Funding for a new training centre for optimal ageing

The health and well-being of older Australians will be front and centre of research at a new $7.2 million Industrial Training Transformation Centre (ITTC) for Optimal Ageing, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

The ITTC is a large research collaboration between Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash Robotics, Data Futures Institute, Monash InfoTech, and Federation University.

The ITCC also brings together 17 industry partners such as Monash and Ballarat City councils, Philips Sleep and Respiratory Care, Cogstate Ltd., Redenlab, Cogniant, Healthlogix, Wellaware, Latrobe Health Assembly, Flourish Australia and several others.

By 2060, approximately 25 per cent of Australians will be aged 60 years or older. There is a great opportunity to develop innovative and digitally focused solutions to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for older Australians.

The ITTC will integrate the expertise of researchers in health sciences, engineering, information technology, artificial intelligence and economics to create a more proactive approach to the health and wellbeing challenges facing many older Australians.

Training Centre Co-Director Associate Professor Yen Ying Lim from the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health said areas of focus include research designed to enhance cognition, promote independence and foster connectedness.

“The ITTC aims to address a skills gap that exists between digital technology and health researchers. Big data analytics will be used to drive innovation in the health sector and uncover new ways to improve the cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing of older Australians,” Associate Professor Lim said.

“Industry-focused researchers who are well-versed in digital technologies and health economics will identify priorities in optimal ageing and focus on commercialising these discoveries to ensure they make it to market.”

The ITTC has been awarded $4.6 million in funding from the Australian Research Council. The total cost of establishing the ITCC is expected to be $7.2 million, with financial contributions from university and industry partners.

Associate Professor Lim said the ITTC was best placed to deliver breakthrough research because of its deep collaborations with academic and industry partners.

“The partnerships being created at the ITTC will ensure that research is tailored to developing real-world solutions for older Australians,” Associate Professor Lim said.

“The deep linkages we are creating between research and industry partners will help to ensure that we can reduce inequalities and poor health outcomes for older Australians.”