Active Ageing Research Group (AARG)

Active Ageing Research Group is committed to helping older individuals maintain independence and quality of life through scientific research which can be readily used and translated into practical applications; in other words, focusing on impact, without compromising scientific rigour.

Physical degeneration is a consequence of older age, and it can severely affect quality of life. The potentially disabling effects of ageing, however, can be mitigated with regular physical activity.

Maintaining functional ability and consequently independent living is of prime importance for the individuals concerned, so they can live longer and enjoy more fulfilled retirement years. Additionally, it can relieve the inevitable stress on the NHS, with the number of people aged 65+ projected to rise by nearly 50% in the next 20 years.

Find out more about our upcoming Active Ageing Symposium.

Current projects

The Active Ageing Research Group's projects are developed from consultation with relevant stakeholders, from relevant agencies or gaps in our knowledge. The following are examples of ongoing projects:

If you have an idea that you would like to discuss, you want to get involved in one of the projects or want to discuss a possible collaboration, please contact us.

Research team

Dr Tim Donovan

Tim has worked as a clinical radiographer in research environments specialising in nuclear medicine and MRI. In 2008, he completed his PhD looking at ways performance could be improved in medical image interpretation, principally using eye tracking. Since then most of his research has used eye tracking and experimental psychology methods to help understand rapid visual processing and decision making.

Dr Lawrence Hayes

Lawrence’s research area is the effect of exercise on systemic biomarkers. His primary research area is exercise endocrinology in older populations, completing a PhD studying the influence of exercise training, and training status, on reproductive hormones. However, Lawrence has broader interests in applied physiology, metabolism, and exercise biochemistry.

Research students

External collaborators

Contact details

For more information about the Active Ageing Research Group’s work, project or collaboration ideas, please contact us below – we will be happy to hear from you!

Email us at
Follow us on Twitter @activeageinguoc

PhD student Neil Thomas creates Fixation Logger (Flo)

The Fixation Logger (FLo), is another freely available application developed by our PhD student Neil Thomas. FLo is a simple GUI application allowing users to import video sequences superimposed with gaze fixations recorded from eye tracking equipment, and log features frame-by-frame by a single key press. The application does not require installation and the full set of instructions, along with the application can be downloaded from GitHub.

Download the Fixation Logger (FLo)

PhD student Neil Thomas develops Sway Analysis Toolkit (SwAT)

The Sway Analysis Toolkit (SwAT), developed by our PhD student Neil Thomas, is a free, simple application which allows users to import and analyse postural sway data recorded with AMTI force platforms (Kistler and Bertec coming soon). The application does not require installation and the full set of instructions, along with the application can be downloaded from GitHub.

Download the Sway Analysis Toolkit (SwAT)

New article published by AARG

The second article by AARG on Scottish country dancing was published in the January issue of Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. A previous article examined the benefits of Scottish country dance on functional ability of older females (TV interview here).

The more recent article examined the effect of Scottish country dance on postural stability. The dancers were compared to physically active controls and, although both had similar postural stability, the dancers were able to maintain it easier.

AARG at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

The Active Ageing Research Group will present some of their work on older individuals at the annual British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences conference.

AARG’s work on the effect of carrying shopping on balance and gait as well as the effect of unprescribed physical activity on functional ability will be communicated to academics and professionals from across the UK, showcasing the quality research that takes place by the Group. See the poster presented at the conference

AARG at the NHS Research and Innovation conference

The Active Ageing Research Group presented at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Research and Innovation conference on Friday 21 November.

AARG presented collaborative work with Lancaster University and NHS partners on a proposed study for balance and gait assessment in arthroplasty patients. In addition, some initial results from collaboration with Kendal Renal Unit was also presented. See the posters presented at this conference.

AARG wins ‘Excellence in Research’ Award

The Active Ageing Research Group was awarded this year’s Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Award.

The judging panel was impressed by AARG’s development and the level of achievement that was reached in a short time. This is a recognition of AARG’s hard work over the past couple of years and the group was delighted with winning the award. The award was presented to the group by the Vice Chancellor at the end of the University’s Research and Enterprise conference in July.

AARG partners with AgeUK Lancashire

The University, through the work of AARG, has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AgeUK Lancashire.

This agreement establishes the very good relationship AARG has developed with AgeUK Lancashire in working together to identify what research needs exist for the older individuals as well as evaluating various initiatives.

AARG successful in receiving funding for project

The Active Ageing Research Group was delighted to be awarded more than £130,000 from the Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust for a project in older age.

The project aims to examine the links between eye movement and walking patterns and how this contributes to fall risk. The project is in collaboration with Dr Tim Donovan, an expert in eye tracking. With a PhD student obtained for this project, everyone is looking forward for it to commence! Read more about the story here.

Newsletter archive

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