Cogworks Conference - 25 February 2010 - Video streams

Professor James McElnay opening notes

"Cogworks is one of 10 UK collaborative development networks awards under the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) Phase 2 funded by the UK Research Councils in partnership with the UK Health Departments. This is a major cross-council initiative supporting multi-disciplinary research addressing factors across the life course that influences healthy ageing and wellbeing in later life. Over the last 10 months by reaching out to form partnerships with colleagues in the Universities of Ulster, Brunel, Stirling and Warwick, COGWORKS has built on a strong foundation of collaborative and multidisciplinary research to create a powerful force for future research." (Professor McElnay opening notes)

Cogworks end of award conference was held on Thursday 25th February 2010 at the Whitla Hall, Queen's University Belfast. 146 people attended the conference. You will find below the video streams of the proceedings of the conference.

Professor James McElnay is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates, Queen’s University Belfast.

Please follow the links below to watch the video (The presentations require Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, Netscape Navigator 7.0 or later for PC; or Internet Explorer 5.2.2 or later for Mac.):

Dame Joan Harbison, The Older People's Advocate in Northern Ireland & Chair of Cogworks Steering Group.

Dr Karim Hadjri, Principal Investigator, Cogworks.

Professor Bernie Hannigan, Director of Health and Social Care R&D, Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland.

Mr John Kennedy, Director of Care Services, Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust.

Professor Katherine Pearson, Professor of Law and Director, Elder Law and Consumer Protection Clinic, Dickinson School of Law, Penn State University, USA.

 Dr Judith Torrington, Reader in Architecture, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield.

Dr Simon Roberts, Senior Design Anthropologist, Digital Health Group, Intel Corporation, Dublin.

Dr Ghada Zoubiane, Research Programme Manager, Partnership Initiatives, Medical Research Council.

Cogworks Team Presentation of Findings:

Roundtable discussions:

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Please download Newsletter 2

Cogworks Fogus Group Theme 1:

Theme 1 "Lifelong health and wellbeing: maximising capacity to benefit across the life span" focus group was held on Thursday 19 November at the Grosvenor House & Training Centre, Belfast. 

Geraldine Macdonald from the Institute of Child Care Research and Dr Una Lynch from the Institute of Governance at Queen’s University Belfast  facilitated a day in which over sixty people came together to explore their understanding of cognitive health and its determinants.  Reflecting COGWORKS lifespan approach, the participants included older people; teenagers; parents; people who are currently unemployed and others working in a range of sectors including: health; housing; education; policy; research; youth and age sector organisations.

Participants were divided into seven focus groups and in response to feedback from the COGWORKS steering group, two of the focus groups were comprised entirely of men; one of older men and the other of teenagers. As with previous events other members of the COGWORKS team, Alison Bowes from Stirling University, Karim Hadjri and Karola Dillenberger from Queen’s, were actively involved throughout the day. Additional support was provided by colleagues from the School of Sociology at Queen’s University and Age Concern Help the Aged NI.

This event was a great success in terms of generating valuable data to advance our thinking. Another positive outcome was feedback from the participants on how much they had enjoyed the day. People were very energised by the experience and said that they felt that they had personally benefitted from taking time to think about the concept of cognitive health and to share their personal and professional experience and knowledge.

Cogworks Focus Group Themes 3 & 4:

The second Cogworks Workshop was held on 5 November 2009 at University of Warwick. The workshop related to Themes 3 and 4 of the Network: a) the influence of the built environment on cognitive decline and wellbeing; b) the provision of new cognitive technologies to support and monitor middle aged and older adults. The focus groups were facilitated by Professor Elizabeth Burton (University of Warwick), Dr Karim Hadjri (QUB) for theme 3, Dr Panagiota Nikopoulou-Smyrni (Brunel University) and Dr Karola Dillenburger (QUB) for theme 4. Twenty two participants took part in the two focus groups. Guest speaker Mr Sharif Shikder presented the current research portfolio of the Health and Care Infrastructure Research and Innovation Centre (HaCIRIC), from the Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University. This was followed by focus group activities to answer a number of questions related to the two themes. Focus group discussion or theme 3 explored whether the built environment can influence cognitive ageing and decline, what aspects of the built environment make most difference to people with dementia and their carers, and which ones are important to mental health and wellbeing. Focus group discussion for theme 4 revolved around the methods currently used for preventing cognitive decline, and how can these be improved, in addition to the application of assistive technologies for brain training. Obstacles to the use of assistive technologies were also discussed.

