On 11th and 12th April Gothenburg was visited by the Chinese Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (STCSM). The reason was the signing of a declaration of intent or so-called MoU (memorandum of understanding) between STCSM and Business Region Gothenburg. The programme also included visits to Chalmers vehicle- and traffic-safety centre SAFER and the vehicle lab Revere at Lindholmen and at AB Volvo for a demonstration of autonomous heavy vehicles.
The declaration of intent creates opportunities for increased collaboration and exchange between the two cities in the fields of industry, science parks and academia. The main areas of collaboration in the agreement are sustainable mobility and transport solutions, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), life science & geriatric care and energy & environmental technologies.
“We do not want to stick with too narrow an MoU, thus the whole thing has been kept generalised, opening up many opportunities. At an overall level the areas of collaboration are actually the same as those in the partnership agreement. The MoU should be seen as a sub-agreement to the city-partnership agreement, enabling collaboration between STCSM and Business Region Gothenburg,” says Maria Strömberg, Head of Cluster & Innovation at Business Region Gothenburg.
High innovative capacity attracts
Back in May 2017 in conjunction with a delegation from Gothenburg visiting Shanghai to extend the partnership agreement between the two cities, Maria Strömberg spoke about the conversations with STCSM on future collaboration.
A commission corresponds roughly to what we would call an administration, be it a gigantic one – there are 68 universities in Shanghai, 57 of which are funded by STCSM. The remaining eleven are national.
Business Region Gothenburg has previously collaborated with several commissions in Shanghai, including on energy and transport issues.
"But we wanted a commission that works across several fields, because we do a lot of work on innovation issues across several industries and areas. We were then advised to meet STCSM, whose approach is the same as regards research and innovation issues. They naturally read about the ranking of the Gothenburg region's high innovative capacity and the investments being made here, and thought it sounded interesting. It was also STCSM that proposed we draw up a declaration of intent in order to formalise active collaboration with us,” says Maria Strömberg.
Was it pretty much what you envisaged last year?
"Yes, I guess it was. This MoU above all opens up opportunities for Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg in their collaboration with universities in Shanghai, maybe primarily Tongji and Fudan, and in their quest for funding for joint research out in China that includes industry,” says Maria Strömberg.
The declaration of intent can also lead to major opportunities for students at Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg in terms of participating in international exchanges with Tongji University and Fudan University.
Jörgen Sjöberg, a strategic business developer at Chalmers, has overall responsibility for internationalisation and was there when the declaration of intent was signed on Business Region Gothenburg's premises at Norra Hamngatan.
“Chalmers' collaboration with various partners in Shanghai is of great importance both to the relevant parts of Chalmers and to the university as a whole. STCSM's support is valuable, and an agreement with the City of Gothenburg strengthens the conditions for continued positive development,” he says