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SPARC-Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity

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SPARC-Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research CapacityResearch Funder/Centre

Type of institution

Research centre



The Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC) network is a unique joint venture by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom. SPARC is a £1.2 million capacity building network that is designed to increase the ability of the United Kingdom to conduct ageing research over the medium term. The activity combines networking with a small grants and awards scheme that is designed to allow newcomers to ageing research to establish themselves within the discipline. SPARC is directed by Professor Peter Lansley of the University of Reading and Dr Richard Faragher of the University of Brighton. The directors are supported by dedicated administrative staff and advised by a Committee with an independent chair. The Advisory Committee includes established researchers, young scientists, representatives from key non-governmental organisations and the BBSRC and EPSRC.


The objective of SPARC is to make a significant contribution to building UK capacity in ageing-related research. Accordingly, the network pursues the following aims: Enabling investigators new to ageing research to undertake "small projects" or feasibility studies through which they can establish themselves in the area. Stimulating activities in research areas that were at the life-physical sciences interface with the intention of encouraging cross-disciplinary working. Examples of such areas include: nutrition, chemical genetics, chemical probe development, neurobiology, physics-biology interface, skeleto-muscular systems, biomechanics and biomimetics. Ensuring that the outcomes of the small projects are presented from the same platform as those from previous BBSRC and EPSRC initiatives on ageing in order to facilitate coherence. Building on the EQUAL network to replicate its success in ageing research relevant to BBSRC's strategy. This to be accomplished through the engagement of the research community with a wide range of stakeholders in ageing and through demonstration of the contribution that design, biology and interfacial research can make to the quality of life of older people. Providing a measurable contribution to the strategic ageing objectives of BBSRC and EPSRC.

Main research areas


Ms Verity Smith


University of Reading URS Building
Whiteknights P O Box 219
Reading RG6 6AW United Kingdom
United Kingdom


+44 (0) 118 378 7179

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