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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Call for research in mortality/longevity/morbidity

Actuaries have been active in the study of mortality since the earliest days of the profession and it remains an area where we can contribute to the quality of public debate and lead in the development of new thinking.

The ageing population and increasing longevity are welcome evidence of social and health improvements in our society but raise new issues that are of concern to us all. This continues to be an area where the Actuarial Profession can act in the public interest by working with other disciplines, for example in the medical, social sciences and demographic fields. Combining the expertise of actuaries with that from other disciplines will substantially improve our ability to understand mortality and morbidity risk. In 2010, the Profession wishes to move the debate forward by funding external interdisciplinary research in this area up to a total £100,000.

In 2006 the Actuarial Profession recognised that collaboration with other disciplines offered an opportunity to better understand past, present and future mortality trends and it set up a multidisciplinary Mortality Research Steering Group. An initial scoping study was followed by events which culminated in the successful Joining Forces conference on mortality and longevity held at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 21-22 October 2009.

The Management Board of the Actuarial Profession now wishes to commission research in the area of modelling and understanding heterogeneity in mortality and morbidity risk which has an impact in areas of actuarial interest. The focus of the call will be on pump-priming interdisciplinary university-based research in the area of mortality/longevity/morbidity with a clear line to how the results will be fed back to the Profession and/or lead to groundbreaking research.

The Profession would welcome proposals in any of the following areas:
1. The three themes underpinning the Joining Forces conference:

>> Understanding the drivers for change in mortality and longevity
>> How will successive cohorts differ?
>> How far can the approach to drilling down to individualised risk help in exploring the connections between populations and individuals?

2. Areas with immediate practical impact such as the development of mortality/ morbidity models, analysis of alternative datasets, and modelling and/or projecting different populations.

3. The public interest, including where the research into mortality or morbidity will help move forward the current debates on subjects such as long-term care/the retirement age/healthy ageing, and the impact of mortality on the economics of pensions, public spending and education.

The full application process is set out on the Research pages of the Profession’s website at www.actuaries.org.uk/knowledge/research.

Contact research manager Ruth Loseby ruth.loseby@actuaries.org.uk if you need any clarification or for an informal chat. Please note that the closing date for detailed proposals is 17.00 BST on 31 August 2010.