As populations throughout Europe continue to age governments have introduced a range of ‘active ageing’ policies aimed at extending working life. However little is known about what the consequences of these policies might be for older people at work and following retirement. The aim of the IDEAR network is to investigate how determinants in later working life, during the retirement transition, and in early retirement influence for how long older individuals are able to live actively and healthily. This will be done using by state of the art statistical modelling in well-established prospective occupational cohort studies, longitudinal ageing studies and registry data from Sweden, the UK, Finland, France and Denmark. These studies represent countries in three different welfare regimes and cover up to several decades from mid-life, retirement, early old age, and the beginning of older-old age.