Called JOINTWORKS, the network has been awarded £109,000 in funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research, as part of its Work and Health Research Programme.
JOINTWORKS focuses particularly on supporting the ageing workforce by developing practical interventions to assist employees over the age of 50 with chronic musculoskeletal disorders (CMSDs), enhancing their ability to remain productive and healthy.
The network is led by Dr Glykeria Skamagki and Professor Afroditi Stathi from the University of Birmingham's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. It brings together a multidisciplinary disciplinary team of experts, including occupational healthcare professionals, policy makers, researchers, and most importantly, the public – particularly older workers themselves.
With the JOINTWORKS Network, we are not just conducting research; we are creating a movement. Our goal is to co-create initiatives with direct input from those most affected.Dr Glykeria Skamagki, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
JOINTWORKS will employ innovative approaches to explore and understand the complex interplay of factors affecting musculoskeletal health at work. It will engage diverse stakeholders to ensure that the programmes developed are inclusive and cater to a wide range of needs in both office and remote working environments.
Dr Skamagki said: “With the JOINTWORKS Network, we are not just conducting research; we are creating a movement. Our goal is to co-create initiatives with direct input from those most affected. This approach ensures that our solutions are not only scientifically sound but also resonate with the real-life experiences of those managing CMSDs every day.”
Professor Stathi added: “It is crucial that we identify effective and sustainable ways to support our ageing workforce to maintain health and well-being. Through JOINTWORKS, we aim to influence policy and practice, ensuring that older employees are not just able to work, but they enjoy productive and meaningful working lives.”
JOINTWORKS aims to make a significant impact on how CMSDs are managed in the workplace and become a sustainable, interdisciplinary platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration and advocacy in workplace health. For more information about the JOINTWORKS Network and how to get involved, please visit University of Birmingham's project page.