2014 News

Next Age Institute launches

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have established the Next Age Institute, an international partnership to study, design and test social innovations. 

The Next Age Institute (NAI), a program of WUSTL’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy, will address global challenges facing many families and communities, among them aging populations and rising inequality.

“Next Age Institute is an opportunity to learn from each other, compare and test promising innovations in retirement security, health, housing, integration in housing and communities, and other important areas of social policy and practice,” said Michael Sherraden, director of NAI at WUSTL. This year, Sherraden was named the inaugural S. R. Nathan Professor at NUS, honoring the recently retired president of Singapore. He is the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and founding director of the Center for Social Development (CSD) at WUSTL.

NAI leaders envision a comprehensive body of applied scholarship while expanding university connections internationally. NAI will seed support for research by NUS and WUSTL faculty and graduate students.

The faculty at NUS and WUSTL will launch NAI conferences and research projects, with a focus on social innovation and social policy in the 21st Century. Ngee-Choon Chia and Corinne Ghoh, both NAI co-directors on the faculty of Arts and Social Science, NUS, said the close collaboration between WUSTL and NUS provides opportunities to build knowledge, compare strategies and inform policy innovations in Asia and the West. “Through NAI, we hope to foster closer inter-university connections, especially in the Asia region,” Chia said.

The Lee Foundation, in Singapore, gave a matching gift of $370,000 to NAI this spring, with NUS and WUSTL as collaborators matching the gift.

Sherraden will be joined on the WUSTL NAI Steering Committee by Nancy Morrow-Howell, the Bettie Boefinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy and director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center on Aging, and Peggie R. Smith, vice dean for Academic Affairs and Charles F. Nagel Professor of Employment and Labor Law.

NAI already has begun planning international meetings. In February 2015, a workshop focusing on “Aging in the Community” is scheduled at NUS. A major conference will follow, looking at larger policies for lifelong security, health care and housing.

Next month, on Oct. 19, Sherraden, Chia and Ghoh are scheduled to speak at about NAI at McDonnell’s 5th Annual International Symposium: “The Role of Research Universities in Addressing Global Challenges.”

Meanwhile, international interest in asset-building policies, particularly regarding aging populations, already has led to a new book “Asset Building Innovations in Asia,” available in Chinese and forthcoming in English in December.

The book was spurred by a 2012 conference in Beijing, “Lifelong Asset Building: Strategies and Innovations in Asia.” The conference was organized by WUSTL, Peking University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, with support from NUS’s Centre for Social Development (Asia), which was established eight years ago as a sister to CSD at WUSTL.

For more information, please contact:

Michael Sherraden
Director, NAI at WUSTL
Director, Center for Social Development
George Warren Brown School of Social Work
Washington University in St. Louis