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UBIAS chooses "Aging" as the common theme for the member institutes in 2018

by Richard Meckien - published Jan 03, 2018 09:40 AM - - last modified Mar 01, 2020 08:43 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Life expectancy should rise five years by 2050

"Aging - Life, Culture and Civilizations" will be the Topic of the Year in 2018. The choice is valid for the members of the UBIAS network, which gathers institutes of advanced studies based on universities around the world.

When choosing a topic, UBIAS seeks to identify a theme of global importance to be explored in different activities and formats. The aim is to stimulate the researchers to have new insights on the subject and closer communication between the institutes.


In support of the choice of topic this year, UBIAS points out that demographic studies indicate a five-year increase in average life expectancy by 2050. Increased longevity is associated with so-called "healthy aging," ie the increase of more healthy years to life.

"This reinforces the great gains in well-being associated with change, but there are problems that remain: increased longevity is not evenly distributed and the breadth of social inequalities continues, which in turn raises several other issues."

If in several African countries the decline in infant mortality associated with high fertility rates leads to a large number of young people with high unemployment among them, there is a reverse demographic change in several European countries. Population aging, with a dramatic increase in the incidence of advanced age-related diseases - dementia, for example - is considered an economic and social challenge in many parts of the world, the organization argues.


UBIAS emphasizes that the issue of age should be approached and analyzed in a broad context, and from various disciplinary perspectives. "The ways in which we see and interpret the signs of aging as well as age segmentation in the course of life - for example, when someone is considered part of elderly - have changed throughout history and are subject to wide cultural differences."

This is why the proposed work for the institutes is not restricted to biological aging and its consequences. From this perspective, UBIAS suggests some questions to be discussed in the activities: "Do cultures and societies have an age of themselves? How about the Universe? In relation to cultural artifacts, from buildings to works of art, what is the role of age? What is there to say about the age of concepts and the sciences?"

Topic-of-the-Year activities can range from an event to a series of meetings, including conferences and public discussions, workshops, seminars, or a conference cycle. UBIAS encourages the institutes to invite researchers from other institutes as lecturers or participants, as well as joint activities between two or more institutes.

The first Topic of the Year was "Media and Data Control," in 2016. In 2017, the theme was "Fear." The topic for 2019 will be chosen by the directors of the institutes during the UBIAS global meeting at the IEA-USP from March 19 to 22 this year.

Photo: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil