The Next Age Institute (NAI) is a partnership between Washington University and the National University of Singapore (NUS) to study, design, and test social innovations. NAI, part of Washington University’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy, will address global challenges facing many families and communities, among them aging populations, rising inequality, globalization of markets, and the shift to information age technologies. Through innovation, research, and policy development, NAI will focus on creating a comprehensive body of applied scholarship to address these profound issues.
The Meaning of Next Age Institute
The Next Age Institute will focus on human and social issues in a rapidly changing world. The name signals two intertwined themes. The first theme is that humans will live longer, healthier life spans, resulting in a “next age” after childhood and adulthood. This next lifespan age—sometimes called a “third age” and as yet to be fully defined—will present unusual challenges for families and communities in the design of living arrangements, economic support, health care, and social services.
The second theme is that human societies will be different going forward. We have entered a new era defined by globalization and information technology. Human conditions will be no less challenging and complex than in the industrial era. Rising inequality will be accompanied by aging populations in many countries. At the same time, rapid innovation will be a defining feature of this next social age, leading to new ways of thinking about human communities, economic life, and shaping a new social contract—the relationship of citizens and the state.