AsianScientist (Feb. 14, 2020) – The 2019 Newton Prize, an annual £1 million fund that celebrates the best partnerships between the UK and Newton countries, has been awarded to three teams of scientists in Asia.
The Prize aims to encourage new international collaborations to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. It also recognizes stellar research and innovation that fulfils at least one of the sustainable development goals put forth by the United Nations. In 2019, the Newton partner countries are the Philippines, China and Indonesia.
Led by De La Salle University’s Professor Michael Angelo Promentilla from the Philippines and Dr. Devendra Saroj from the University of Surrey, UK, the UK-Philippines team received the prize for developing a method to extract phosphates from untreated sewage, which can then be used to produce fertilizer.
The team hopes that their discovery will lay the foundation for better sanitation throughout the Philippines, improving the health of communities across the country. At the same time, those communities can reap the economic benefits of supplying phosphorus fertilizer for agriculture.
With ageing populations becoming a global concern, the winning UK-China team led by Professor Qin Sheng-Fen from Northumbria University, UK, and Professor Ma Cuixia from the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, sought to address the need for elderly-inclusive urban development.
Applying big data and service design principles to urban development, the researchers were able to improve the accessibility and suitability of services for elderly citizens, particularly in the area of transportation. More than 40 young researchers from China and the UK were involved in the project.
The third team receiving the Newton Prize comprised scientists from Indonesia and the UK. Professor Richard Haigh of the University of Huddersfield, UK, and Dr. Harkunti Rahuyu from the Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia, developed better communications and warning procedures to deal with coastal hazards such as flooding and tsunamis. Their strategy will be included in Indonesia’s development plans.
The UK-Indonesia team’s study has also contributed to decisions made by the intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean on tsunami warnings in Indonesia and countries in the Indian Ocean.
The funding received by each team will allow the researchers to translate their project from the lab into the field through expansion and improvements to their original project.
Source: The Newton Fund, UK. Photo: The Newton Fund, UK.
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