in 2020, the 2021 IARU Joint Course between University of Copenhagen and the University of Tokyo was conducted on the subject of 'Sustainable Ageing'. In total, 27 students from 15 universities (with the majority of students from IARU institutions) completed the course and received the certificate. This online course was an opportunity for collaborative activities among Ageing, Longevity and Health initiative members. As a result, Copenhagen and Tokyo members have begun discussing possible collaboration in research and education.
The programme for the 2022 IARU Courses has now been published.
Three IARU universities were able to offer internships in 2021, enabling students to gain invaluable experience in their chosen field. Oxford was able to provide two virtual internships (one student from Peking University and another from the University of Copenhagen) based at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, a multidisciplinary research institute concerned with the processes and implications of global demographic change. The participants praised the learning experience as flexible and rigorous, adding that they received excellent support.
Another student from the University of Copenhagen took up a role as Program Assistant for the IARU Virtual Museum Tours project, working with Peking University. The impressive results of the Virtual Museum Tours initiative are now being published on the IARU website and form a wonderful resource for the longer term.
The University of Tokyo have awarded an in-person internship to a student from ETH Zurich based at the International Research Center for Neurointelligence, which will begin once travel restrictions ease.
GIP Student Feedback
“Overall, I was extremely happy with the internship, especially regarding the difficult circumstances due to Covid-19. The team from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and Prof. George Leeson were extremely helpful from the beginning and offered me different possibilities on how to pursue the internship program.
During the course of the internship I worked on my Master’s thesis and received guidance mainly from Prof. Leeson but also other Institute personnel and PhD students. Both the thesis supervision and the seminars were excellent and provided me with a lot of new insights for my research as well as other perspectives on the topic of population ageing.”
2021 GIP Student
The annual ALH Graduate Student Conference was hosted online by University of Cambridge on 6-8 October 2021, focusing on capacity building, research collaborations and engagement. The objectives were i) to select topics and develop 2-3 project outlines to kick-start funding applications and early career researcher collaborations; ii) develop the blueprint of a short video presenting why engaging older people in research matters and examples of how it is done in some of our universities; iii) identify the topic for another position paper on emerging and/or an under-researched, ageing-related challenge. The report will be published on the IARU website in due course.
The group also published a paper in 2021 entitled ‘The Societal Need for Interdisciplinary Ageing Research’ (2021), outlining their vision and the unique position of our interdisciplinary network to produce new knowledge to promote healthy ageing and encourage societal change via novel, science-informed interventions.
The Novo Nordisk International Talent Program supports student mobility between University of Copenhagen and partners in IARU universities within the area of Science and Health Sciences. The programme gives priority to projects pertaining to metabolism, insulin, haemoglobin, obesity, big data and digitalisation. In the academic year 2020-21, 6 students were awarded a NNITP scholarship. The final deadline for the scheme is 1 April 2022 (the scheme will be closing in 2022). We encourage our partners in IARU to share this opportunity with students. Please visit https://studies.ku.dk/visiting/scholarships/ for further information.