Global Expert Mission: UK-China Healthy Ageing

Posted on: 12/04/2019

In March 2019 Dr Sandeep Sandhu and Gabriela Juarez Martinez, KTN, hosted a UK delegation of healthy ageing sector specialist organisations to China.

The KTN International Team, and Health Team visited Beijing and Shanghai on the 25th to 29th March 2019 to gather insights in how China is addressing its ageing population.

In 2016, China’s population stood at 1.411 billion, the largest of any country in the world.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines¬†Healthy Ageing¬†‚Äúas the process of developing and maintaining the¬†functional ability¬†that enables¬†wellbeing¬†in older age‚Äù. The ability to be more mobile, active, ‘keeping up’ with society with ease using innovative smart technologies, doing what we still love to do but at a later stage in life are all things that both the UK and China need to understand more by collaborating, and so this mission has been key in learning from each other about this shared challenge. We are all ageing – but can we age healthily and can we age better?

Paul Burstow, Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE):

Paul Burstow was part of the UK delegation to China, and has recently written an article in The Guardian about his time with the Mission:

“I have just returned from a week-long visit to China with¬†Innovate UK, to learn how the country is tackling this challenge.”

Paul reflects on what technological advances and ideas we could learn from the country:

“Technology is also an important part of China‚Äôs plans. That might include things like smart beds that can monitor sleeping patterns, and enable social connections via a screen that can be used for Skype and other communications; screening and rehabilitation equipment; and greater use of motion detectors and AI, to analyse how people walk, or facial analysis, to identify potential risks of falls or stroke.”

Dr Sandeep Sandhu concludes:

“Healthy ageing is a priority area for both the UK and China, with both countries facing a marked increase in ageing populations. This mission demonstrated that innovation will play a key role in transforming the sector and there is much to learn from one another in tackling this shared challenge.”

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UK Healthy-Ageing Sector Delegation

The UK delegation involved the following health experts:


Cera Care



Social Care Institute for Excellence / TEC Services Association

University of Reading

WCS Care

About Global Expert Missions

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions programme is one of its most important tools to support the UK’s Industrial Strategy’s ambition for the UK to be the international partner of choice for science and innovation.

Global collaborations are crucial in meeting the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges and will be further supported by the launch of a new International Research and Innovation Strategy.

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions, led by KTN, play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future bilateral collaboration programmes.

For more information, and to get in touch, please contact the International Team.

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