Principles | Age-Friendly University

About Age-Friendly University

DCU conceived and developed the Ten Principles of an Age-Friendly University.  In May 2023 DCU passed the leadership of the AFU Global Network to founder partners Arizona State University and the University of Stratclyde.  DCU remains on the Executive Board and continues to support the growth of the AFU Initiative globally.


Age-Friendly Principles and How to Join

DCU identified 10 Principles for an Age-Friendly University:

  1. To encourage the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programmes.
  2. To promote personal and career development in the second half of life and to support those who wish to pursue "second careers".
  3. To recognise the range of educational needs of older adults (from those who were early school-leavers through to those who wish to pursue Master's or PhD qualifications).
  4. To promote intergenerational learning to facilitate the reciprocal sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.
  5. To widen access to online educational opportunities for older adults to ensure a diversity of routes to participation.
  6. To ensure that the university's research agenda is informed by the needs of an ageing society and to promote public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.
  7. To increase the understanding of students of the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that ageing brings to our society.
  8. To enhance access for older adults to the university's range of health and wellness programmes and its arts and cultural activities.
  9. To engage actively with the university's own retired community.
  10. To ensure regular dialogue with organisations representing the interests of the ageing population.


How to join the AFU Global Network

Please visit website to download an application on how to join.   This handy guide on the institutional process to advance the Ten Principles with your colleagues will also be of help.

AFU Champions & Supporters

Alexandre Kalache

Alexandre Kalache

We are honoured that Professor Alexandre Kalache, Former Director of Ageing and the Lifecourse WHO, Director of the International Longevity Centre Brazil (ILC-BR) and co-director of the Age-Friendly Foundation has championed the Age-Friendly University and supported its growth and development globally.  Prof. Kalache said:

"The Age-Friendly University Initiative provides an opportunity to mainstream an ageing perspective across all university curricula, not just health. All professionals must be prepared for the fact that a huge percentage of their patients, clients and customers will be older adults.  This provides a unique role for universities to have an impact".

Centre for eIntegrated Care (CeIC), aims to transform lives and societies through education, translational research and innovation. The CeIC focus is on the digitalisation of health care and optimising value through design science


E-Seniors, a senior citizens association which aims to fight e-exclusion by offering ICT training to seniors.


Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, an organisation working to promote the views of older people in policy development and decision-making.


DCU is proud to be a founder member of The EU Covenant on Demographic Change which aims at gathering local, regional and national authorities, which commit to cooperate and implement solutions to support active and healthy ageing, as a comprehensive answer to the European Union’s demographic challenge.

Jane M Barratt

D. Jane Barratt

Dr. Jane M Barratt, Secretary-General, International Federation on Ageing (IFA). 

"The Irish university sector through multidisciplinary best practice and engaging older people in lifelong and intergenerational learning is a testament to developing sustainable, affordable solutions to support independent living. The International Federation (IFA) as an international NGO with General Consultative Status at the United Nations and its agencies, including the World Health Organisation, is proud to have followed the progress of the Age-friendly Universities Network. As an initiative with its genesis in Ireland, the IFA urges the continued expansion of this initiative across the European Union in an effort to consolidate the work of the European universities sector and bring cohesion to collectively responding to ageing across the EU".