Cogworks Focus group Theme 2
Focus group 1

Cogworks focus group on ‘the impact of caring and disability on cognitive and mental health’

The first COGWORKS Workshop was held on 8 Sept 2009 at the Institute of Governance, Queen’s University Belfast. The workshop related to Theme 2 of the Network: Impact of caring and disability on cognitive and mental health and was facilitated by Prof Alison Bowes (University of Stirling), Dr Karola Dillenburger (QUB), and Dr Mickey Keenan (UUC). Twenty five participants including COGWORKS Network members took part in a busy programme. An introductory talk on the topic of Self Care was delivered by Professor Sally Wyke, from the Alliance for self care research at University of Stirling. Professor Wyke’s talk focussed on Self-care: Managing your own health as carers. Using examples from Dementia research she outlined the cost of caring. Then models of support were discussed after which the Focus groups took place. Three focus groups then discussed the issue that are important to each person in the caring process; what is helping most; and what are the biggest obstacles. They also looked at the four models that had been presented and discussed their useful, strengths and weaknesses: Telecare/technology interventions, Self-help groups, Training for carers, Reflexivity/self care. Finally they outlined what solutions, in an ideal world, would be most helpful. The focus groups identified a number of important issues that will help the researchers plan for the future. For example, they identified as most important to the caring process, education and information in different formats, especially about coping tactics, learning from practical experience. They found that relationships and peers are crucial and that having a ‘safe pair of hands’ is very important. Some of the biggest obstacles were identified as being ‘contained’ by services in a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. Service providers need to understand that everyone is different and that carers are accepted as equal partners in the carer role; as experts. In an ideal world, carers felt that resources are needed to implement as well as research and that research must be participatory. The COGWORK team looks forward to taking these issues on board in their research plan.

Cogworks Focus Group 2

Cogworks will run two focus groups on 5th November 2009 at the Institute of Health, School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick.

The focus groups will cover two themes:

a) the influence of the built environment on cognitive decline and wellbeing;

b) the provision of new cognitive technologies to support and monitor middle aged and older adults.

Please download Newsletter 1
Event in September 2009

Cogworks held a focus group workshop on 8 September 2009 at the Institute of Governance, Queen's University Belfast, on Theme 2: "the impact of caring and disability on cognitive and related areas of mental health".

The next focus group workshops will be held at University of Warwick on 5 November 2009.

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Queen's works towards a healthier way of ageing

Some members of the Cogworks Management Committee

Queen's University is working towards a healthier way of ageing for those aged 50+ after being awarded funding to carry out research and networking in the area.

The University's School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering has been awarded £50k by the Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme (LLHW), a major cross-council initiative supporting multi-disciplinary research addressing factors across the life course that influences healthy ageing and wellbeing in later life.

LLHW programme is a partnership between the UK research councils and the Health departments of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales.

The funding partners are the Health and Social Care Research and Development Office, Northern Ireland; the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates; Department of Health/National Institute for Health Research, England;  Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care, Welsh Assembly Government; and the five UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC and MRC). The programme is managed by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The grant will be used to fund a new Cognitive Health and Wellbeing Hub (COGWORKS). The hub is a collaborative network made up of 11 investigators from across Queen’s in education, law, medicine and sociology, along with a number of researchers from the University of Ulster, Brunel, Stirling and Oxford Brookes universities and other international partners.

Members of the network will work together to create a research strategy focused on what can be done at various stages throughout a person’s life to ensure they remain as alert and healthy as possible.

Queen’s is the leading institution in the project and the team are hoping to develop a new era of cognitive health for those aged 50+.

Karim Hadjri, principle investigator at Queen’s said: “This network brings together an exceptional mix of people from various institutions and disciplines who are currently working in ageing-related issues ranging from education in childhood to assistive technology and dementia.

“The activities of the network will be focused on building strong collaborative relationships and the generation of a robust research strategy.

“The fact that Queen’s is the lead university for this network highlights our commitment to effectively contribute to growing bodies of research in healthy ageing.”

Dame Joan Harbison, the older people’s advocate for Northern Ireland who will chair the Cogworks steering group, said: ‘’I am delighted to be involved in this exciting and important initiative. COGWORKS provides a vehicle to harness the wealth of expertise and experience that exists in Northern Ireland. My role within the network will help to ensure that the voice and contribution of older people is acknowledged at every stage.’’

Dr Una Lynch, co-investigator and research manager of the Changing Ageing Partnership at Queen’s, said: “Cogworks places Northern Ireland in an excellent position to influence developments in research and practice aimed at promoting cognitive health and wellbeing across the lifespan.”

The network provides a fountain of knowledge and expertise in a range of areas that impact on health and quality of life including architecture, education, ICT, law, medicine, occupational therapy, psychology, public health and sociology.

Its aim is to develop a comprehensive research programme to maximise mental functioning throughout life. The Queen’s team plan to become one of the main players of the LLHW initiative and Ageing research in the future.

For media enquiries please contact: Emma Blee, Press & PR Unit, +44 (0)28 9097 2576,

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