- About Us
- CARDI Grants Programme
- Research database and directory
- Useful Links
CARDI has published a new policy paper on how innovative policy decisions can contribute to planning an ageing population. Innovation in Policy: Insights for Ageing looks at what makes an innovative policy and what are the challenges in implementing that policy. The paper also presents three international case studies of both successful and unsuccessful policy innovations.
The paper presents five principles of innovation when it comes to policy decision making:
- The ideas must be new.
- Ideas must be implemented and not just theories.
- The innovation must create public value.
- Innovation must be intentional in achieving objectives.
- Innovative policies should be distinguishable from minor changes to policy.
As the research shows, most innovations are incremental in nature, involving relatively minor changes to existing services or processes. Less common radical innovations involve the development of new services or establishing fundamentally new ways of delivering services.
Innovation can be driven by a wide variety of things, including public need, new research, legal necessity, lobbying, new technologies or social innovation. The success of an innovative policy depends on many key factors and considerations including public interest, effectiveness, efficiency, fairness and equity. If the implementation of a new policy is to be successful, it must have the support and commitment of the right people in the organisation driving the innovation.
In order to prepare for our ageing population, there are several steps that organisations can take to encourage more innovation in policymaking:
- Pro-innovation governance, where the importance of innovation is recognised by people with power to drive change.
- Teams or networks dedicated to innovation, including people who can research new ideas in social innovation and new technologies.
- Processes that back innovation, where effective innovation is properly rewarded within teams, government departments, etc.
- Investment for innovation, where adequate funding is provided for research, piloting, staff training and monitoring.
- Technology transfer, where new ideas from universities can be given adequate funding to make the transition from academic ideas to practical innovations.
Innovation in Policy: Insights for Ageing shows that policy innovation can provide a solution to the challenges arising out of the globally ageing population and contribute to policy preparations for demographic change.
NICOLA is the name given to the ‘Northern Ireland Cohort Longitudinal Study of Ageing’, lead by Queen’s University, Belfast. Frances Burns, NICOLA Project Manager, gives the low down.
What is NICOLA?
NICOLA is Northern Irelands’ long-term study of ageing in the over 50’s. We will invite 8500 men and women aged 50 years and above to join the study. Those who are invited to take part will be randomly selected from all over 50’s living in the community and will be representative of the population as a whole.
NICOLA will closely follow the comprehensive approaches taken by ELSA (England) and TILDA (ROI) and other ageing studies, but in addition NICOLA has a special focus on intergenerational poverty, transition points in ageing and the effects of diet on the ageing process. The study will also include questions of unique relevance to the Northern Ireland situation.
How will NICOLA be carried out?
Study participants will be invited for interview every 2 years and for a health assessment every 4 years. They will be followed-up for a period of at least 10 years.
The interview will capture information on health and social care utilisation, health behaviours, medication, mental, physical and cognitive health, employment, finances, retirement, social connectedness, social participation, driving and travel, housing, consumption and expectations.
The health assessment will include a review of cardiovascular, cognitive and respiratory function; physical activity, visual health and body composition. Participants will also be asked to provide biological samples for detailed laboratory analysis, including genetic analysis.
NICOLA will seek permission to access records on existing databases to provide as comprehensive and robust data linkage as possible.
What research disciplines are involved?
- Medical and health sciences
- Economics and management
- Social sciences
What impact will NICOLA have?
NICOLA will have multiple impacts on health and social care policy and other aspects of policy relevant to ageing;
- It will address issues related to social inclusion by giving the over 50s population a voice
- It will capture and describe the attitudes and expectations of this population, influencing the creation of policies which affect them
- It will place Northern Ireland within a network of existing longitudinal ageing studies
- It will facilitate integration of research excellence across disciplines in Queen’s University Belfast and collaboration with international researchers.
What are our time lines?
NICOLA study will begin field work in early Autumn 2013 with health assessments commencing one month after the first participant is recruited.
How do you contact NICOLA?
If you are interested in the work of the NICOLA team we would love to hear from you. You can contact me on: email@example.com