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Consortium led by the UC wins 5 million euros for research in the area of active and healthy ageing

28 july, 2022
© UC | Marta Costa

The consortium "CHAngeing - Connected Hubs in Ageing: Healthy Living to Protect Cerebrovascular Function", coordinated by the University of Coimbra (UC), won a funding of circa 5 million euros for the development and implementation of innovative practices aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles and active ageing. With a special focus on the prevention and rehabilitation of cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke, the project will involve scientists, regional and health authorities, as well as civil society in Portugal and Greece.

Over a period of four years, the consortium "will contribute to creating scientific evidence for the benefits of healthy lifestyles associated with the Mediterranean diet to promote health and prevent cerebrovascular diseases", says consortium coordinator and University of Coimbra researcher João Malva.

The main objective of the European consortium will be achieved through "strong investment in quality scientific research, in the training of highly qualified human resources (at PhD level), in transforming knowledge into innovation with an impact on the market, as well as in empowering citizens to adjust their lifestyles in order to promote health and prevent disease, contributing to active and healthy ageing", stresses João Malva.

There are two hubs in the consortium, a Portuguese and a Greek one. In Portugal, it will be coordinated by the University of Coimbra and includes the participation of the Pedro Nunes Institute, the Coimbra Hospital and University Centre, the Collaborative Laboratory Colab4Ageing and Glintt, a company operating in the healthcare area. The Greek cluster is composed of the University of Crete, the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas and also includes the participation of the University Hospital of Heraklion, in Crete.

CHAngeing won this funding as a result of its application submitted to the Horizon Europe programme. The Excellence Hubs competition aims to support projects focused on innovation, particularly in the promotion and creation of synergies between innovation ecosystems and entities such as universities, businesses, government entities and society, in widening countries, to broaden their participation in research.

The consortium's work will focus on seven main areas of action: 1) on the creation of synergies between and within the two hubs; 2) on the promotion of a joint project to identify cellular and molecular mechanisms as well as therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of cerebrovascular diseases; 3) on the advanced training, innovation and entrepreneurship of a new generation of scientists and professionals; 4) on the acceleration of innovation and the development of products and services for the market associated with the Mediterranean diet and healthy lifestyles; 5) the implementation of a pilot project to disseminate health literacy and raise awareness among citizens about the benefits of healthy lifestyles and the Mediterranean diet in preventing cerebrovascular disease; 6) the implementation of a development and application demonstrator of innovative technologies to improve the treatment of cerebrovascular pathologies and their rehabilitation; 7) the communication and dissemination of information about the project to create impact on society and decision-makers to promote lifelong health.

For the Rector of the University of Coimbra, Amílcar Falcão, "the coordination of this consortium is another milestone in the importance that the theme of active and healthy ageing has had in recent years in the strategy for research of the University of Coimbra, involving initiatives such as Ageing@Coimbra or the creation of the Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing (MIA-Portugal), being an undeniably crucial matter for society: longevity with quality of life".

This consortium adds to other projects in the area of ageing that have counted on the scientific collaboration of the University of Coimbra, such as the European Reference Centre for Active and Healthy Ageing Ageing@Coimbra, the collaborative laboratory CoLab4Ageing or the Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing (MIA-Portugal).