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The University of Southampton

University of Southampton to conduct research to help shape the UK’s future health and social care

Published: 21 December 2009

The University of Southampton is about to embark on a unique piece of research into future supply and demand of health and social care for the UK’s ageing population.

Older people are the major users of health and social care services and the number of them in our population is growing. In 2001 people aged 65 and over formed 1 in 6 of the UK population, this figure is predicted to rise to 1 in 5 by 2031.

“The increase in the number of over 65s is leading to a two way pressure on care services. Demand is increasing, while the supply of care workers is decreasing, as the workforce gets older,” says Director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of Southampton, Professor Jane Falkingham.

“This will be the first piece of research to deal comprehensively with both the supply and demand sides of both health and social care. Our world class interdisciplinary team recognises that these two elements are intrinsically linked.”

Researchers from four of the University’s leading international research centres (Centre for Research on Ageing; ESRC Centre for Population Change; Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems; and Institute for Complex Systems Simulation) will work together for the first time to collate and analyse data on a range of factors influencing health and social care, including population, ageing, disability, disease, new technologies, income and wealth. Their findings will be used to inform policymakers and help make decisions about future social care provision.

The five-year 3.3 million-pound project is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of a larger initiative to develop the application of ‘complexity science’ to real-world problems.



Notes for editors

  • Complexity science is a broad term for understanding a range of complex phenomena. Unlike a piece of machinery where you can analyse the different parts and therefore understand how it works, complexity science considers the behaviour of a complex system where the interactions between the components or parts can vary from one situation to another.

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) - EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects – from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.

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