Social connection policy, research and action summit

Study day Research, Society
On  March 18, 2022
Université Grenoble Alpes and the Global Initiative for Loneliness and Connection organize the first meeting in France on policy, research, and action against social isolation.
This international event, organized with the support of the Ministry of Solidarity and Health and accredited under the French Presidency of the European Union, convenes a cadre of political leaders, researchers, and other thought-leaders from across the globe to catalyze a platform to address social isolation, loneliness, and social connection within France and the European Union (EU) more broadly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made us acutely aware of the challenges posed by isolation, but the situation of social isolation has been studied for several years by scientists. Based on the work of scientists and feedback from experiences and initiatives carried out particularly in Europe, this event will allow the emergence of a framework for the development of a multisectoral plan in terms of social ties, mobilizing the various actors to set up mechanisms for monitoring loneliness and social ties at the national level and subsequently throughout the European Union.

Event's highlights will be livestreamed on Youtube.

Program of event

Section 1 - Raising awareness and sharing of prior experiences in research and policy frameworks

This section will be livestreamed on Youtube.

9.00 - 9.15
Opening of the day and overview by Dr. Hans Rocha IJzerman, organizer of the event.

9.16 – 9.25
How will the World Health Organization tackle loneliness?
Video from Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the Department for Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization

9.26 - 9.55
How social connection influences health.
Presentation by Prof. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor at Brigham Young University

Coffee Break

10.16 - 11.15
Moderated interview with Dubravka Šuica, the European Union’s Vice President of the Commission for Democracy and Demography.
Interview led by Judith Merkies, from Loneliness in Europe and Edward Garcia, MHS Co-chair of Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection, with input from the audience. You can submit your questions to the Vice-president via this form.

11.16 - 11.35
How to set up a national surveillance system for loneliness.
Presentation by Prof. Andrew Steptoe, Head of the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at University College London.

11.36 - 11.55
Reducing loneliness in the UK: What does the UK campaign teach us?
Presentation by Paul Cann, Co-Founder of the UK Campaign to End Loneliness.

11.56 - 12.05
The United Kingdom’s Experiences and Future Outlook
Video from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) Nigel Huddlestone of the The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Lunch break

Section 2 - Creating a French surveillance system of loneliness and social connection and creating multi-sectorial French working group for social connection

13.06 - 13.35
How can we reduce loneliness? The introduction of a systemic, socioecological framework.
Presentation by Edward Garcia, MHS. Executive director of Foundation for Social Connection.

13.36 - 14.15
What possibility exists for surveillance of loneliness and social connection in France?
Roundtable Discussion with input from the audience.

14.16 – 14.45
Which actors will commit to participating in a working group on social connection?
Outlining and committing to key development steps and oversight needed for the development of a France-specific strategic action plan. Roundtable
Discussion with input from the audience.

Coffee break

Section 3 - International Evidence Frameworks for Practitioners

This section will be livestreamed on Youtube.

15.16 - 15.35
Interventions to tackle loneliness across the EU
Presentation and discussion by Minna Nurminen and Elizabeth Casabianca from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

15.36 – 15.55
What are the gaps in evidence for social isolation interventions? How can we build up the future evidence base?
Presentation by Dr. Christopher Mikton, Technical officer at the World Health Organization.

Section 4 - Wrapping up the event

15.56 – 16.40
Outlining and committing to key development steps needed to develop European Union-wide surveillance mechanisms as well as working groups for loneliness and social connection for the development of an EU-wide strategic action plan.

16.41 - 17.00
Closing of the day. Prof. Yassine Lakhnech, President of Université Grenoble Alpes

Find out more

Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA)

A multidisciplinary institution located in the heart of the French Alps, Université Grenoble Alpes is renowned for its scientific and technological research activities, aimed at providing essential training to students and faculty and at addressing societal issues. One of the top 150 universities in the world in the Shanghai ranking, the university’s impact is brought to life through its nearly 60,000 students, 10,000 of whom international, and more than 7,700 staff spread over several campuses. Working in tandem with its research partners and drawing on the presence of its considerable scientific resources, UGA has developed its research and innovation policy on an international scale. We push the boundaries of knowledge by providing support to its disciplines and encouraging cooperation and dialogue between them to build the interdisciplinarity required to tackle the socio-economic and cultural issues we face today.

Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection (GILC)

The Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection is comprised of national organizations committed to ending the pressing global problems of loneliness and social isolation. They support the dissemination of national, system-wide approaches to building social connections.

French Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2022

The Presidency of the Council organizes and chairs meetings, works out compromises, delivers conclusions and ensures the coherence and continuity of the decision-making process. It ensures good cooperation between all Member States. The French Presidency of the Council of the EU runs from 1 January to 30 June 2022.

Published on  March 11, 2022
Updated on  March 17, 2022