The Smart Ageing International Research Center (SAIRC) was founded on October 1st 2009. This center proposes the creation of a new field of science to produce well-rounded personnel who have gained “totally comprehensive intelligence” from their experiences, in order to aid society in coping with the various problems associated with a diverse and complex super-aging society. To this end, the Center will promote interdisciplinary cooperative research, international collaborative research projects, and research collaborations with industry, as well as disseminate and facilitate exchange of information by holding international conferences and symposia.

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Super-aging society

The percentage of elderly people in Japan age 65 years or over (aging ratio) was 22.0% in 2008, an unprecedented ratio making Japan the world’s first  super-aging society. In the 2020s, it is estimated that the aging population percentage will exceed 30%, urgently necessitating the formulation of specific countermeasures against a super-aging society.  It is obvious that without intelligent personnel willing and capable of concentrating their ability dealing with aging-related problems, a prescription for accommodating growth in the super-aging society cannot be developed.  At present industry, government and academia around the world are not prepared to cultivate human resources that can address the needs of the unprecedented super-aging population. Our center is a step toward addressing and more importantly meeting those needs.  With the shared objective of creating a “smart aging” research field that will help individuals and society age and mature intellectually, the center will gather researchers who have been conducting state-of-the-art aging-related research in the fields of natural science, humanities, and sociology to establish an interdisciplinary and integrated educational research system, and cultivate human resources capable of comprehensively coping with the problems super-aging societies face.

super-aging society

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Smart Aging

The concept of smart aging proposed by the Center advocates a positive acceptance of the later stages in life and a perspective that sees aging as a series of “developmental stages toward intellectually maturity". Smart aging is a revolutionary paradigm shift away from negative concepts, such as anti-aging, that imply an unwillingness to accept or face the later stages of life. As the center’s grows, its achievements will see the realization of an “intellectually connected society” in which the increasing enrichment of life that accompanies aging will be clear to all (elderly people’s energy) and in which people from all age brackets will be connected and able to support each other, regardless of age or sex, through intellectual curiosity (the sharing of wisdom among generations).

Several research institutions in Japan and overseas are carrying out research on aging from the perspectives of medicine, epidemiology, sociology, and psychology; however, there are no institutions carrying out research or conducting education on integrated aging from the viewpoint of medicine,, focusing on a person’s entire lifetime from birth to death.  The only institute affiliated with a national university which is specializing in the medical science of aging is Tohoku University’s Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, which has recently established The Smart Ageing International Research Center with the aim of promoting international cooperative research on smart aging so that individuals can cope more effectively with the changes brought on by aging and can, within society, mature intellectually.

smart ageing

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The Center consists of two divisions: “the Division of Research and Development” and “the Division of Strategic Planning.”
In the former division, technology to support the development of sound brain functions and to prevent aging will be developed and disseminated through collaboration with industry and international interdisciplinary cooperative research.  In the latter division, we will promote collaboration with overseas advanced research institutions and companies studying geriatrics through liaison activities, and develop social work programs, such as smart aging education which provide opportunities for senior citizens with an enthusiasm for learning to serve as educational supporters for young scientists.

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“Three-Inter” activities

The Center will promote Inter-disciplinary cooperative research, Inter-national collaborative research projects, and Inter-generational exchanges.
The Center proposes a very unique interdisciplinary research plan aimed at creating an area of integrated research unparalleled in the world on the science of aging with the beneficial involvement of researchers in neuroscience, gerontology, medicine, medical engineering, bioscience, cognitive psychology, sociology, and philosophy.
Experts from various industries with rich practical experience on the international stage will be invited as special-appointment professors,. The center will thus actively collaborate with research institutes abroad and with private enterprises to support young researchers’ career paths and to positively promote the application of the center’s research for the benefit of society.
The center‘s founders are is very apprehensive as to whether young researchers who have had little no opportunity to meet elderly people and have had no experience living in an aging society with a falling birthrate can, indeed, cope with the super-aging society.  Seniors are seen as “social resources” and “targets in education,” at the center, and to foster the growth of educated seniors who are highly motivated to study, the center will provide education to them directly.  At the same time, the center will promote active intergenerational exchanges between young researchers and the seniors participating in the Center, thereby forming an intellectually connected social model extending beyond generations.


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