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€2 million boost for leadership in ageing research

The Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI) announced four new CARDI Fellows from its third leadership funding call. The call is a joint venture with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and two of the research fellows are being funded under its Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research. The leadership programme is aimed at supporting and building capacity in ageing research across the island of Ireland and promoting the development of future leaders.

The new CARDI fellows are Dr Sheena McHugh, University College Cork and Dr Céline De Looze, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The Beeson-sponsored CARDI Fellows are Dr Claire McEvoy, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Dr Matthew O’Connell, TCD.

The four research Fellows will receive funding to carry out vital research into ageing issues, including communication strategies and cognitive impairment; the links between diet and cognitive decline; frailty, mobility and disability; and falls prevention for older people with diabetes.

“CARDI is delighted to announce four new Fellows under its Leadership Programme and we look forward to working with them to develop their skills as high quality researchers in ageing,” said Professor Davis Coakley, CARDI co-chair. “The collaboration with AFAR marks an important development for ageing research. The research funded under this programme promises to provide key evidence to policy makers and benefit older people, as well as creating a new generation of leaders within the academic community in Ireland, North and South.”

Dr Thomas Gill, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Beeson Career Development Award commented, “The quality of applicants for the CARDI Fellowship was outstanding, making the review highly competitive, and we were pleased with the selection of the new CARDI fellows who are well positioned to make important contributions to the field of ageing research.”

“We are delighted to support two CARDI fellows through our Beeson Program in Ireland”, said AFAR Director of Grant Programs, Odette van der Willik. “The Atlantic Philanthropies’ investment in ageing research through the Beeson Scholars and the CARDI Leadership programmes is greatly impacting the health and quality of life of older adults throughout Ireland.”

The announcement of the four Fellows brings to nine the total number of Fellowships awarded under CARDI’s Leadership Programme and an investment of some €2 million in ageing research. The other Fellows are Dr Joanne Feeney, Dr Joanna McHugh, Dr Charlotte Neville and Dr Mark O’Doherty based in QUB, and Dr Aisling O’Halloran based in TCD.

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Notes for editors
The CARDI Leadership Programme in Ageing Research was launched in 2013 and two calls for applicants were made in October 2013 and January 2014. Five fellowships were awarded in 2014 and a further four announced today (25 June 2015).

The programme is overseen by the CARDI Steering Group and advised by an International Scientific Advisory Panel consisting of: Professor Anne Martin-Matthews, University of British Columbia, Canada; Professor William R Hazzard, J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging, USA; Professor Carol Jagger, Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, UK; and Dr Giovanni Lamura, National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing, Italy.

The CARDI Leadership Programme in Ageing Research is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division Northern Ireland, The Atlantic Philanthropies and the American Federation for Aging Research’s Paul Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research.

What is CARDI?
CARDI is a not for profit organisation developed by leaders from the ageing field across Ireland (North and South) including researchers, academics, statutory, voluntary and community sector representatives with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies. CARDI funds, publishes and disseminates research on topics relating to ageing and older people.

What is AFAR?
For 30 years, the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) has supported the science of healthier aging. AFAR has played a major role in advancing knowledge of aging and mechanisms of age-related disease by providing grants to more than 2,800 talented scientists.

For media queries contact:
Paul McGill, Strategic Research Officer, CARDI, telephone 00 44 (0) 28 9069 0066, email