2017 was a year of significant change and major accomplishments for the AgeLab: the release of a new book, a remodeling of lab headquarters, the stewardship of many graduate students, a bevy of academic publications, and more.
Joseph F. Coughlin’s new book, The Longevity Economy, was published in November. A culmination of years of research, it is a #1 New Release on Amazon and the #1 bestseller on CEOReads. To celebrate the book’s publication, the AgeLab held a members’ symposium on November 13 to discuss some of the book’s themes and engage sponsors around the questions, opportunities and challenges related to the aging population.
The AgeLab hosted Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as he announced the creation of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, with Dr. Coughlin being named a member of the Council.
The AgeLab was named a member of a five-year Toyota research partnership called CSRC Next, which focuses on advanced vehicle technologies. Additionally, the AgeLab and Monotype co-founded the Clear IP Research Consortium, which studies typography and visual design.
More than twenty-five papers and presentations were published in 2017 across a variety of disciplines. Drs. Bobbie Seppelt and Ben Sawyer and former AgeLab staff member Jonathan Dobres, PhD, received awards for their research. AgeLab researchers wrote and were interviewed for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, NPR, USA Today, Time, Forbes, MIT News, The Atlantic, Slate, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times, among others.
Marika Psyhojos, an MIT student who conducted her thesis work under the AgeLab, graduated with a master's degree in Technology and Public Policy. Additionally, five exchange students from the University of Munich (Karola Klarl, Julia Kindelsberger, Felix Bergmann, Benedikt Jenik, and Felix Jankowski) received Masters degrees in engineering fields.
Three Massachusetts high school students (Caroline Collins-Pisano, Ella Houlihan, and Anna Neumann) were awarded OMEGA college scholarships in July 2017. OMEGA is an AgeLab initiative meant to foster multigenerational connections between high school students and older adults in their communities. These students were recognized for their work in their high schools with student organizations that link high school students with older adults. A few months later over fifty high school students attended the 2017 fall OMEGA Summit, doubling participation over the prior year. Applications for the 2017-2018 OMEGA Scholarship are now open.
Five Lifestyle Leaders sessions, led by PhD candidate Julie Miller, brought local residents aged 85 and older to the MIT AgeLab to address topics related to the experiences of the “oldest old” – the fastest growing age-segment of the U.S. population.
The AgeLab moved temporarily to 1 Main Street in Cambridge on January 1, 2017. On January 3, 2018, AgeLab staff returned to a fully renovated space at 1 Amherst Street in Cambridge. The panoramic views from our temporary quarters of Boston and the Charles River will be missed, but it is good to be home.
Meanwhile, over 3,500,000 people turned 65 in 2017. As the global population continues to age, the AgeLab’s work--multidisciplinary research, thought leadership, education, and community outreach--will become still more important in understanding the challenges and opportunities of an older and more connected world.