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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Delegates hail Edinburgh longevity and mortality conference as a success

A multi-disciplinary conference on mortality and longevity held at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh on 21-22 October was hailed a success by the delegates, with the organising committee’s ambitions for the event fully realised. The conference brought together leading academics, researchers and practitioners in actuarial and medical science to consider, debate and share knowledge about longevity and mortality. The event aimed to be a platform for the disciplines to join forces in tackling this significant issue through a diverse and stimulating programme.

The conference had three work streams: drivers for change, cohorts and individualised risk, and addressed a number of wide-ranging topics, including:
>> Genetic predispositions for a healthy long life
>> Are we ageing better at the highest ages?
>> Lifetime body size and mortality risk
>> The impact of lifestyle on longevity.

As well as plenary and breakout sessions, an academic poster competition showcased new research. The competition was won by Heather Booth (Australian National University) and Rob Hyndman (Monash University, Australia) who presented on mortality forecasting: methods and software. The runners-up were Viani Biatat and Iain Currie (Heriot-Watt University) whose poster was on joint modelling and forecasting of mortality tables.

The conference is the starting point in a process of collaborative work which aims to empower and enable all the disciplines involved. The organising committee will be considering the future steps over the next month, including improved methods of sharing information, how to facilitate multi-disciplinary research projects, the direction of future research and future events. A special edition of the British Actuarial Journal devoted to the conference proceedings is planned for 2010. If you would like to contribute to the debate, please contact ruth.loseby@actuaries.org.uk