Ageing Innovation Showcase: The Role of Business in an Ageing Society

WIG’s Ageing Innovation Showcase will be focusing on the Industrial Strategy’s “ageing society” Grand Challenge and assessing the role that industry can play. Ageing populations will create new demands for technologies, products and services, including new care technologies, new housing models and innovative savings products for retirement and so the aim of the Industrial Strategy is to create an economy which works for everyone, regardless of age.

Speakers on the day will discuss:

  • The opportunities and challenges that an ageing society poses to business
  • Access to international markets post-Brexit
  • Finance, housing and consumer goods

Panel 1: Government and Not-for-Profit Perspective on the Role of Business in an Ageing Society

  • Get an overview of how the Industrial Strategy presents the Ageing Grand Challenge
  • Learn more about the domestic and international opportunities that exist around ageing innovation

CHAIR: Lynne Corner, National Innovation Centre for Ageing


  • George MacGinnis, Challenge Director, Healthy Ageing, Innovate UK
  • Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better
  • Patrick Bonnett, Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing 
  • Linda Magee, NHS Investment Specialist, Life Sciences Organisation, DIT 


Panel 2: The Private Sector Perspective: Role of Business in an Ageing Society

  • Discover how different businesses perceive the potential opportunities and challenges that exist within the space
  • Learn more about the R+D that is going on within the ageing space
  • Find out more about the international opportunities

CHAIR: Lynne Corner, National Innovation Centre for Ageing


  • The role of tech- opportunities and challenges, market potential: Katherine Eland, Healthcare and Life Sciences Client Executive, IBM UKI
  • How Sainsburys views the Ageing grand challenge, the importance of food/retail: Nilani Sritharan, Nutritionist, Sainsburys  
  • SME Viewpoint, Kitchen Design for 4 generations: Johnny Grey, Kitchen Designer, Johnny Grey Limited
  • The financial services perspective: John Godfrey, Corporate Affairs Director, Legal & General


Download the agenda here


About the speakers:

Nilani Sritharan has a degree in Nutrition from the University of Surrey and an Executive Certificate in International Advocacy from the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

Nilani spent several years working in research communication and health policy roles (Dairy Council, Medical Research Council, Weight Concern, Unilever Research and Development Institute in Vlaardingen, The Netherlands), before moving into the food industry, where she has spent the last 15y.

Since 2008, she has worked for Nestle and their joint venture Cereal Partners Worldwide in the UK, Asia-Oceania and Switzerland. During her tenure, Nilani led a business strategy to reformulate breakfast cereals (>45 products) to increase their fibre and wholegrain content whilst reducing sodium and sugar, so that the entire range qualified for the Australian Heart Foundation’s healthier choice logo. She also led research projects aimed at understanding the impact of breakfast cereals on children’s nutrient intakes, the impact of grain processing on blood glucose effects and to evaluate the benefits of oat beta-glucan on different population sub-groups.

She joined Sainsbury’s in 2018 as the Company Nutritionist and is currently leading a series of projects to help customers Live Well for Less. Nilani is co-chair of the food working group for the Consumer Goods Forum UK Collaboration for Healthier Lives and represents Sainsbury’s on various committees including the British Retail Consortium.


Patrick Bonnett is Develoment Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University. He has worked widely across the applied research and innovation arenas for the past 33 years in organisations ranging from small technology start-ups to internationally recognised translational research laboratories.

His experience encompasses planning and opening new businesses and government agencies, overseeing the design, establishment and management of innovation centres and Science Parks, developing international alliances of innovation organisations and innovation places and delivering economic growth via innovation.

Over recent years he has developed a particular interest in deep collaboration co-location models where innovation and research assets sit alongside 'users' of such expertise to drive open innovation, commercialisation and economic growth.

Patrick is Vice Chairman of the UK Science Park Association, a Board member of the UK Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations (Airto) and a member of the Satellite Applications Catapult Advisory Board. He also acts as an Advisor to Government on the Ageing Grand Challenge - one of the four Grand Challenges within the UK Industrial Strategy.


George MacGinnis, Challenge Director, Healthy Ageing, UK Research and Innovation

George MacGinnis leads the £98 million research and innovation programme supporting the UK Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge to ensure that people can enjoy at least 5 extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.

He has a varied background in health and care innovation including recent work on the future capacity needs for a reformed health and social care system in the Republic of Ireland, a review of the impact on the NHS of Small Business Research Initiative in Healthcare, a landscape review of the MedTech sector for the Academic Health Science Networks and leading the user group for a global industry alliance to enable a consumer-friendly market for digital wellness and health products and services through standards and accreditation.

Anna Dixon, CEO, Centre for Ageing Better has more than 15 years’ experience of working at the interface of research, policy and practice. She has a successful track record of working at the highest levels of government to bring about positive change. Throughout her career she has been committed to ensuring the voice and needs of the citizen are at the heart of her work. 

Anna joined Ageing Better in September 2015 and has taken it from start-up to become an established organisation.  

Prior to joining Ageing Better, Anna was Director of Strategy and Chief Analyst at the Department of Health from 2013-2015. She has also held positions at The King’s Fund, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Department of Health and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. 

In 2005-6 she was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy by the Commonwealth Fund of New York. She has a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Johnny Grey, Kitchen Designer, Johnny Grey Limited: trained at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, Johnny founded the studio in 1976 after graduating. As a student he previously ran a furniture workshop. The author of four books on kitchen design he is now Visiting Professor of Design and Kitchen Culture at Buckinghamshire New University, UK.


Unfortunately this event is now closed for booking.