PENSIONS giant Legal & General is linking up with the University of Edinburgh to launch a £20 million research centre designed to improve academic understanding of care in later life and to revolutionise how it is delivered socially, financially and physically.

The Advanced Care Research Centre, described as the first of its kind in the UK, will offer a seven-year multi-disciplinary research programme, so its research can enable “data-driven, personalised and affordable” care for people living in their own homes or in supported care environments.

The ACRC will work with other top tier universities to bring in those involved more widely in providing care as well as individuals in later life, their families and communities.

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There are more than 12 million over-65s in the UK and this figure is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next 20 years. While life expectancy has increased, living longer doesn’t currently mean living well, the company said.

ACRC will deliver a programme of seven thematic activities that combine research across disciplines including medicine and other care professions, life sciences, engineering, informatics, data and social sciences.

All research findings made during this partnership will be publicly available.

Legal & General, which says it is the UK’s largest pension fund investor with £1.2 trillion of assets under management, said that as a leading provider of longevity risk solutions and retirement products to millions of customers, it has “deep insight” into ageing populations.

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It said changing demographics around ageing will have a crucial impact on its customers, making this one of the company’s long-term strategic growth drivers.

Dr Nigel Wilson, Legal & General chief executive, said establishing the ACRC “will revolutionise the UK’s commitment to understanding and addressing the huge issue of demographic change”.

He said: “Edinburgh’s academic-led, data-based and cross-disciplinary approach will deliver vital positive change to ageing and care and we find this a compelling and practical vision.

Professor Peter Mathieson, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to host this ground-breaking collaboration with colleagues at Legal & General.

“As our population ages, so we need to develop innovative new approaches to provide individually-tailored care.”