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Communications systems project scoops Newton Prize in Vietnam

Communications systems project scoops Newton Prize in Vietnam

A UK-Vietnam project that has developed a communications system that can work even when extreme weather and natural disasters strike has been awarded the inaugural Newton Prize, worth £200,000, at an event in Hanoi, Vietnam today (Thursday 16th November).

British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever, and the Deputy Minister for Science and Technology, Tran Quoc Khanh, presented the award 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, for their project, Building a Foundation for Sustainable Development: Networked Societies for the Cities of Tomorrow.

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 Viet Nam and its growing success in research and innovation collaboration between the UK and Vietnam.

The Newton Prize winning project team 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 increases 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."

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 in Vietnam."

The Newton Fund Programme Viet Nam 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. 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.

This is the second award to be made for this year's Newton Prize. the next winner will be announced at an event in Bangkok, Thailand on 22nd November 2017. 

Further information about the Newton Prize is available here