Dramatic breakthroughs in medicine, public health, and social and economic development have resulted in unprecedented extensions of the human lifespan across the world over the past century. This triumph for humanity provides new opportunities as well as new challenges. Globally, we are facing a major demographic shift. Today, 8.5% of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. By 2050, this percentage is projected to more than double, reaching 1.6 billion. The global population of the “oldest old”—people aged 80 and older—is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126 million to 447 million.
At the current pace, population aging is poised to impose a significant strain on economies, health systems, and social structures worldwide. But it doesn’t have to. We can envision, just on the horizon, an explosion of potential new medicines, treatments, technologies, and preventive and social strategies that could help transform the way we age and ensure better health, function, and productivity during a period of extended longevity. Multidisciplinary solutions are urgently needed to maximize the number of years lived in good health and a state of well-being. Now is the time to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity, so that all of us can benefit from the tremendous opportunities it has to offer.
About the Global Grand Challenge
The Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge, founded by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, is a worldwide movement to improve physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age. The initiative aims to 1) comprehensively address the challenges and opportunities presented by global population aging; 2) catalyze breakthrough ideas and research that will extend the human healthspan; 3) generate transformative and scalable innovations worldwide; 4) and build a broad ecosystem of support by enabling scientists, engineers, innovators, entrepreneurs, health leaders, policy makers, and the public to work together to achieve the promise of healthy longevity.
The Global Grand Challenge has two parts:
The Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity will assemble an independent International Commission to author an evidence-based report with recommendations for societies worldwide to foster healthy longevity by through strategies related to the social and behavioral enablers of health, health care and public health systems, and science and technology. The Commission’s work will be informed by three public workshops. The Commission’s final report was released in June 2022. Learn more >>
The Healthy Longevity Global Competition is a multiyear, multi-million-dollar international competition that will accelerate breakthroughs in healthy longevity through a series of monetary awards and prizes. The competition is open to innovators of any background, including science, medicine, public health, technology, entrepreneurship, public policy, social engineering, and beyond. The competition launched in October 2019. Learn more >>