Aging is a recognized global societal issue. It is expected that between now and 2050, every Nation in the world will see a substantial increase in their number of citizens older than 60. Furthermore, there will be more than a dozen super-aged societies in 2020, where more than one in five of the population is 65 years or older. The U.S. and Japan, specifically, are experiencing dramatic population aging and share several similarities. This planning grant will bring together experts bridging disciplines and countries to explore research and development of effective strategies to address healthy aging. Specifically, to achieve the ambitious goals of NSF?s Smart and Connected Communities and Japan?s Society 5.0 and Sustainable Development initiatives and to meet the growing societal expectations, there is a need to realize trustworthy, reliable, safe, secure, and effective smart and connected technologies to empower older adults in all aspects of life. Despite ongoing efforts, there remains a significant digital gap in adoption and user acceptability of assistive technologies among older adult communities. Furthermore, cross-cultural and socio-economic factors play a significant role in achieving scalability.
This JST:SCC-PG proposal assembled a convergent, multi-disciplinary team of researchers from four institutions across two Nations, UMBC and Northeastern University from the U.S. and Kyushu University and Keio University from Japan. The research expertise within the team covers relevant disciplines including gerontology, sociology, health sciences, decision science for sustainable society, information systems, cybersecurity, cyber-physical systems, robotics, and computer science. Built upon international consensus, the team will realize innovation far more effectively than any single-nation research team. The team collectively has comprehensive expertise in not just the research areas, but has facilities, best practices, cyber-infrastructure (e.g., cloud-computing and big data servers), and hardware and software design expertise. This JST: S&CC-PG will focus on team-building, user-centered design ideation, and community participation activities to develop a tight and sustainable collaboration among U.S. and Japan researchers to realize new digital solutions based on Internet of Things, Information and Communication Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Trust Services, Security, and Assistive robotics in support of super-aging societies and to educate a new cadre of scientists, engineers, technologists, and entrepreneurs cognizant of global societal challenges. The goal of this Planning Grant is to develop an Integrative Research Grant proposal to NSF and JST, applying these key technologies to create Smart and Connected Communities that address the key challenges of super-aging societies.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.