About NICOLA

What is NICOLA

Life expectancy is rising in Northern Ireland

It is predicted that 1 in 4 children born here today will celebrate their 100th birthday. While this trend is good news, by 2048 almost half of the population will be aged over 50 years, thus posing many challenges for our society and policy makers. For example: how can we best maintain and maximise independence and the health and wellbeing of older people?, how do we organise and fund the delivery of care services for older people and make adequate pension provision? and what are the consequences for the labour market and employment with an increasing population of people reaching the conventional retirement age? In 2012, NICOLA was set up to - explore why and how certain social, economic and biological factors are changing the lives of older people - to understand how health, lifestyle, financial circumstances and wellbeing change with age - to understand what it is like to grow older in Ireland. Our motto is…….“Understanding today for a healthier tomorrow ...”

How many people are taking part in the study

The study has recruited 8,500 people from across Northern Ireland to provide a true representation of the Northern Ireland population.  Our aim is to monitor these individuals and examine how their health, lifestyle, financial circumstances and overall wellbeing changed over the next 10 years.

Who is in charge

Led by the Centre for Public Health at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), NICOLA benefits from extensive input from a wide range of experts.  These include the medical and health sciences, economics and management, social sciences, architecture and psychology.  This enables a broad range of research to be carried out both with QUB and externally through collaboration with international research groups.

Who funds our study

NICOLA is supported by a range of funders who recognised the need for a population based study of ageing in N.Ireland. To date, these have included:

-          UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Northern Ireland

-          The Atlantic Philanthropies

-          Northern Ireland Public Health Agency Research and Development Office (HSC R&D)

-          Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

-          Medical Research Council (MRC)

-          Northern Ireland Executive Office

-          Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI)

-          The Wellcome Trust and The Wolfson Foundation

-          Queen’s University Belfast

How will NICOLA benefit people working in Northern Ireland

NICOLA is an invaluable resource for understanding what it means to be an older person in Northern Ireland.

The wealth of information collected will help:

¨  Provide a rich data source for researchers across various disciplines in Queen's University Belfast and facilitate national and international research collaborations

¨  Shape health and social care polices and other aspects of policy aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of older people

-   Address issues related to social inclusion by giving the over 50's population a voice

¨  Form the basis of future age related research projects

¨  Change the way we live for the better!

Through NICOLA, we aim to understand the health needs and status of older people, the contributions that older people are making to society, the biological and/or environmental components that assist in successful ageing and the economic needs and status of older people.

In the words of NICOLA’s former Principal Investigator, Professor Ian Young -

“NICOLA will help us change the way we live for the better and those participating in the study will leave a tangible legacy for future generations"

Have any results been published from NICOLA

Early key findings from WAVE 1 of NICOLA are now available.  Please click here to download a copy.