a. Preface

The book Active Aging and Healthy Living: a human centered approach in research and innovation as a source of quality of life fulfils, above all, a twofold purpose.

First, setting out in systematic manner the results of some among the numerous research projects that the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan has launched and supported in recent years, also with autonomous financing – fact that is not common within the national scenario. All these projects deal with topics which are considered strategic for the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and are carried out in an interdisciplinary perspective.

Second, proposing visions matured on the basis of research developed thus far and that constitute fruitful experiences on which the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore will centre its research in the near future.

In this sense, aside from its specific contents, the book intends to be a significant demonstration of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore’s commitment to interpret in original and proactive way its nature as a ‘research university’; a commitment which, besides relying on a solid basis of non-material and material resources for research activity, consists in pursuit of essential values and methodologies which find a first and fundamental starting point in the high scientific profile of research projects and their participants.

On these basis, a close attention to the social and human relevance of the topics on the research agenda, the conduct of multidisciplinary research (in response to the multidimensional complexity of the problems brought to the attention of scientific research) and, finally, a propensity to network with ‘social worlds’ (politics, industry, third sector, public opinion) engaged in the co-management of the research results, are integrated.

The topic of active ageing and quality of life (Active Ageing and Healthy Living - AA&HL) concerns people development, as both individuals and group members, and, for this reason interlaces and crosses a plurality of disciplinary fields; thus, this topic lends itself well to verification of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore’s scientific positioning in recent years as concerning its various and rich expressions and commitment in the social and human science, life science and mathematical and physical sciences: disciplines that are featured by heterogeneous knowledge and methods which are called to join a shared research field.

Moreover, this is a topic central to the mainstream of European research, that is leading the construction of its scientific agenda. Consider, for instance, the close attention paid to the AA&HL topic within the Horizon 2020 research programme, as well as the emergence of the Knowledge Innovation Communities (KIC) now organizing themselves around this topic whose implications on anthropological and cultural levels are now crucial and more and more relevant for the next future.

The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, deeply involved and active in the main academic European scenarios, thus equipped itself in the aim to contribute to the collection and analysis of scientifically validated data which may be useful for the management of the future scenarios.

Moreover, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore aims at further improving its capacity to generate proposals that may concurrently contribute to the scientific knowledge advancement and be useful to orient policy and institutional decision makers. To conclude, the aim of increasing the quantity and quality of life by fostering people’s active engagement in healthcare practices constitutes a ‘value choice’ at both the scientific and social levels; a choice long taken by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and which today is confirmed for the future.




Franco Anelli


Rector of the                                    “Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore” (http://www.ucscinternational.it/)