European societies are ageing. This puts strain on labour markets, social systems, families, and intergenerational solidarity. Additionally, crises and shocks occur as a result of the changing global climate, violent conflict and pandemics.
The challenge of the day is to create social policies that are resilient. Resilient in the sense of enduring, flexible, adjustable, but also sustainable, humane and fair. In this, the role of demographic researchers is to analyse population data and to provide data analysis and modelling that can support policy-making for a better future.
Towards a resilient future of Europe
FutuRes is directed by Prof. Arnstein Aassve of Bocconi University in Milan, one of Europe’s leading experts on crisis resilience. The project brings together a transdisciplinary group of experts to identify policies for the resilience of Europe’s ageing population. It is funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme.
Fertility and life-course resilience
How did recent shocks like the economic recession, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, impact fertility? FutuRes will establish up-to-date fertility trends for the European population, identify the main drivers to these trends, and compare these data to resilience indicators.
The second objective is to characterise the European population in terms of their life-course patterns. How do people transition from school to work, to parenthood, to retirement? What drives changes in health and lifestyle? How are such life-course patterns affected by external shocks and changes?
Is migration a potential remedy for the challenges of population ageing? Several European countries are looking at how immigration policies could respond to declines in their working-age populations. The options for forecasting are limited. Within these limits, the FutuRes team will predict the dynamics of migration, thereby measuring the current and future impacts on dependency ratios across European states.
How is equality affected by recent reforms to old age security, by changes in education systems, or factors like wealth, family networks, and life expectancy? Using economic modelling, FutuRes researchers will simulate policy options under different future scenarios of the demographic and economic evolution.
An exceptional feature of FutuRes is that dialogue between the research team, policymakers and other stakeholders has been underway since the beginning. “Behind us are the days when researchers simply present their findings at the very end of a project”, says Prof. Aassve. Alongside its research, FutuRes will implement a Policy Lab, where scientists will match their research to practical challenges to resilience and aging, and propose knowledge-based policies. Through a series of larger and smaller events across all three years of the project, this transdisciplinary engagement, will shape the FutuRes research and ensure actionable results.