Extended Working Life and its Interaction with Health, Wellbeing and Beyond

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Overview and objectives: 

Joint Programming is a new approach to foster collaboration and coordination in R&D in Europe. It is a member-states driven activity. The Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) "More Years, Better Lives - The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change" seeks to enhance coordination and collaboration between European and national research programmes related to demographic change. Areas affected by demographic change cover a wide range of research fields and policy topics ranging from health to social welfare, education & learning, work & productivity to housing, urban & rural development and mobility. The JPI therefore follows a transnational, multi-disciplinary approach bringing together different research programmes and researchers from various disciplines in order to provide solutions for the upcoming challenges and make use of the potential of societal change in Europe.

The objective of this call is to support innovative and interdisciplinary research into the drivers to, and constraints on, extending working life. Research is expected to cross the traditional boundaries of Government departments and occupational sectors and to examine the implications of extending working life for older workers (50+), new labour markets, health, wellbeing and intergenerational equity.


In this context, this call invites proposals for funding research into one or more of four broad topics:

  • Modern work factors

The nature, organisation and management of work in Europe and Canada have been changing substantially over recent decades. New jobs and ways of working create new risks and opportunities both for individuals and for society at large. Some sectors and occupations are becoming more important, while others are declining. Some work is becoming more secure, while other work is less so.
Flexible working conditions, and new and emerging technologies bring new challenges but also opportunities for older workers. Extending working life is itself likely to produce changes in the way work is organised and managed.

  • Longer working life & Inequality

Extending working life has very different implications for different groups, who may be affected by many factors including health, domestic and caring responsibilities, migrant status, social position and gender. Those who have worked in heavy manual occupations are more likely to suffer health problems, and have lower life expectancy, but are often treated in the same way in policies to extend working life. Research is needed into how different social and occupational groups are impacted by extending working life, and into how individuals cope with the resulting pressures and opportunities, including how these changes affect the experience of retirement itself.

  • Health challenges

Health factors have a major effect on individuals’ ability and aspirations to work longer. Overall, the effect of health is complex; to some individuals good health can be a driver for a long working life while to others it can be a driver of early retirement. Some jobs directly harm health or require physical or mental capabilities which decline with age. On the other hand, in some circumstances staying in work has a positive impact on health and wellbeing. Good work design and appropriate technologies can both contribute to enabling people to remain healthy and continue to work.

  • Caring responsibilities

Whilst researchers have examined the impacts of labour market and welfare state regimes on older workers’ employment trajectories, there has been less attention to the impact of family and household structure and change. Furthermore, expectations of the relative roles of family and state in providing care for children and elders vary greatly across Europe. The consequences of (highly-gendered) caring obligations on retirement behaviour and extended working life requires further study , including attention to the impacts of these caring responsibilities on the whole household and its organisation across the life course, and the impact of current and emerging technologies and integrated service on caring responsibilities.

The call is inviting innovative interdisciplinary research proposals. Proposals seeking to address the substance of this call should be solution-driven and have a potential positive impact on issues relating to the call topics. We welcome quantitative as well as qualitative research proposals from all social sciences, the humanities, engineers, natural scientists and the health research community. The research proposals may cross one or more of the four topics in this call.

Research outputs should be able to inform decision-making (including public, private and communities) and innovation (societal, organisational, institutional and technological), recognising the complexity of the associated decision-making processes and innovation challenges.

Operating period: 
Three years
Catchment areas: 

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Kingdom.

Recipient bodies: 

Public and private scientific, research, technological and innovation institutions; universities; research active industry; NGOs; other institutions involved in research activities as long as they are eligible for funding. Depending on national eligibility criteria, private companies, public institutions and other stakeholders may also participate as partners in the project consortia.

Budget available: 
€7 780 000.00
Plataforma tecnológica cofinanciada por: