The Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA) provides the infrastructure, focus and leadership for ageing research and scholarship across the University’s Academic Colleges. It hosts CADR – a pan-Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research.

The Centre is the only one of its kind in Wales, identifying gaps in ageing research and generating new interdisciplinary knowledge in the field of ageing. The research emanating from the Centre is highly acclaimed and the standing and reputation of the Centre is well recognised, having achieved international recognition for its work in social gerontology as a collaborating centre of excellence and a global leader in researchby the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG). World-leading expertise on social and environmental gerontology is acknowledged with Professor Burholt representing the UK on the Management Board of EU Cost Action Reducing Old-Age Social Exclusion: Collaborations in Research and Policy (ROSEnet); Professors Burholt and Keating are invited members of the International Network on Rural Ageing, while Professor Keating leads the Global Social Initiative on Ageing. In particular, Professor Vanessa Burholt is an elected member of the Ministerial Advisory Forum on Ageing, a Senior Research Leader for Health and Care Research Wales, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Dr Paul Nash, Dr Charles Musselwhite and Dr Sarah Hillcoat-Nalletamby sit on the British Society of Gerontology Executive Committee. In addition, Dr Deborah Morgan is the President of the Emerging Researchers in Ageing (ERA) section of the British Society of Gerontology.

Members of the Centre work collaboratively with other centres in the UK, Europe, Africa, the USA, Canada, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand as collaborators, consultants or advisors for international projects.

About the Centre

The Centre

The Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA) provides a centre of excellence for research and training in the study of ageing. The CIA initiates, coordinates and supports ageing research within Swansea University and fosters collaboration between researchers in Swansea and those further afield (nationally and internationally).

The CIA has a philosophy of translating research into practice, achieved through active interaction with policy makers, managers and practitioners. The Centre fosters collaboration between business and academia, with the intention of multiplying the benefits of public and private investment in knowledge. It provides an exceptional training ground for researchers and post-graduate students, attracting the finest students from around the globe, and preparing them for:

  • working with older people
  • managing and delivering services for older people
  • designing or manufacturing products for an ageing population
  • joining the scientific research community



The current research being conducted in the Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA) falls under two overarching strategic themes:

Participation, Social and Supportive Relationships

The community is important as the location for the formation and continuation of associations and relationships with others as well as the formation of cultural convention, norms, values and beliefs. On a national and sub-national level, the construction of norms, for example for supportive relationships, impacts on older people’s lives. The CIA has unique data and research expertise concerning the transnational relationships, social networks, inter- and intra-generational relationship of older migrants in the UK. Further, the centre is seen as a global leader in social gerontology within this theme. Topics under this theme include:- 

  • Social support networks
  • Transnational relationships
  • Community cohesion/conflict
  • Social contagion within communities of practice and place
  • Health literacy within support networks
  • Changing dynamics of networks and families
  • Differences between ethnicity/culture in family and networks structures

Environments of Ageing

This theme addresses person-environment interactions as people age. Traditionally the ageing individual was seen as being strongly influenced by the environment within which they lived, worked and interacted, encapsulated approaches such as ‘environmental press’ or ‘person–environment reactivity’. Research and theory now suggests older people are more actively engaged with their environment with roots in environmental psychology, and is often referred to as ‘environmental gerontology’ or the ‘ecology of ageing’. Environments of ageing is multi-disciplinary in nature, utilising theoretical perspectives from psychology, sociology, architecture, human geography, urban studies, planning and occupational therapy. It is often inter-disciplinary and looks at the interactions between engineering, technology, ICT and society and draws upon socio-technical, human-computer interaction and user-centred design theory within an ageing context. The CIA covers a wider range of topics under this theme including:- 

  • Housing and supported living environments
  • Social inclusion and connectivity
  • Transport, travel, road user safety
  • Attitudes towards technology, acceptability of technology, digital inclusion, acceptability of policy and interventions
  • Ageing-in-place, place attachment, migration, rural-urban contexts
  • Urban design and built environment
  • Falls

In addition to the world-leading research of the CIA, the centre is engaged with the development of networks in Wales, the wider UK and globally. This allows for the impact of the research conducted in the centre to be far reaching and positively affect the lives of Older Adults beyond the traditional scope of an academic research centre. Translational research and network development are cross cutting to these themes and as such are reported separately.




View our range of publications: 

2008 – today

2006 – 2007

2004 – 2005

2000 – 2003


For full biographies of individuals, click on the names below.

Full members of the Centre for Innovative Ageing

To telephone any of our staff directly please telephone (+44) 01792 plus the details provided below.





Professor Vanessa Burholt

Director of MSc in Ageing Studies,

Director of the Centre for Innovative Ageing,

Professor of Gerontology

60 2186

Professor Judith Phillips

Director of OPAN

Professor of Gerontology and Social Work

60 2341

Christian Beech

Senior Research Assistant, PhD student

60 2513

Maria Cheshire-Allen

Research Network Coordinator of OPAN

60 2048

Dr Alison Cooper

OPAN Stroke Research Portfolio Development Fellow


Jodie Croxall

Lecturer in Social Policy, PhD student

60 2037

Dr Christine Dobbs, CPsychol

Research Officer

60 2952

Andrew Dunning

Lecturer in Social Policy

60 2563

Dr Sarah Hillcoat Nallétamby

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy

29 5783

Dr Sue Lambert

Co-Director of the Older People and Ageing Research and Development Network (OPAN Cymru), Lecturer

29 5498

Dr Paul Nash CPsychol

Post Graduate Programme Director, Ageing Studies

60 2907

Dr Christine Dobbs

Research Officer

60 2952

Dr Sarah Miles

Research Assistant

60 6386

View a list of PhD Researchers