In 2017, it is estimated that there are 962 million people aged 60 or older, that is, 13% of the world's population. In 2050 there will be 2,100 million people who will exceed 60 years and they will be 3,100 million in 2100. Europe is the region with more people belonging to this group. 1 of every 4 Europeans is over 60 years old. In 2050 it will be 1 out of 3.
The ageing of the population is about to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century, with consequences for almost all sectors of society, among them, the labor and financial market and the demand for goods and services (housing , transport, social protection ...), as well as for the family structure and intergenerational ties.
Faced with this reality, the search for answers is essential. Answers that allow us to provide a society that will see how the life of the people who make it up is prolonged, improvements in the services needed to achieve an adequate quality of life, economic sustainability to address social rights and opportunities to optimize the capabilities of all people.
And the International Centre on Ageing, CENIE, wants to be one of those answers.
The International Centre on Ageing can and should be a great asset, both for Spain and for Portugal. It is based on the different venues and facilities of the promoting institutions and promotes the search for concrete answers through intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth in the territories of Spain and Portugal.
It also promotes collaboration between the business and academic worlds with the intention of multiplying the benefits of public and private investment. The International Centre on Ageing is promoted by the General Foundation of the University of Salamanca, which is the institution responsible for the general coordination of the project, the General Foundation of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, the University of Algarve and the Direção-Geral da Saúde from Portugal. Together we will work to lay the foundations for the construction of a common vision between Spain and Portugal in the face of this new social reality.
The Centre’s ultimate goal is to become a centre of excellence for research, training and innovation in the field of ageing through leadership, the generation of knowledge and collaborative research.
In order to achieve this, it will pursue the following strategic objectives:
· Raise awareness about the social and economic consequences of an ageing population.
· Encourage the creation of new professional profiles with knowledge and capabilities that allow them to adapt to the needs of an ageing population.
· Position the professions related to the elderly as attractive and rewarding careers for university students, postgraduates and young researchers.
·Generate a competitive and internationally connected team of researchers. Promote a greater representation of young Portuguese and Spanish researchers in international projects.
· Promote greater integration of academic activity in the productive sector, thus favoring innovation in the field of ageing.
· Promote and implement innovative initiatives of various groups that allow society to contribute directly to the care and social integration of elderly people and their families.
· Contribute to the transformation of the main tourist destinations in Spain and Portugal into communities adapted to an ageing society and, therefore, able to better meet the needs of the elderly, of both residents and foreign visitors.
In order to achieve them, it will carry out three activities:
1. Promotion of new professions for an ageing society.
2. Research and innovation to improve the quality of life in ageing.
3. Identify an integrating path in the social field, and an entrepreneurial one in the economic field.
It is necessary to express gratitude to the INTERREG V-A Cooperation Programme, Spain-Portugal. POCTEP, 2014-2020, since without their financial support the International Centre on Ageing would not be possible.
The approval of the project and an investment amounting to € 6,643,333 in the next three years are sufficient reasons for responsibility and enthusiasm to give the best of ourselves in pursuit of the objectives sought.
Óscar González Benito
General Foundation of the University of Salamanca