Welcome to “Interdisciplinary Gerontology”

“Interdisciplinary Gerontology” (“InGero”)

Research Goals and Tasks for an Aging Society
InGero’s Mission

The research department Interdisciplinary Gerontology (InGero) at the Munich University of Applied Sciences was founded in 2009 by Prof. Pohlmann with the aim of finding answers to pressing questions on the topics of old age and aging. Our work focuses on the socio-political challenges arising from demographic change. As the population ages, unprecedented processes of change – social, health-related, technological, and global – will be set in motion that pose considerable challenges to both young and old. If we are to take advantage of the opportunities presented by greater life expectancy and an older population we must be ready to review existing choices, concepts, and services in targeted research. Despite all efforts there is still a lack of approaches concentrated on expanding existing successful models for elder care and developing sustainable new ones. InGero thus emphasizes the following areas:

1) Improving theory-praxis transfer

The department for research is based at the School of Applied Social Sciences and is funded entirely by third parties. One focus of our work is data collection on behalf of the German federal government, the Länder and municipalities. In addition we carry out joint projects with charitable organisations, foundations, institutions and special-interest groups that are interested in an independent, empirical analysis of current and future approaches in their areas. All these partners are necessary for successful applied research in gerontology. Knowing as we do that the aging of the population will have far-reaching consequences, we make sure to include different fields of activity, geographical regions and professions. This kind of approach based on dialogues enables us to identify and take up important impulses from the sphere of practice – but also better to integrate theoretical insights with practical work.

2) Assuring the Quality of Existing Services

A further focus of InGero is research on elder care. As the market for elder services grows, there is increased interest in being able to compare and evaluate the various choices. Many psychosocial and health-related services are difficult to measure, however, making objective, reliable evaluation problematic not only for customers but also providers. InGero has participated in various projects – involving in-hospital care, out-patient services, and day centres for elderly and handicapped persons, for example – in order to develop specific ways of measuring the effectiveness and quality of particular services and making them understandable to the public. For such projects to succeed there are several prerequisites: an atmosphere of mutual trust, the broadest possible understanding of organisational structures, and a willingness on the part of all parties to learn from the others. Maintaining and even increasing the quality of life for the elderly represents a key point of orientation.

3) Training Qualified Professionals for the Future

Like other research departments, InGero is directly affiliated with a university. Hence we devote particular attention to applying our findings to teaching. While we of course want to provide our students with opportunities to follow current scientific advances and discussions, our research allows us to devise and implement courses of study directly relevant to professional needs. In the framework of the research project BELiA on counselling for the elderly, for example, we were able for the first time to formulate conclusions about qualifications for future professionals, based on quantitative and qualitative studies as well as first-hand observation. As a result the faculty were able to develop a variety of instruction modules at the bachelor and master’s level.

4) Developing Tailor-Made Options

In addition to describing and optimizing service options, one of InGero’s goals is to establish support structures that are either lacking at present or insufficient. One key component here is the expansion of services that help to prevent illness and accidents and promote healthy living. In one research project InGero is investigating existing programs and models and exploring the potential for expanding support services. In our PrimA (Prävention im Alter) project, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research, we are looking not only at avoiding illness and preserving health in old age but also at ways to enhance the dignity of aging persons, involve them more in questions of their own health and increase their possibilities for making decisions. The goal is to identify various forms of stress and their causes early on in order to avoid crises and improve means for dealing with it.

5) Improving Communication Efforts

The topic of aging has been prominent in public debate for a long time. Nevertheless there are still a number of blind spots, prejudices and misunderstandings that need to be overcome. InGero participates in efforts to raise awareness of these problems in industry, politics, the media and other areas with scientifically substantiated arguments and information. Increasing awareness of unpopular topics, providing advice on socio-political questions and learning from the experience of other countries thus number among our essential tasks. This includes participating in panels, advisory boards, and commissions of experts as well as scholarly meetings and congresses. Both old and young should derive equal benefit from the resulting measures and recommendations.

Forward to research project BELiA

Forward to research project PrimA


Prof. Dr. Stefan Pohlmann
Room: KO 235

Tel.: 089 1265-2300
Fax: 089 1265-2330

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Dr. Christian Leopold
Room: KO 347

Tel.: 089 1265-3101
Fax: 089 1265-2330

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Tobias Sollfrank
Room: KO 347

Tel.: 089 1265-3102
Fax: 089 1265-2330

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