About the programme

The Growing Older programme consisted of 24 research projects focussed on how to extend the quality of life in old age. They were commissioned together as part of a £3.5 million investment by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The research effort aimed to make a substantial impact on policy and practice. It is well-known that people are living longer but very little attention has been given by UK social scientists to the factors that determine the quality of life experienced by older people.

Programme objectives

The Programme had two main objectives:

  1. To pursue a broad-based multi-disciplinary programme designed to generate new knowledge on extending quality life.

  2. To contribute to the development of policies and practices in the field in order to make a direct contribution to extending quality life.

Research topics

The Programme covered six research topics:

  • Defining and measuring quality of life

  • Inequalities in quality of life

  • The role of technology and the built environment

  • Healthy and productive ageing

  • Family and support networks

  • Participation and activity in later life


The programme ran from 1999 to April 2004.

Programme management

The director was responsible for the programme, in conjunction with the ESRC programme officer and the advisory board. There is a detailed communication strategy designed to maximise both networking between projects and the impact of the programme's findings.