September 08, 2016 | News | News

1.48 Million Euro Grant for Alyson van Raalte

Alyson van Raalte's research proposal on age-at-death inequalities for different countries and socioeconomic groups has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant of up to 1.479 million euro, providing funding  for 5 years.

Normally, demographers summarize population health by looking at averages, i.e. the life expectancy. But these averages only give an incomplete picture of population health, as they don’t disclose how ages of death are distributed within population groups or countries. Economists face comparable problems when analyzing income: The gross domestic product (GDP) of a country, or its mean income level, gives a sense of the overall development of the country, but doesn't say anything about within-population income inequalities. To know more about these inequalities, economists use the so called Gini coefficient, which shows the spread in income over individuals.

Alyson van Raalte wants to communicate the same with survival. Do populations with similar life expectancies also experience similar distributions in ages at death, or is it that some populations experience high levels of both premature mortality and old age survival, and in others people die at more similar ages? Her investigations will give answers to these questions and these findings will be crucial for policy makers. It will help them when taking decisions of whether to direct limited resources toward future life expectancy increases or toward reductions of inequalities in longevity.

The Starting Grants are awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) on an annual basis. Applications are open to researchers with two to seven years of experience since completion of their PhD, provided they conduct their project at a research organisation located in one of the EU member states. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. The grants are valued at up to 1.5 million euros each.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.