Tackling the challenge of ageing through innovation

Ageing elderly women using tablet.

An event to celebrate the innovation programme of the UK-China Healthy Ageing flagship challenge was held on 13 September 2021.

Co-hosted by Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation, UKRI) and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), the hybrid event was led by UKRI China. A number of important stakeholders joined online and in-person in Beijing.

Healthy solutions for ageing populations

Healthy ageing is a major societal challenge for both the UK and China, with both countries facing a marked increase in ageing populations, and younger generations facing an unprecedented burden of care.

Research and innovation collaboration and knowledge exchange are viewed in both countries as essential in driving a solution and way forward.

Central to the programme is the collaboration between the UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) and Beijing Hospital led Consortium. Together they will develop products and services in an ecosystem to ecosystem approach, supporting citizens in both countries to age better and live more independently.

A range of activities will be delivered in the programme including citizen engagement, bilateral business innovation missions as well as co-location and accelerator programmes for participating companies.

Understanding and addressing challenges

The programme is part of the Healthy Ageing flagship challenge programme (FCP), a joint UK-China strategic initiative to support cutting-edge research and innovation partnerships that address global challenges.

As part of the flagship challenge, ESRC and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) have also supported a joint interdisciplinary opportunity for understanding and addressing health and social challenges facing ageing in the UK and China.

Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer at Innovate UK, said:

This joint UK and Chinese innovation programme will develop products and services to support ageing people to live independently and safely in their communities.

The ecosystem approach will directly benefit UK and Chinese businesses and serve as a pilot of a potentially replicable model of service provision with longer-term business benefits.

Professor Huan Xi, President of Beijing Hospital, said:

We hope that the China and UK will collaborate and communicate with each other through high-level international health research cooperation on healthy ageing FCP.

We will give full play to the supporting role of science and technology in improving the ability of elderly people to live independently and promoting the health industry of older people and achieve win-win cooperation between governments in science and technology as well as strategic objectives of healthy ageing.

Professor Patrick Bonnett, Development Director at NICA said:

Through sharing knowledge with international partners, we can learn how best to help people as they age. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Beijing Hospital Consortium to share ideas, helping to bring to market products and services which create a world in which we all live better, for longer.

Top image:  Credit: Getty

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