Generations and lifecourse
This challenge was particularly concerned with understanding trends in demographics, family structure, intergenerational relationships and aging 2025 and beyond, the role that developments in science and technology may play in these processes and the implications of any emerging trends for education.
The challenge was led by Dr Sarah Harper (Director, Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford). Some of the areas covered by this research challenge are listed below. Outcomes are available in the evidence section.
Social / economic / political trends
What are the key trends in terms of the balance of age groups in the UK, and how might this develop by 2025?
What are the trends in distribution of resources across different age groups?
What are the trends in the development of intergenerational relationships?
How might parenting and family make up change in the years to 2025?
How will individuals manage a changed or potentially extended lifecourse – in terms of family, workplace, leisure experiences?
What are the implications of changed demographics for the labour market?
What are the implications of changed demographics for the organisation and goals of education?
What are the counter-narratives and edge cases to the dominant trends – and what would bring these to dominance?
What are the implications for children and childhood of changing demographics and changing allocation of resources?
Scientific and technological trends
How might biomedicine influence both fertility and longevity and hence impact on the above trends?
What are the key trends in orientation of different generations to participation in digital cultures?
And what counter-examples or contradictions to this are in evidence?
How might developments in brain science help us to understand aging?
What are the key trends in use of technologies in intergenerational relationships?
How might changing demographics impact on the design of digital or other technologies?
What trends are emerging in how parents and children negotiate and manage risk?
How are diverse technologies mobilised to produce generational markers of difference?
How might these different trends and tensions interact to create diverse potential futures? And what are the factors that might contribute to these different futures coming to pass?
Education, technology and society
What will be the age profile and family contexts of learners in the period 2025-2050?
How might existing educational structures and practices be challenged by changing demographic structures?
How might digital or other technologies facilitate or enhance educational responses to demographic change?
What home/school and parent/child/teacher relationships might develop in these contexts?
What new forms of education (for example, education for lifestyle) might become desirable in the context of changing lifecourse?
What role might brain science play in developing educational responses to changing demographics?
What evidence is there of interventions that already provide insight into potential responses to these issues?
How might different age groups contribute to education differently?
What structures will be required to support learning for changed demographics?