This project aims to achieve a better understanding of ageing by identifying patterns of healthy ageing pathways or trajectories and their determinants, the critical points in time when changes in trajectories are produced, and to propose timely clinical and public health interventions.

Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 funding scheme, this five-year project coordinated by Dr Josep Maria Haro at the Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu (PSSJD) consists of 14 partners from 11 European countries and involves experts from the areas of demography, sociology, clinical medicine, epidemiology and public health, health statistics, economics, data management, and policy.

Sergei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson are one part of the IIASA partners in this project. Their research on new definitions of ageing based on many characteristics rather than just the classical chronological definition of age that was developed in recent years will be used for calculating projections in each specific population and guide policy recommendations.

To do so, the Consortium will create a harmonized dataset with over 341,000 individuals collated from existing longitudinal studies of ageing and including information on physical and mental health, biomarkers, life style habits, social environment and participation, among others. A single metric of healthy ageing using Item Response Theory (IRT) methods with individual items from the surveys will be used. Diverse statistical methods will be employed to define the trajectories (Generalised Estimating Equations, Structural Equation Modelling, Growth Curve Mixture Modelling, the TRAJ method and classification algorithms). Age Period Cohort will be used in the analysis to understand age cohort effects. Specific interventions both at the clinical and population level will be designed based on project’s results and will be disseminated.

Additionally, the impact of those interventions on healthy ageing will be assessed with the micro-simulation method.This is the second contribution by IIASA. Under the leadership of Guillaumne Marois, under work package 5, IIASA researchers will develop microsimulations, directly related with objective 4 of the ATHLOS project (i.e., to translate the ATHLOS findings, by means of knowledge translation methodologies and micro-simulation exercises, into evidence-informed policy recommendations).

Stakeholders will participate in the definition of outcomes, the creation of interventions and dissemination of results. ATHLOS will make available to scientists and stakeholders its resources by providing access to the methodology of harmonization and to the mega-data set of ageing cohorts. To maximize the policy impact, target audiences will be identified and specific materials disseminated.

Research partners in this project:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 635316. Project Name: Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies, ATHLOS.


Sanchez-Niubo, A., Egea-Cortés, L., Olaya, B., Caballero, F., Ayuso-Mateos, J., Prina, M., Bobak, M., Arndt, H., Tobiasz-Adamczyk, B., Pająk, A., Leonardi, M., Koupil, I., Panagiotakos, D., Tamosiunas, A., Scherbov, S. , Sanderson, W., Koskinen, S., Chatterji, S., & Haro, J. (2019). Cohort profile: The Ageing Trajectories of Health – Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies (ATHLOS) project. International Journal of Epidemiology 48 (4) dyz077. 10.1093/ije/dyz077.