China and the UK both face the enormous challenge of adequate healthcare for an ageing population. A Researcher Links workshop, supported by a Newton Fund grant and chaired by Sichuan University in China and the UK’s Bradford University, brought together early career researchers from 18 institutions in both countries to explore new digital solutions to healthcare challenges for the elderly.

The workshop provided an opportunity for researchers to present and share their findings on cutting-edge technologies in accessible healthcare which, in the future, could be remote, digitalised, and robotised. 

This has led to new collaborations between academia and industry. For example, a new partnership has been established between workshop participants and the state-owned-enterprise Sichuan Telecommunication Research, Planning, and Design Ltd.

The UK’s University of Manchester and Sichuan University have also established a partnership and co-hosted a workshop on future directions in health research at MedInfo 2017, a world leading conference on medical and health informatics. A proposal for funding to set up a lab of statistical science between Bradford and Sichuan has been submitted to the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Royal Society.

The British Council Researcher Links Workshop has provided an excellent platform for both UK and Chinese early career researchers to expand our research not only geographically but also across disciplines
- Professor Yinghua Wu