Janet Fast, born in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, in 1955. Ph.D. from Cornell University, Ithaca. Professor of Economics at the Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Fellow (1 February 2003 – 30 June 2003)
My first accomplishment during my time at NIAS was to launch the new research programme for which I recently received funding. The overall purpose of the programme is to create a deeper understanding of the place of those currently characterised as ‘dependent’ on the rest of society-specifically older adults and adults with chronic illness/disability. This five-year programme involves a team of eight co-investigators, ten collaborators and fifteen government and community partners spread across six countries on four continents. My time at NIAS was especially helpful in developing some of the multi-national components of the programme. Being able to interact face-to-face with Dr. Jenny Gierveld, a NIAS Permanent Fellow and co-investigator on the programme, for several months has moved our collaboration along more quickly, and in more interesting directions, than would otherwise have been possible.
Having previously completed much of the necessary data analysis for an ongoing research programme entitled ‘Productive Activity in Later Life’, my second undertaking while at NIAS was to complete or write several manuscripts for publication in scholarly journals, prepare and make several conference and other professional presentations, and prepare fact sheets and position papers for dissemination to policy makers, practitioners and the general public.
An especially important feature of my fellowship was the opportunity to enhance existing collaborations and initiate new ones, especially with members of the ‘Older adults’ life strategies’ theme group. Several of these will continue even after we go our separate ways. I also will be seeking to involve one or more Canadian graduate students in international comparative research evolving from my NIAS fellowship.
In short, my fellowship at NIAS has been one of the most productive, intellectually stimulating and enjoyable experiences of my academic career.