NICOLA is Northern Ireland's long-term study of ageing in the over 50’s.

We will invite 8500 men and women aged 50 years and above to join the study. Those who are invited to take part will be randomly selected from all over 50’s living in the community and will be representative of the population as a whole.

NICOLA will closely follow the comprehensive approaches taken by ELSA (England) and TILDA (ROI) and other ageing studies, but in addition NICOLA has a special focus on intergenerational poverty, transition points in ageing and the effects of diet on the ageing process. The study will also include questions of unique relevance to the Northern Ireland situation.

Study participants will be invited for interview every 2 years and for a health assessment every 4 years. They will be followed-up for a period of at least 10 years.

The interview will capture information on health and social care utilisation, health behaviours, medication, mental, physical and cognitive health, employment, finances, retirement, social connectedness, social participation, driving and travel, housing, consumption and expectations.

The health assessment will include a review of cardiovascular, cognitive and respiratory function; physical activity, visual health and body composition. Participants will also be asked to provide biological samples for detailed laboratory analysis, including genetic analysis.

NICOLA will seek permission to access records on existing databases to provide as comprehensive and robust data linkage as possible.

What research disciplines are involved?

Medical and health sciences
Economics and management
Social sciences

What impact will NICOLA have?

NICOLA will have multiple impacts on health and social care policy and other aspects of policy relevant to ageing;

-  It will address issues related to social inclusion by giving the over 50s population a voice

-  It will capture and describe the attitudes and expectations of this population, influencing the creation of
   policies which affect them

-  It will place Northern Ireland within a network of existing longitudinal ageing studies

-  It will facilitate integration of research excellence across disciplines in Queen’s University Belfast and
   collaboration with international researchers.