Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge

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.

The Challenge

The National Academy of Medicine is launching a Global Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity—a worldwide movement to increase physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age. The initiative will have two components: a prize competition to catalyze breakthrough innovations from any field, and an evidence-based report authored by an international commission. The combined objectives of the initiative are to:

  • Catalyze breakthrough ideas and research that will extend the human health span
  • Achieve transformative and scalable innovation by translating evidence into action
  • Provide a comprehensive assessment of the challenges and opportunities presented by global aging
  • Build a broad ecosystem of support

Want to learn more? Hear from some of the leading thinkers in healthy longevity science.

Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Center on Longevity delivers the keynote address at the 2015 NAM Annual Meeting
Innovation in Aging: Victor Dzau, Hal Barron, Joe Coughlin, J. Craig Venter, and Joon Yun


Fundraising for the Healthy Longevity Grand Challenge is ongoing. To learn more about the program or ways to get involved, please contact Elizabeth Finkelman at For media inquiries, contact Dana Korsen at

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