The International Aging Research Portfolio Launches

A little while back, I was invited to preview an independent project under development at the behest of Alex Zhavoronkov, one of the trustees of the UK-based Biogerontology Research Foundation, a group with strong ties to the Methuselah Foundation and SENS Foundation communities. That project is now launched and open to the world: it is the International Aging Research Portfolio - "tracking international progress in aging research".

The site grants users access to research and funding information for over a million [projects]. The IARP is a fully searchable, flexible and highly scalable knowledge-management system developed to enable organizations to collaborate, track, analyze, structure, make decisions and set directions for future research efforts in aging. ... Aging research spans many areas of natural and social and behavioural sciences and requires a high degree of interdisciplinary and international cooperation. The goal of IARP is to provide a centralized decision support system for scientists, research institutes, funding organizations and policy makers involved in aging research.

If you are a statistics addict, this might keep you occupied for a while. The aggregated funding data and trends in research are particularly interesting, and could be more so if further sliced and diced. For example, funding by theory of aging:

Color me surprised that funding of work on telomeres in aging is so very far ahead - but there's the purpose of data mining, to learn. The hope here is that data mining tools that operate on this large data set will provide compelling benefits for the research community, such as by making it easier to match up research proposals to funding sources based on the sort of awards made in the past.

Public sources of funds are over-represented in this database by virtue of being public sources and thus producing records that are generally more accessible. One can imagine a slow extension of such a data aggregation operation into the private funding space based on the same provision of compelling benefits. If you make it worthwhile by streamlining the process of fundraising (on the research side) and the process of finding suitable projects to fund (on the funding source side), then people will use the system and in the process support its evolution and growth.

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