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Working definitions of key words used for the data gathering stage 1 and 2

At the meeting with National Coordinators in Helsinki it was agreed that the coordinating team in Sheffield will develop definitions of each key word used in the survey. The aim of this document is to elaborate the meaning of the key words in English so we have a common understanding of the issues across the countries.

Ageing Research Programme

Definition of a research programme to be included in the database. The types of research programmes to be included in the database range from:

a) Specific programmes targeted on ageing (or its sub-fields) that fund a collection of at least 4 projects based around strategic targets or specific themes of investigation.

An examples of these types of research programmes take two major forms:
  • Whole targeted research programmes on ageing for example, the Growing Older programme on Quality of Life in the UK, the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Ageing, or the research programme on ageing in Luxembourg. Ageing and its sub-fields would include research programmes on Alzheimer’s disease, stoke or longevity for example.

  • The second major form of a research programme on ageing is where a funding organisation chooses to fund a research institute on ageing (or its sub-fields) which organises and plans its own programme of research on ageing using these funds from the research funders. For example, The Institute of Biomedical Ageing funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Longevity funded by the Ministry of Research through FNS (National Science Fund) in France or the Israeli Gerontological Database Centre is funded by the Israeli Ministry of Health.
b) A cluster of at least 4 projects, funded under a sub-theme on ageing as part of a broader research programme.

This is where a research programme is in place on a broader topic than ageing such as public health or welfare, which includes a specific sub-theme on ageing (or one of its sub-fields). Examples of these kind of programme are the Swedish Programme on Public Health’s sub theme on Ageing and the Life course or the Norwegian Programme on welfare’s sub-theme on Ageing.

Scientific director – is a scientist based in an academic institution, whose background is in research. They implement the programme from the call to its completion.

Managing director - is responsible for the management of a research programme, organising seminars, putting the information together. They are normally located in the funding agency.

Dedicated officer – is the administrator responsible for a research programme, based in the funding agency.

Funding Agency - is an organization which offers funds for research programmes, processes applications for funding, and awards funds to qualified applicants.

Coordination - is a process of communication, planning, sharing of resources for purposes of efficiency and effectiveness in achieving the goals of the parties involved.

Interdisciplinary Research - research programmes are open to more than one discipline and seek to attract proposals that integrate more than one disciplinary perspective on a research issue. The definition that was applied for the survey was:

Research projects that involve more than one disciplinary perspective and seek to integrate these perspectives in the research ie. the integration of several disciplines within single projects or consortia.

External reviewers - people not employed by the funding agency or members of the board of the agency (not including members of scientific advisory panel) who evaluate the quality of applications and/or outputs.

External Referees - this is where referees are used to review proposals, these personnel come from outside of the funding organisations. i.e they are not employees of the funding agency. They may or may not be members of an advisory board/committee to the programme.

Scientific review of proposals – is an assessment by experts that identifies strengths and weaknesses of a proposal. The experts are independent from the funding agency (eg. scientists based at the university).

International collaboration - the process of working jointly between two or more different countries by sharing information, carrying out a comparative or a joint research.

Users of research – are people or organisations outside of the funding agency or the scientific institution who may use the research findings or they are just interested in it. They can be for example policy makers, NGO’s, private companies and older people and, of course, scientists themselves.

Project/Programme evaluation can be defined as a systematic (and as objective as possible) examination of a planned, ongoing or completed project/programme. It aims to answer specific management questions and to judge the overall value of an endeavour and supply lessons learned to improve future actions, planning and decision-making. An evaluation should provide information that is credible and useful, offering concrete lessons learned to help partners and funding agencies make decisions.
  • Programme-level evaluation - this provides a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a programme, and helps to determine the impact and value of the investment.

  • Project-level evaluation – each project within the programme is evaluated in the way that an End Report is submitted and sent to peer reviewers. The results of these assessments feed into the overall programme evaluation.
Dissemination (beyond normal scientific outputs) is telling a wider audience about a project/programme and its results. This may be by means of seminars, newsletters, press releases and similar methods. This can enable organisations to learn from others' experience and good practice. Can be done orally by public forum or can be in written form. It is the process of communicating information to specific audiences for the purpose of extending knowledge and, in some cases, with a view to modifying policies and practices.

Implementation - this involves processes where the results from a programme and projects are put into practice in terms of developing policy and outcomes.

Good Practice in this context is anything that you regard as working highly effectively and worthy of replication in other countries. i.e, an example of a significant achievement in an aspect of programme management in you country which other funders could learn from.

Evidence based policy and practice - policies and practices that are based wholly or partly on research evidence with the aim of better matching the needs of recipients (in this case older people)
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