Letter from outgoing Chair

By the end of 2023 my second term as chair of the joint programme MYBL came to an end after four years in this position. But I can also commemorate exactly ten years involvement in the JP MYBL. In January 2014, I started my job as Secretary General of the Swedish Research Council FORTE, and it so happened that the first day of my new job coincided with a General Assembly meeting held in Stockholm, that it was my task to open.

JPI MYBL at that time had been going on for a few years, the strategic research agenda (SRA) was being finalized, and various discussions had been going on around topics for the first call. I remember mine and colleagues’ frustration by the several years of discussions and meetings before we could finally launch the first call in 2015 on the topic “Extended working life and its interaction with health, wellbeing and beyond.” It partly built on the first fast track project “Understanding employment participation of older workers”, published in 2015. I browsed the fast track report on the JPI MYBL website. It is a very comprehensive and ambitious review of the topic, with perspectives from different countries. Thus from the start, we set a standard of high level of scientific competence complemented by participation from societal networks.

With new joint calls, fast tracks, dissemination activities, and collaboration with other joint programmes, the following years were a very productive period, with 12 countries actively participating in the work. Up until 2023 four calls have been launched, resulting in 24 projects funded for a total amount of 22,8 million Euros.

In addition to these “hard outcomes”, the network formed by the JPI MYBL, comprising the general assembly, the advisory boards, and all persons involved in different working groups and activities, have been an important community, with lots of informal knowledge sharing and interdisciplinary personal contacts.

My years with JPI MYBL have given me important learnings and good friends. We have had fruitful meetings around Europe and also managed to keep a good spirit during the years of only zoom meetings. Although with lower level of participation, we recently decided to launch a new call, indicating a willingness to maintain the joint programme for some more years. This is impressive, given the funding situation in many countries, and EUs new funding priorities. I am glad to leave a programme that decided not to phase out, which was an option at some stage, but with new activities and high ambition.

I wish you very good luck in your future work!

Peter Allebeck