MAJOR RESEARCH INITIATIVES
In late 2017, MIRA and the LCMA launched a process to support interdisciplinary teams who are working towards understanding, development and evaluation of critical issues in aging and mobility through two major research projects. The two broad fields identified as central themes were Exercise, Nutrition and Mobility in Aging and Technology, Environment and Mobility in Aging. The purpose of each of these working groups is to develop world-class research programs with a direct impact on the lives of older adults and their caregivers, while securing McMaster’s reputation as a global leader in aging research. Since this research is meant to involve and benefit the end user, the principles of design thinking have been embedded in the process of developing and evaluating the proposals.
Developing Interdisciplinary Programs of Research
In order to launch these research projects, a call for participation was distributed to all MIRA members, and shared with other McMaster researchers with interests in aging. Over 80 researchers participated in initial meetings facilitated by design thinking experts, where participants were encouraged to think outside of their own disciplines and placed within a context of opportunity, need, and possibility. Researchers were asked: “What are the great challenges in this area of research?” and “How could the skills and assets within MIRA be leveraged to address these challenges?” These early sessions set the stage for a series of MIRA-facilitated meetings, workshops, and stakeholder consultations, where researchers began to develop plans for a program of research in each stream. These proposals, entitled The EMBOLDEN trial: Enhancing physical and community MoBility in OLDEr adults with health inequities using commuNity co-design and McMaster Monitoring My Mobility (MacM3), are in the process of being evaluated and iteratively developed based on feedback from external reviewers, MIRA leadership and the ISAC.
Exploration grants offer the opportunity to conduct collaborative, interdisciplinary research focused on mobility in aging. These grants are intended to stimulate new collaborations and allow researchers to collect preliminary data to support future proposals for full-scale studies.
There are two types of exploration grants, each requiring the participation of researchers from multiple disciplines:
- Planning Grants to explore and establish new cross-Faculty partnerships with the goal of generating research questions that integrate the perspectives of multiple disciplines.
- Catalyst Grants to conduct feasibility/pilot studies or scaling of interventions for groups that have already established cross-Faculty partnerships.