Call for significant increase in funding for aging research in the UK

BSRA launches public fundraising campaign to support more research into understanding and slowing aging.

The British Society for Research on Ageing (BSRA) today launched an ambitious new fundraising campaign to support greater research into the biology of aging. The BSRA is urging the British public to rally behind research aimed at extending healthy lifespans rather than solely targeting specific diseases.

In a statement, the BSRA emphasized the critical need for support in understanding how to slow down the aging process, which stands as the primary risk factor for numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis. Despite the widespread public support for disease-specific research, the Society said there remains a significant gap in funding for aging-related studies.

Highlighting the pressing nature of the issue, the BSRA points to the substantial strain placed on healthcare systems and economies due to the rapidly aging population in the UK. However, despite the evident urgency, it says that avenues for supporting aging research are scarce.

“The time is now to really get behind research into the biology of ageing,” said BSRA Chair, Durham University professor David Weinkove. “We have fantastic researchers across the country, but they are held back by a lack of funding. Evidence-based research is needed to understand how we people can stay healthier for longer, and to then we must make that knowledge available to as many people as possible.”

The BSRA, operating on a shoestring budget with a volunteer-driven ethos, has managed to fund several small-scale research projects. However, to accelerate progress in this vital field, it says that increased funding is essential. Aging-related studies necessitate lengthy timelines due to the gradual nature of aging’s effects and the diverse ways in which individuals experience it.

In response to these challenges, the BSRA has unveiled an ambitious fundraising campaign, initially focusing on supporting one-year research projects at a Masters degree level in UK universities. The Society aims to expand its efforts to back longer and more impactful initiatives in the future, and says its long-term goal is to significantly impact the health and well-being of the general population by advancing understanding of aging and its implications for disease prevention.

“This is a great opportunity for the public to help, for corporations to contribute, or philanthropists wanting a large impact with a relatively small donation; every £20,000 we raise can fund an entire year of research into ageing and longevity, and gets a budding scientist their research qualification,” said former BSRA trustee and molecular physiologist Dr Jed Lye.

Stay tuned for our interview with BSRA Chair Prof David Weinkove.