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UK-Vietnam project “Communicating in a disaster” wins prestigious Newton Prize

Two researchers from Vietnam and the UK have been awarded the Newton Prize, worth £200,000 for their jointly designed communications system that can work even when extreme weather and natural disasters strike.

Newton Prize Vietnam 2017

British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever, and Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Tran Quoc Khanh, presented the award in Hanoi on Thursday, 16 November 2017 to the winning lead researchers Dr. Vo Nguyen Son from Duy Tan University, and his UK-based counterpart Dr. Trung Duong from Queen’s University Belfast.

Their Newton Fund project, “Building a foundation for sustainable development networked societies for the cities of tomorrow” designed an integrated heterogeneous wireless system (IHWS), which is robust in maintaining communications during disasters such as floods, landslides and droughts. It copes with issues such as physical destruction of telecommunication networks, lack of power supply and network congestion. The system also provides early warning of natural disasters by detecting water level, vibration and wind. In cities, the IWHS can detect increase in dust, temperature, noise and carbon dioxide levels. Academic staff and students from 20 universities throughout Vietnam have been trained in the system and several leading telecommunication companies are interested in bringing it into production.

Dr. Trung Duong said:

I am so pleased to have won the 2017 Newton Prize. Natural disasters are a big problem not just in Vietnam but throughout the whole world and the impact is worse for those in remote and isolated areas with no access to the ICT facilities that are essential to providing vital warning information and aiding in rescue missions. This prize money will allow myself and my team to develop the system further and to work with the key telecommunications companies in Vietnam. By doing so we can provide citizens with better warning, measurement tools and education initiatives.

More than 100 people attended the event at the Ministry of Science and Technology, including researchers, representatives of the Vietnamese government and Vietnamese delivery partners to celebrate three years of the Newton Fund Programme Vietnam and its growing success in research and innovation collaboration between the UK and Vietnam.

British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever, said:

International cooperation with a diversity of ideas, views and good practice plays a very important role in research and innovation. As a dynamic emerging economy with a strong vision of the importance of science and innovation in human development, Vietnam is a natural partner for the global Newton Fund. By working together and leveraging each other’s strengths, we can achieve more than what we would achieve alone. I am excited to think about the future possibilities, and look forward to a bright future for the Newton Fund Programme Vietnam.

The Newton Fund Programme Vietnam is the first formal research and innovation partnership programme between the UK and Vietnamese Governments. The programme aims to support Vietnam’s economic and social development through science and innovation as well as recognise challenges and support Vietnam’s research and innovation to be more impactful. Over the last three and a half years, the fund has disbursed nearly £5 million and rolled out 35 calls over 15 schemes.

This has resulted in 162 grants that benefit nearly 400 individuals, mostly researchers from 60 Vietnamese and 43 UK research organisations.

The Newton Prize is an annual £1 million fund awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of developing countries. More than 150 Newton funded projects, fellowships or other awards applied for the Newton Prize from the eligible countries for this year – India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. There are 25 shortlisted applications in total and five Prizes of up to £200,000 will be awarded to each winner to be used to advance or develop existing Newton funded work.

The Newton Prize aims to incentivise researchers to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK, and to work on the most important challenges facing Newton countries. The concept for the Newton Prize has been developed to demonstrate how UK partnerships with Newton countries are solving global challenges.

Further information

The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 18 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK delivery partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office.

The Newton Fund Programme Vietnam is the first formal research and innovation partnership programme between the UK and Vietnamese Governments. Both countries have agreed the five priority areas of mutual interest as health and life sciences; agriculture; environmental resilience and energy security; future cities; and digital innovation and creativity; falling into three groups of activities:

  • People – Capacity building activities, exchanges and fellowships

  • Research – research collaborations on development topics

  • Translation- Training and partnerships to transfer research into practical development solutions

For further information contact:

Ms Dinh Thu Huong, Communication Manager, British Embassy Hanoi

Tel.: 3936 0500, extn: 2227


Visit the Newton Fund website

Follow on Twitter: @NewtonFund

Published 22 November 2017