Public Release: 

GSA will award $50,000 to study human-animal interaction's effect on healthy aging

The Gerontological Society of America

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition and Mars Petcare, is offering a $50,000 grant to support high-quality, innovative research into the impact of companion animals on healthy aging in humans.

Much has been written on the roles that pet ownership and other forms of human-animal interaction (HAI) may play in promoting human health. This call for applications represents an opportunity to meaningfully advance the study of causality and the mechanisms of action underlying the effects of HAI on older adults (50+ years of age) and their caregivers. The grant recipient must be a GSA member.

"This emerging area of research presents a wonderful opportunity for gerontologists to make new scientific discoveries," said GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH. "We are pleased to have the partnership and support of Mars Petcare and WALTHAM in this work."

The grant follows an April 2016 workshop that GSA and Mars Petcare co-convened in order to develop a roadmap for future research on HAI in an aging population.

"As a membership organization dedicated to advancing knowledge and research of aging issues, GSA was a natural fit to partner for this award," said Karyl Hurley, director of global scientific affairs for Mars Petcare.

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2017. Further details -- including information on how to apply and how to become a GSA member -- can be found at


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society -- and its 5,500+ members -- is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition is the fundamental science center for Mars Petcare and focuses on the nutrition and wellbeing of dogs, cats, horses, birds and fish, and their benefits to humans. Located in Leicestershire, England, WALTHAM's expertise and knowledge informs the development of innovative products that meet the needs of companion animals in a practical way. The center recently celebrated its half century and has pioneered many important breakthroughs in the field, publishing over 600 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Today, WALTHAM continues to collaborate with the world's foremost scientific institutes, driving Mars Petcare's vision to create 'A Better World for Pets' and delivering the science that underpins leading Mars brands such as PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, ROYAL CANIN®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, IAMS®, CESAR®, NUTRO®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and EUKANUBA®.

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