An ESRC project has been shortlisted for the 2017 Newton Prize, an annual £1 million fund awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of developing countries.
The project, SMArt CitIES Network for Sustainable Urban Futures used an urban observatory approach to develop future thinking to increase the sustainability of Indian cities. The team identified that data was not openly shared, and the voices of residents, NGOs, students, academics, businesses and public servants were not generally included in the urban planning process, especially those in lower income groups. Using the concept of city-level urban observatories is helping several municipal authorities to reframe their approach to Smart City information gathering to inform better decision making
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 (Newton Fund website) 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. There will be two winners in India and one in Malaysia, Thailand and in Vietnam.
The Newton Prize winners will be announced at celebratory award ceremonies held in each of the partner countries:
- India – 1 November
- Thailand – 8 November
- Malaysia – 14 November
- Vietnam – 16 November
The Minister for Universities, Science and Research Jo Johnson will also host a UK event in London in early December to celebrate the first year of the Prize and to announce the 2018 Newton Prize countries.
ESRC is one of 15 UK delivery partners for the Newton Fund, which 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. It has a total UK Government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries.
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.