Ageing In Transforming World

This summer, the 27th Nordic Congress of Gerontology will take place. The theme this year is “Aeging in a Transforming World,” and the congress will be held from June 12 to 14, arranged by Karolinska Institutet (KI). It has been 20 years since it was last held in Stockholm, and the most recent time it was in Sweden was in 2014 in Gothenburg.

Studio portrait of Carin Lennartsson.

Carin Lennartsson, at ARC, is chairman of NKG2024. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.

The event is expected to be significant, with over 700 registered participants. HM Queen Silvia will inaugurate the event, and the president of KI will also be present. Carin Lennartsson serves as the chairperson for the congress. She is genuinely looking forward to the event, hoping that it will promote greater understanding and knowledge about aging. As the older population grows in our society, understanding aging becomes increasingly important.

While the congress primarily attracts participants from the Nordic countries, it has gained international interest from various parts of the world since the start in 1973.

Want to put KI on the map for aging research

The Swedish Gerontological Society (Sveriges Gerontologiska Sällskap) contacted Carin Lennartsson and asked if she would organize this conference-an invitation she gladly accepted.

“I want to put KI on the map for aging research,” says Carin. “And for us at ARC (Aging Research Center), it’s very exciting to host this event.”

Simultaneously, she aims to highlight aging research not only at KI but also within the Stockholm Trio.

“The administrative and practical aspects are managed by Isabelle von Saenger (Congress Coordinator), Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga (Secretary-General), and myself as the chairperson-all three from ARC. We also collaborate with Academic Conferences and have received excellent support from them.”

Additionally, representatives from the Swedish Gerontological Society (Sveriges Gerontologiska Sällskap) and the Swedish Geriatric Association (Svensk Geriatrisk Förening) are part of the congress organizing committee.

The theme was chosen by themselves: ‘Ageing in a transforming world.’

“We’ve recently experienced a pandemic, ongoing wars in various parts of the world, and the undeniable impact of climate change,” says Carin. “There’s so much change happening in Sweden and globally right now, and much that can be perceived as frightening and unsettling. How are older individuals affected in such a dynamic environment? That’s something we wanted to highlight. Two of our keynote speakers are particularly focused on this theme.”

Carin, who besides being a lecturer and associate professor at the Division of ARC, is also the deputy head of division and director of the ARC research center jointly operated with Stockholm University, continues:

“I dare not estimate the number of hours I’ve dedicated to this congress so far. However, my smartest move was hiring my doctoral student, Isabelle von Saenger, at 20% to handle the preparations. With her previous experience as a business owner, she brings both expertise and excellent organizational skills to the table. She maintains contact with Academic Conferences and manages everything confidently. Much appreciation to her.’

Multidisciplinary event

Compared to the congress in Odense two years ago, which took place post-pandemic, the number of abstracts has more than doubled. Last fall, they received over 100 abstracts for the symposium alone.

“It has been a pleasant task to sift through them,” says Carin. “Currently, we are finalizing the program and sending out information to all participants”.

The multidisciplinary event features an extensive and diverse program covering cognition, physics, medicine, and health care related to aging. Five keynote speakers have been invited. Additionally, there will be symposia, oral presentations, poster exhibitions, and several spotlight sessions designed for creative scientific exchange, knowledge dissemination, and dialogue.

“While posters are more common in medicine, we’re also emphasizing them here,” Carin explains. “Various poster tours will be organized based on different themes.”

When asked about what will be particularly exciting about this year’s congress, Carin responds:

“The composition of all colleagues attending and the ongoing trend of increasing international presence. Ideas from colleagues and the intersection of research and society.”

Gerontology Research Center are organizing a Swedish-language session

Stockholm Gerontology Research Center (Stockholms Äldrecentrum) is also involved in the congress. They are organizing a Swedish-language session on the topic “From Practice to Policy: How can data-driven knowledge development and collaborative research contribute to a sustainable welfare sector?” This session will take place from lunchtime until the end of the first day of the congress. The practitioner day will be conducted in Swedish, focusing on research, society, and politics. Among the participants will be Anna Tenje, Minister for Older People and Social Security. Additionally, many individuals outside academia will join the discussions.

Lastly, Carin wants to acknowledge the sponsors. The number of sponsors has increased compared to the previous time, and she is pleased and grateful that they recognize the value of the conference.

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