Over the next decades, the number of the elderly people is expected to grow faster, which is projected to more than double its size, reaching nearly 2.1 billion in 2050 from 901 million in 2015. The ageing population has been one of important global challenges, which leads to health, social and quality of life issues to be concerned for society in the coming decades.
The recent 2.2 million Euro project, CHARMED (Characterisation of a green microenvironment and to study its impact upon health and well-being in the elderly as a way forward for health tourism), funded under the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme aims to address the above challenges. The BU team headed by Dr Shuang Cang has an international reputation in the emerging digital health and digital tourism area. For example, one of recent papers published by Dr Cang has received about 100 citations in a short time. Digital technology is transforming healthcare, tourism and other industry sectors. There is a need for interdisciplinary teams at local, national and international levels to collaborate in order to realise potential. BU is one of the front runners in this emerging industry revolution. The BU team in this project including active researchers from three faculties has multidisciplinary knowledge which covers pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, multivariance statistics and quantitative analysis (Dr Shuang Cang, FM); digital and mobile technology (Prof Hongnian Yu, SciTech); community healthcare (Dr Carol Clark, HSS); environmental geology and ecosystem services (Prof Adrian Newton, SciTech); collaborative communities and collaborative travel (Prof Janet Dickinson, FM); hospitality management (Dr Viachaslau Filimonau, FM); and four PhD researchers who are researching in the related area.
The CHARMED’s goal is to innovate a solution to the consequential health, social and quality of life issues that result from the demographic change in Europe where the average age of the population will rise. The project is to create an innovative social-economic infrastructure based around health tourism and ecosystems and elevating the well-being through social and therapeutic horticulture. The proposed approach has the unique potential to address environmental, social, cultural and economic factors, which all have an impact on individual and population health and well-being. The CHARMED project will
- derive cross-disciplinary and inter-sectorial knowledge of how to improve physical and mental well-being in the elderly
- characterise the environmental geology of a selected exemplar site and to correlate the identified features with improvements in health, well-being and recovery
- train a new generation of specialists in the sector of recreation and health for the tourism industry
- train specialists in social and therapeutic horticulture as a way to improve physical and mental health
- create a model for health tourism
- and produce a business plan with an economic impact analysis.
The project will not only create the new digital health tourism service for the elderly, but will also generate new jobs in this emerging sector.
The CHARMED project fits in the BU innovation themes of digital and creative industries, health and wellbeing, and leisure, recreation and tourism very well and will contribute and promote the BU international reputation and research capacity in this important emerging sector. The project is an excellent exemplar in fulfilling the BU FUSION vision and providing essential synergy between education, research and professional engagement as below
- Initiating and developing the new courses and education programmes in the emerging areas such as digital health, digital tourism, health tourism
- Contributing in achieving strong and improved performance in REF2020 through publications, patents, external research incomes and international activities
- Promoting and strengthening Global Engagement for BU staff and students
- Creating a vibrant knowledge exchange community of students, staff and other business and organisational stakeholders through the project planned mobility between cross sectors (academic & industry partnership)
- Enhancing the student experience and training the early-stage researchers through the planned project mobility, workshops, seminars, etc.
- Enhancing the students and early-stage researchers’ employment capacity through this research mobility programme.