The #FutureOfAgeing: ethical considerations for #research & #innovation
“The #FutureOfAgeing: ethical considerations for #research & #innovation’ has officially launched! It was an honour to be a member of the working group for the last two year.” – Patrick Vernon OBE
Our report looks at the role that biomedical research and technological innovation has to play in responding to the needs of an ageing population. We have focused on three broad areas of research and innovation:
- Research into biological ageing
- Assistive, monitoring, and communications technologies such as health apps and smart home technologies
- Data-driven detection and diagnosis of age-related conditions
Developments in these areas offer possible benefits in terms of supporting people to flourish in older age, but they can also raise significant ethical questions about how ageing is perceived, and how older adults are valued in our society.
In our report we identify the values, principles and factors that are most at stake in the context of research that seeks to influence our experience of ageing. We note that research and innovation connected with ageing is often influenced by negative attitudes to ageing, and by assumptions about the attributes and roles of older people in society.
While many people and organisations have a role to play in challenging and changing ageist attitudes within the research and technology sector, a key step in making progress on this would be ensuring that research funding systems promote and encourage these changes.
We believe that much more can be done to ensure research into ageing is conducted ethically, such as promoting inclusivity in research, and directing research and innovation towards addressing inequalities in health and wellbeing in older age.
We propose an ‘ethical framework’ to help everyone involved in conducting research relating to ageing to think through the ethical implications of their work.
We then set out 15 recommendations to policymakers, research funders, researchers, regulators and professional bodies, health care professionals and others involved in shaping research.