The European Interdisciplinary Council on Ageing (EICA) is the first scientific organization in Europe specifically fostering the translation and dissemination of results from ageing research to various professional groups, policy makers and the general public, mainly through advanced education programs.
Background and Motivation
Life expectancy within the European Union (EU) is steadily rising and the consequences of an unprecedented demographic change over the past decades have proven to be multi-layered and complex. Numerous policy initiatives and research programs across EU member states have been put in place in order to analyze and deal with the impact of this development e.g. on future concepts of welfare states, on health care demands, on respective access and service delivery, on the organization of labor markets and pension systems, on intergenerational relationships etc. However, solution approaches and international research agendas developed so far confirm that all these impacts and consequences for ageing societies are intrinsically intertwined and the need for interdisciplinary approaches and insights is undisputed.
Against this background healthy and active ageing has turned out as being a cross cutting issue and also a major concern for individuals, health professionals and policy makers alike. Health in old age, and the maintenance of an active and independent life style is a high goal for each of us, but also contributes, for example, to economic prosperity through improving work participation, civil engagement and productivity making it crucial in the context of an ageing society and longer working lives.
The core motivation of EICA is therefore to put an interdisciplinary focus on daily life related questions concerning ageing, health and care and to foster adequate research, research analyses, education strategies and knowledge translation programs in Europe.
The Mission of the European Interdisciplinary Council on Ageing (EICA) is
- to identify practice related questions and challenges concerning ageing, health and care in Europe from various disciplines that are of high relevance for individuals, health professionals and policy makers alike
- to use these topics as starting points in order to:
- release European position and overview papers concerning interdisciplinary evidence and international state of the art
- enhance basic geriatric knowledge among all health care and social gerontology professionals
- develop interdisciplinary education strategies and master courses (in cooperation with universities) that foster an interdisciplinary knowledge translation towards other professional groups
- launch inter-professional workshops and joint seminars for scientists, policy makers, health and care service providers, hospital operators, insurance companies, medical industry and other stakeholders
- foster knowledge transfer towards the general public and lay persons
- develop and award EICA certificates for the exemplary and state of the art implementation of comprehensive knowledge concerning ageing, health and care in daily practice and politics (e.g. EICA certificates for hospitals, care homes, other service providers, NGOs , SMEs….)
In accomplishing the above stated goals, EICA and its work are structured as following:
– EICA acts as a European scientific organization that consists of a geographically well positioned core group – i.e. headquarter and at least two working pillars at different sites (Venice and Vienna) – and the most important number of associate European and international scientific partners in form of institutions as well as individual scientists.
– EICA is conducted by a European executive board comprising representatives of the EICA founding members and core groups.
– EICA executive board members have their scientific focus in the education and research on ageing, health and care and are continuously advised by an Interdisciplinary International scientific Board.
– It is the task of the EICA board members – in consultation with members of the advisory board – to define a set of priority topics as subjects of action for three-year work periods.
– The three major directions of EICA action are depicted in three work pillars:
o Interdisciplinary education (for health care professionals specialized or not in care for the older population and other professionals groups)
o Knowledge transfer (to stakeholders and general public)
o Taxonomy of international research
– Each working pillar is led by one director, who receives organizational support from the EICA chairperson and pool the experience of a number of renowned European experts in the respective field of action (e.g. education, research analyses and knowledge transfer).
– Within a three-year work program each pillar is responsible for a number of agreed actions and outcomes.
– The scientific board of EICA comprises a scientific coordinator whose task is to streamline the determined scientific work program and to provide an interface between the executive board and the three EICA work pillars.
– All EICA work pillars actively include and build their work upon available European and international expertise and latest research results. Market developments and actual demand in different sectors are taken into account.
Principles of EICA
– EICA acts on a non-partisan, independent and non-profit basis.
– EICA builds up on existing European and international expertise.
– EICA is not dedicated for primary research itself.
– EICA does not duplicate or substitute existing research institutions or projects.
– EICA welcomes input from scientifically and politically engaged persons and institutions.