Predicting the shape of our future populations is vital for installing the infrastructure, welfare, and provisions necessary for society to survive. There are many opportunities and challenges that will come with the changes in our populations over the 21st century. We must plan for the following challenges, the impact of climate change and urbanisation, and the difficulty of feeding 10 billion people, and consider ways in which we can prepare for, and mitigate against, these challenges.
Professor Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute for Population Ageing, will explain how population change will transform the world and looks at what we can do to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
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About the speaker
Professor Sarah Harper is the Co-Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, which she founded in 1997, and Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford. Between 2014 and 2017 Sarah served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, which advises the Prime Minister on the scientific evidence for strategic policies and frameworks. In 2017 she was appointed Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and as a Director and Trustee of the UK Research Integrity Office. She chaired the UK government’s Foresight Review on Ageing Populations, (2014-2016) and has chaired the European Ageing Index Panel for the UNECE Population Unit since 2015. She is a Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute. Sarah was the first holder of the International Chair in Old Age Financial Security, at the University of Malaya (2009-10) and her research was recognised by the 2011 Royal Society for Public Health: Arts and Health Research Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropology Institute and of the Royal Society of Arts.
Sarah has a background in anthropology and population studies and her early research focused on migration and the social implications of demographic change. Her current research on demographic change addresses the impact of falling fertility and increasing life expectancy, with a particular interest in Asia and Africa. Recent research has focused on women’s education and empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of this on desired family size, older women's health in Africa, and European life course trajectories and late life female health. She currently directs two research projects looking at the ageing of farmers in Vietnam and Myanmar. Sarah has just completed a monograph How Population Change will Transform our World (Oxford University Press 2016), and is working on her next book for Cambridge University Press on Population, Technology and Environmental Change. Sarah is the founding editor of the Journal of Population Ageing and editor of the Handbook of Ageing and Public Policy (Elgar 2014).