Eilís Ferran talks about understanding city innovation
Release Time:2020-06-25Pageviews:457

In Nanjing, understanding city innovation.


As a key innovative brand activity in Nanjing, Nanjing Tech Week focus on "high value innovation, high quality development, high quality life", aimed at the international first-class talent, innovation resources elements such as enterprises, scientific research institutions, and constantly enlarge the circle of friends of open innovation in Nanjing, promote the level and influence of the “Innovative city and a beautiful ancient capital".



Why do cities innovate? How do cities innovate? During this year's Nanjing Tech Week, from the T20 Talks to the guest cloud videos to the Purple Mountain International Summit of Talent Development, Eilis Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, gave the unique thoughts.


Smart City Governance for City Innovation


As we all know, many cities in the world are facing a series of urban governance problems, such as traffic congestion, climate change, public security and lack of planning. In particular, the COVID-19 epidemic has swept away a new round of challenges in urban development and governance. It has become a common aspiration to innovate urban lifestyle, reshape urban appearance, ease development bottlenecks, and speed up the process of urban governance modernization.


Organized by the Nanjing Foreign Affairs Office, the T20 International Innovation Urban Governance Forum is an important segment of the Nanjing Tech Week 2020. The forum is themed on "Innovating Urban Governance to Handle New Challenges" and invite governments including UK, enterprises and research institutes of T20 national innovative cities to participate in the T20 Talks video conference, building a platform for case sharing and cooperation of green and sustainable urban governance innovation methods and smart city construction path to provide momentum for urban innovation development.



"Green development and smart cities are important modern urban governance issues, we support this multilateral international discussion on such an important topic," said Ms. Eilis Ferran, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations at the University of Cambridge in the T20 Talks message. In fact, the University of Cambridge has been committed to taking the lead in applying technological breakthroughs to the study of smart cities to solve various problems faced by urban development, so as to improve the efficiency of urban management and improve the quality of life of urban residents.


Not only that, but also with Cambridge University - Nanjing Centre of Technology and Innovation, it practices the social mission of city governance innovation. " The innovation emerging from the Center will enable the development of smart cities," shared by Ms. Ferran, " Cambridge University Nanjing Center here in the Jiangbei New Area will conduct research into technologies that support the 21st century city, which integrate IT, healthcare, and sustainable lifestyle. " At present, the research focus of the Centre has covered smart city and environmental protection, zero carbon and sustainable development and other fields, and is committed to making future urban life better.


Inspiring Innovative Ecosystem for City Innovation


Faced with many situations that constrain urban development, cities in the 21st century must innovate. So where does innovation come from, how can it be stimulated, and how should cities innovate? Starting from the practice of Cambridge, Ms. Ferran points out an instructive path guide: stimulating the innovation ecosystem and activating the potential of urban development.


“Innovation is brought from creative thinking and ideas, and innovation is a key factor in helping Cambridge continue to contribute to the community,” Ms. Ferran stated. Over the half past century, through leading the innovation, Cambridge is building a world-class scientific research achievement transformation system, and the group of IT, technology and life science companies in and around Cambridge have become one of Europe’s most successful and best-known clusters of its kind.



“The success of Cambridge is supported by 5 pillars,” in the cloud video talk of Ms. Ferran. The 5 pillars are the knowledge engine, the supporting systems of finance and IT, physical space, skills, and connected networks and linkages.


First “Innovation begins with people. First class innovation requires first class of talent,” Ms. Ferran says. Outstanding research talents, including professionals, postdocs and students "are the foundation of Cambridge's innovative ecosystem", and they are expanding the scope of knowledge and acting as the knowledge engine of the ecosystem.


Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Enterprise and other institutions are parts of the supporting system of Cambridge innovation ecosystem, providing financial support, commercial guidance, intellectual property protection and other services. Cambridge Science park, St. John's Innovation Centre, IdeaSpace and other parks provide diversified physical space support for specific development stages of projects or enterprises. At the same time, the University enhances individual skills and abilities through departments and student organizations. Finally, with the help of the interconnected networks such as Cambridge Network and Cambridge Wireless, talents can be connected and interacted.


The five pillars are interconnected and mutually reinforcing, and as Ms. Ferran puts it, " All these factors make the Cambridge cluster a successful innovation, entrepreneurial eco-system from embryon companies to changing whole industry sectors. " It is reported that in recent decades, more than 5,000 knowledge-intensive enterprises have gathered around Cambridge, with a total of more than 600,000 talents working in these enterprises, creating an output value of 15.5 billion, and cultivating or owning global leading enterprises including AstraZeneca, ARM, Abcam, and etc.


The Cambridge University - Nanjing Centre of Technology and Innovation is the University of Cambridge’s first major research centre outside the United Kingdom and the only one bearing the University’s name. Relying on the industry-university-research experience of the University of Cambridge, the Centre will open a complete value chain from original innovation to the transformation and industrialization of scientific and technological achievements locally. Through the international cooperation between Cambridge and Nanjing, the Centre will create a new paradigm of global cooperation in science, technology and innovation.



Strengthening Talents Concentration for City Innovation


Talent defines the city, talent leads innovation, talent creates the future. At the Purple Mountain International Summit of Talent Development held on June 23, Nanjing once again called and sent invitations to global talents as to take the initiative to integrate into the global talent chain. For urban strategic development, the most valuable strategic resources should be talents, which who attracts more talents, who can occupy the commanding heights of the future.


As the supporting platform for the University of Cambridge's cooperation in China, the Centre has multiple functions. In addition to the internationalization of high-end original research projects, innovative research and development, and science and technology achievement transformation, international academic exchanges and talent training are also part of the fundamental of the Centre. The Center will be embedded in Nanjing global talent chain as the "gripper" and "trigger". By releasing the international high-end research resources potential, it will continuously select the outstanding research and development, project management, international exchange and other talents from the global wide, make development plans for selected talents and stimulate the enthusiasm and creativity of talents in an all-round way. Finally, it will generate an effective way for talents to deeply integrate with industry, capital and city, and ignite a booster for climbing the peak of scientific research and driving industrial upgrading.


At the Purple Mountain International Summit of Talent Development, Ms. Ferran sent out a warm invitation for talents, “The Cambridge Nanjing Center aims to attract outstanding talents from all over the world to work in Nanjing. The Centre also plans to train the same high-level local talents at the same time. I look forward to welcoming more top innovative professionals to come to Nanjing to join the Cambridge Nanjing Centre working to contribute to and to eject new vitality to the local development of Nanjing.”


From E0°10 'e to 118°22 "E, from the east coast of the Atlantic to the west coast of the Pacific, from the River Cam to the bank of the Yangtze River, the University of Cambridge is now jointly building a world-class international platform for scientific innovation by setting up the Nanjing Centre to  share Cambridge's experience. Tech Week never ends, Innovation makes city life better. As a leading R&D institution, the Centre will continue to aim at the frontiers of science and technology in the world, strengthen high-level original research, and contribute to urban development.