Important figures in the world of Research and Development (R&D) were invited to participate in the “International Cooperation Conference of New R&D Institutions” today, 9 November, held at the prestigious Jinling Hotel in the heart of Nanjing city. The conference, hosted by the Nanjing government, saw distinguished guests and honorary speakers take part in further cementing Nanjing’s presence in the world as a tech innovator.
In an act that showcased governmental commitment to further transparency and openness, R&D professionals in Nanjing also last night attended invited to a standup buffet at same hotel. Many of the foreign guests at the event expressed to The Nanjinger appreciation for what they perceived as a great effort to assist with the importance of networking. Offering a warm welcome at the dinner was Nanjing’s Vice Mayor Jiang Yuejian, who took the time to personally greet and chat with each and every invited guest, a gesture that is rare, to say the least.
At 9.30 this morning, guest numbers swelled in size to a capacity 600, as they passed through security outside the Jinling Hotel’s large conference hall. Flanking either side of the hallway before entering the hall were introductions to the development of R&D institutions in Nanjing. Approximately 75 new research and development institutes, located in Nanjing’s Jiangbei New Area, downtown and around Xianlin have been teaming up local Chinese talent with overseas talent, in order to conduct research and innovate in the areas of science and technology, with a special focus on AI and robotics.
In his opening speech, Nanjing Party Secretary, Zhang Jinghua, said, “We want to build Nanjing into a world famous innovation city, provide new interest institutes… and set an example to support entrepreneurs with top service. We will leverage financial support from the government in order to provide unseasonable financial support for innovation… and we will embrace a better future together”.
Keynote speakers at the conference expressed the importance of embracing a fourth wave of industrialisation and staying committed to an ever-evolving state of innovation. Leaders in their fields of engineering, robotics, science, medicine and education spoke with passion and excitement about China’s openness, cooperation and speed.
“German engineering excellence meets Chinese speed”, said Holger Kohl, Deputy Director of Fraunhofer IPK, in his speech. “We need to understand how manufacturing has changed”.
Nanjing Stuttgart Joint Exhibition Ltd. (Messe Nanjing) is a joint venture between the Nanjing Expo Centre and Messe Stuttgart, with a purpose to manage Nanjing International Expo centre, by bringing International and local exhibitions to Nanjing. Oscar Prat van Thiel, Director of Innovation Fair, helps connect startups with multinationals and provides a platform for cross-industry-innovation application, spoke with The Nanjinger.
“I believe Nanjing has all it takes, all it needs, to become really a world metropolis on the levels of Shanghai, Beijing or cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, but it needs to indeed open up more and it needs to work more closely together, it needs to create eco systems. And eco systems have a lot of intangibles; first of all coordination with all the different parties, this includes of course government, but it also includes the civil society and includes large corporations and especially in terms of innovation. It must have the entrepreneurs who bring to market or contribute to bring to market the considerable and extremely intense research that is taking place in Nanjing, through not least its strength in universities and research institutes.
“So creating such an event definitely has an impact because it brings these actors together and I think this is one of the very well-executed elements; the government chose really well who to participate in this event; it was very well balanced. It was very international; the key players were there and I believe the key elements of the information of who to get in touch with and how to connect were very well executed”, Thiel continued.
In line with the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping’s “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, the Nanjing Party Committee has seized upon innovative opportunities in order to build and develop 15 districts and zones across Nanjing, in addition to allocating large funding for startups as well as bringing in high-tech talent from abroad and at home in order to cooperate and innovate.
Highly respected German Engineer and one of the inventors of VR and AR (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality), Jivka Ovtcharova, said in her speech, “Supporting startups and young people is important to us… and we have the highest level of enthusiasm here in Nanjing”. Ovtcharova also spoke of the development of 5G and a keen interest in further developing 360 degree digitalisation.
Introducing European small and medium-sized enterprises based in Germany to Jiangbei New Area is Charles Chen, CEO of Asia Pacific Berlin Accelerator. He spoke with The Nanjinger about his impression of the conference, “[It’s] a giant necessary event to show how open we are under this new situation. With regards to manufacturing, no longer are we only producing t-shirts; we are developing in all the important areas and have all the necessary support”.
Chen also mentioned, “Letting German technology plug into the wings of Chinese speed”, as well as, “Catching up with Nanjing development express trains”.
UNESCO Chair on Mechatronics, Okyay Kaynak, said in his speech, “Boundaries are eroding. What is new today is becoming common tomorrow… we need to innovate all the time”.
Elsewhere, Wang Junming, Science and Technology Counselor, Embassy of P.R China in Canada, commented, “We need to pull our wisdom together and tackle these challenges… while benefiting human kind should be our main focus”.
Other key speakers and honorary guests included Professor at the University of Gottingen and the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Erwin Neher; Academician of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Vadim Shakhnov; Correspondent Member of the French Academy of Fine Arts, Jean-Francois Collignon; Member of the Norwegian Academy of Technical Sciences, Chen Duan; Australian Computer Scientist, Richard Hartley; Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Tsinghua University, Han Yingduo; President of the Israel-Asian Chamber of Commerce, Matan Vilani; Associate Head of Deakin University, Liu Xiao; Vice-Director of Baumon Moscow State Technical University, Mikhail Kuznetsov; Director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics at Cambridge University, Chu Daping; Deputy Chairman of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, Pavel Komarek; CEA Deputy Representative in China, Pierre-Armand Jaboulay; Director of the Italian Institute of Technology, Ryad Chellali, and the Deputy Director of the Cardiology Research Institute, Shamil Akhmedov.
Together with great efforts made by the Nanjing government, guest speakers and honorary guests, the International Cooperation Conference of New R&D Institutions was, overall, a huge success. It remains clear that after such a short time, massive cooperation between all parties is continuing to lay solid foundations for sustainable innovative growth in the world of Research and Development.