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Research Programs


Mercer's Institute for Successful Aging (MISA promotes healthy and successful aging as well as raising standards and expectations for the care of older people. Our aim is to provide a hub of clinical services, research, training and education, with a special focus on the creative lives of older people and its relationship to Successful Ageing. We are committed to delivering this promise in a meaningful and integrated way across all parts of the healthcare and social system. We hope you find the information here relevant and useful and look forward to working with you to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to grow old.

Clinical Services (

Together, Medicine for the Elderly (MedEL) and Psychiatry for the Elderly serve a population of almost a quarter of a million people over the age of 65. The departments, encompassing admission, rehabilitation, continuing care wards and day hospitals, provide medical and rehabilitation services to patients on both a long term and day attendance basis. Busy and comprehensive out-patients departments also provide a range of specialised ambulatory care clinics while visiting nurses who work and liaise closely with the community provide the best care possible to the local older population.

Training and Education (

The acquisition of knowledge and information and the development and maintenance of professional skills are of paramount importance in improving health and social care for older people. The Training and Education Pillar promotes health professional training in ageing at all levels and aims to foster and support both professional and lay/volunteer education and training in the area of ageing.

The Training and Educational Pillar within the Centre of Excellence aims to promote a more innovative approach to training and education in ageing by making it interdisciplinary in focus, integrating the training of different health care professionals, augmenting their own single discipline experience, which will ultimately result, in better patient centred care for the older person.

The Training and Education Pillar includes the academic Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College and Psychiatry for the Elderly service, St. James's Hospital . Both services are actively engaged in the training and education of medical students, nursing and therapy students through innovative practices and the education and upskilling of health care professionals on best practice in ageing. The Dementia Services Information and Development Centre is also includedin this pillar and currently providing national leadership and professional training in dementia while conducting research into social and policy aspects of dementia care.

This pillar has strong interactions with the Clinical, Research and Creative Life Pillars to enhance and support knowledge and information dissemination about healthy ageing and health promotion for older people.

Creative Life (

Good health is not just about the absence of disease but increasingly about a better quality of life; this is particularly true for the older person. Creativity has an important role to play in enhancing quality of life and enabling Successful Ageing. Creativity enhances the psychological and emotional well-being of the individual, permeating and enriching every day life, leading to greater personal fulfilment.

By exercising our minds and bodies, creativity can increase our skills and heighten our self-confidence and motivation. The arts as a creative process for older people have something for everyone. Even for the physically or mentally frail older person, the arts can always represent a way of being involved and feeling valued.

The Creative Life Pillar within the Centre of Excellence promotes and highlights the creativity of older people and enables them to express themselves through such activities as art, sculpturing, poetry, literature, music and drama allowing for the experience of the positive aspects of creativity in ageing and how it can also help adaptation to disability and ill-health.

The Creative Life Pillar hopes to act as a model of how creativity and the arts can contribute to successful ageing throughout Ireland.

The unit has strong interactions with the Clinical, Research and Training and Education Pillars of the Centre of Excellence for Successful Ageing, enhancing and supporting creativity and healthy ageing for older people.

GSK/TCIN Consortium on Neurodegeneration

This collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) conducts translational research accelerating the development of novel therapies for Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Researchers from these organisations focus on validating robust clinical endpoints that can be used to demonstrate pharmacodynamic activity of potential symptomatic and disease modifying agents for AD. These endpoints are based on enhanced understanding of the cognitive and neurophysiological impairments underlying normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment and AD and also on novel markers identified from preclinical models of ageing and AD.


The Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC was established in 2005 with the view to analysing the social policy ramifications of population ageing in Ireland and in the comparative perspective. Fundamental to the Centre's work is the belief that research has a central role to play in making Ireland a better place to grow old in.

SPARC's mission is three-fold:

Production of high-quality, comparative and policy-relevant research into the social policy impacts and implications of ageing. The main vehicle for disseminating this is publication in international peer-reviewed journals and books.

Using research findings to generate policy advice and insights that can in turn be used by policy makers and practitioners to improve the lives of older people. The main vehicles for this purpose are concise Policy Briefings and seminars / conferences.

Fostering a new cohort of social gerontologists trained to PhD level. SPARC hosts a community of young researchers and provides them with the physical infrastructure and networks to reach both policy makers and practitioners in Ireland, and fellow researchers in other countries.


A man being assessed at the TILDA clinic

The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA is the most detailed study on ageing ever undertaken in Ireland. This ground-breaking study looks at the health, lifestyles and financial situation of 8,000 to 10,000 people as they grow older, and sees how their circumstances change over a 10 year period. The study is being carried out by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with an inter-disciplinary panel of scientific researchers, with expertise in various fields of ageing, from Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT), Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), Queen's University Belfast (QUB), The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), University College Dublin (UCD) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

The information gathered in TILDA will improve our understanding of the factors that aid successful ageing in Ireland. Also, it will assist in the development of a range of economic, health and social policies that will benefit all people living in Ireland. Some of the questions we are interested in answering are:

  • How do people's health and level of disability change over time?
  • What happens to people's memory as they age?
  • What are the factors that decide when people retire and how do people plan for their retirement?
  • Do people have enough savings to provide for their older age?
  • How do people's activities, relationships and quality of life change over time?
  • What is the relationship between people's health status, economic situation and social circumstances?
  • How does this relationship change over time?
  • What are the factors that determine successful ageing?

TILDA is funded by:

  • The Department of Health and Children
  • Irish Life
  • The Atlantic Philantrophies


The TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living Centre looks at the physical, social and cognitive consequences of ageing and develops technologies to address them...'making longer lives better'.

Technology Research for Independent Living TRIL is an active collaboration between researchers in academic, clinical and industry settings. Operating as a virtual centre with researchers based in UCD, TCD, NUIG and Intel, it tackles the problems associated with demographic ageing. The centre harnesses multidisciplinary ageing research, clinical expertise and enabling technology development and evaluation to support independent living.

TRIL has developed a novel bio-psycho-social cohort data-set & technology platforms to support its researchers. Research and innovation in the TRIL Centre is underpinned by a design-ethnography process that facilitates the development of research prototypes leading to execution of experiments with older people in their own homes. The goal is to better understand how technology can enable health & social care in the community and home. In this way, TRIL enables translation of hospital and lab based research to the home and community.

The ultimate aim of the range of research and innovation activities carried out in the TRIL Centre is to drive the development of new models of home and community care for older people to enable them to live independently 'in place' for longer with a better quality of life that is associated with lower healthcare costs.

The Irish Life Histories Archive

The Irish Life Histories Archive is an open-access resource for the study of narrative life experiences. It is part of a research project in the School of Linguistic, Language and Communication Sciences and the School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, which is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). The Life Histories Archive Project has thematically structured a collection of stories, taken from 24 autobiographies, of a sample of women and men from Dublin and Belfast.

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Last updated 26 July 2018

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