About us

The Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of Sheffield comprises more than 120 leading researchers from across four faculties, led by the medical and social sciences, with a unique focus on improving health across the life course by preventing multimorbidity – the presence of two or more chronic health conditions – and age-related frailty.

Ageing is a major risk factor for multimorbidity and the world is ageing fast. Our increased understanding of how ageing drives the development of age-related diseases, or morbidities, means that we can now intervene to delay the negative health aspects of ageing by altering the social, economic, environmental and biological factors driving them.

Our expertise is wide-ranging, from age-related diseases and the underlying mechanisms of ageing to social policy and practice in key areas such as active ageing. Our mission is to apply this expertise, in close interdisciplinary collaboration, to design and test interventions throughout the life course to help everyone live healthier into advanced old age.

Our esteemed researchers are world-ranking – including among the top researchers in their fields globally – for the quality of their scientific outputs in age-related diseases, gerontology, healthy ageing, active ageing, and health and wellbeing across the life course.

Man teaching children with tablet

We are valued internationally

Ageing-related multimorbidity and frailty are major drivers of loss of independence in later life and account for the majority of health and social care costs. The Healthy Lifespan Institute is a pioneer in focusing holistically on these issues and in its approach to improving health as people age by trying to prevent multimorbidity and age-related frailty across the life course, combining medical approaches with evidence-based social policies and practices.

We work with national, international and regional organisations to apply our knowledge, and share the outcomes across the UK and globally.

Our work is highly valued internationally. Our experienced, pioneering team delivers radical and innovative research on how social and public health approaches can be integrated and used in combination with new medical advances. Key areas of expertise include: active ageing and other social policies related to population ageing; age-related diseases including musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative conditions; underlying mechanisms of ageing such as DNA damage, senescence and inflammation; public health; life course ageing; social gerontology; nursing and social care; and public involvement and co-production to name a few. Underpinning our programme of work is the development of novel computational models to predict and accurately measure diseases’ trajectory.

A family taking a selfie

A wealth of expertise to influence change

We have a long history of practical innovation, applying learning from our research to create change in public policy, clinical practice and social care, which make life better for people as they age. Our expert academics hold key roles in medical societies in the UK and Europe. We are very proud of our pioneering team.

The Institute also works across other areas which have an impact on health throughout our lives, such as obesity, smoking, alcohol and the social and political determinants of health and wellbeing. We provide evidence and briefings to government and key organisations to influence changes in health and social policy.

The Healthy Lifespan Institute brings together a wealth of expertise in multimorbidity and healthy ageing. We are strongly committed to collaboration across disciplines and we are actively developing and mentoring a new generation of research leaders.