Three Royal Academy of Engineering projects have been shortlisted for the 2018 Newton Prize, an annual £1 million fund awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries.

The selected projects are working to address a range of challenges – from sustainable mining practices in Colombia to the development of virtual reality teaching simulations for medical students in Mexico.

The three Academy-supported projects are:

  • Surgical planner and simulation based on virtual reality - Fabio Antonio Gonzalez Sanchez, Chief Executive, Verum VR Medical (Mexico)
  • To scale up the development of an intelligent water measurement device at the industrial level in order to save this valuable resource in Colombia and to serve as a model to be replicated in other countries - Jimy Alexander Aguirre, Hardware Coordinator (Colombia)
  • Design, creation and implementation of a Mineral Benefit School Plant, municipality of Segovia - Antioquia, Colombia - Lesli Zapata Sánchez, Co-founder and Assistant Management, Nanotecol (Colombia)

The three projects are led by alumni of the Academy’s Leaders in Innovation Fellowships programme, which offers UK-based training to help researchers from emerging economies build the entrepreneurial skills needed to commercialise their work. Since launching in 2015, LIF has provided commercialisation and entrepreneurship support to over 700 innovators, working across all technology sectors from 15 partner countries. From 2015-2017, $70 million of innovation investment has been raised by participants of the programme.

This year 140 Newton funded projects applied for the Newton Prize from the eligible countries - Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, with 22 shortlisted. Four prizes of up to £200,000 each will be awarded to winning projects working with the eligible Latin American countries. There will also be an additional prize (the Chairman’s Award) of £200,000 for a project with the potential for broader impact with other emerging economies.

Launched in 2016, the Newton Prize is part of the UK Government’s Newton Fund. The Prize recognises exciting research and innovation projects that tackle challenges faced by developing countries, spanning the Newton Fund’s three pillars of work: the development of people, new research, and translating ideas into innovations.

The winning projects will be announced at events taking place this November in each of the partner countries. This will be followed by a UK reception in December hosted by Sam Gyimah MP, the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, to celebrate international innovation collaborations.

The Royal Academy of Engineering is one of 15 UK delivery partners for the Newton Fund, which builds research and innovation partnerships with 17 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth.

Notes to editors

  1. The Newton Prize was launched in 2016 and is part of the broader Newton Fund. The concept for the Newton Prize was developed to demonstrate how UK partnerships with Newton Partner countries are solving global challenges. Each year it will be awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries, DAC List Countries or addresses global challenges, aligning with and strengthening the Newton Fund’s overall objectives.
  1. The Newton Fund builds research and innovation partnerships with 17 active 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 Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through seven UK delivery partners, UK Research and Innovation (which comprises seven Research Councils and Innovate UK), the UK Academies, the British Council and the Met Office.

    For further information visit the Newton Fund website (www.newtonfund.ac.uk) and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund.
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering

    As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information

Siobhan Pipa at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0745

E:   Siobhan Pipa