According to data from WHO, the pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past. By 2030, one in every six people in the world will be aged 60 years or over. The combined effects of long life expectancy and low birth rates are the key factors to cause this demographic change.

That poses major challenges for science and society. We therefore need to reassess the understanding of the ageing process, foster resilience throughout a lifetime and make the lives of seniors as healthy and livable as possible. Comprehending why certain people age significantly slower than others and using this knowledge for the prevention of age-associated diseases and promoting resilient ageing is the overall goal of this Leibniz Research Alliance.

Whether or not someone is one of the elderly who, despite chronological ageing, experience virtually no deterioration in cognitive abilities, i.e., are resilient to brain ageing, depends on many influencing factors. Operating from the hypothesis that not only the brain but also all organs of the human body possess adaptive capacities our biologists, psychologists, ecologists, physicians, epidemiologists, nutritionists, social scientists and economists want to investigate these factors. These include (epi)genetic contributions, health issues, diet and lifestyle, and also environmental influences, as well as income and education, the role of social status and recognition in society.

14 Leibniz institutes are contributing their findings and research methods to the new research alliance at the microscopic and macroscopic levels: from biological interactions at the molecular level in cell cultures and animal models to medical data, such as that available from Germany’s largest health study, NAKO, and the European EPIC study, as well as data from surveys conducted by the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the largest and longest-running multidisciplinary long-term study in Germany.

The Leibniz Research Alliance Resilient Ageing sees itself as a cross-discipline research network and point of contact for policymakers and the media. Its expertise covers all issues associated with the biological, medical, social and economic aspects of resilient ageing.