A NORTHUMBRIA University led initiative which improves the lives of elderly people in China has won the prestigious £200,000 Newton China Prize 2019.

The project uses smart devices and applies big data and service design principles to difficulties people facing in villages and cities, leading to improved transportation services and better access and suitability of core services.

More than 40 early career researchers from the UK and China have worked together on the project, which topped 20 finalists to win the prize.

Shengfeng Qin, Professor of Design at Northumbria University who leads the UK team, said: “Countries around the world are struggling to meet the challenge of rapid urban expansion and ageing populations.

“In developing countries economic progress places even greater pressure on vital but under-resourced services such as healthcare and transportation. There is a need for smarter, more accessible services which improve people’s wellbeing and ability to contribute to society and the economy.

“Winning the 2019 Newton China Prize means our UK and Chinese partners can continue to work together to develop our Newton Prize project to promote sustainable healthcare and social care policies, services and technologies in china for villagers and the vulnerable.”

Presenting the award, Dame Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador to China, said: “The Newton Fund brings together the best UK and Chinese scientists to tackle global challenges and to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is a key part of the over 40 year-long partnership on science and innovation between the UK and China.”