On 12 February 2016, 50 academics, policymakers and industry leaders from across Europe have been brought together at Huawei’s first-ever European Academic Salon, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. The discussion focused on the future direction of innovation, and its implications for how universities and businesses work together. Professor Xiaolan Fu, TMCD Director, gave the keynote speech, presenting her research on international innovation collaboration and university-industry linkages between emerging market MNEs and foreign universities.
The Huawei Innovation Research Program (HIRP) is a mechanism for open collaboration between Huawei and academic institutions, which offers long-term project funding to academic partners. The HIRP Flagship project focuses on industrial applications of key technologies. Top scholars are invited to help address major technological challenges facing both the ICT industry and academics involved in research. The first HIRP Flagship projects were launched in Europe (Germany and the UK) in 2010. A great number of funded projects were initiated with European institutions, including the University of Kaiserslautern, the Technical University of Berlin, FAU, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Southampton.
Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey, UK, commented: “The UK is home to some of the world’s leading education institutions as well as a thriving tech sector, and partnerships between businesses and universities are crucial for ongoing innovation in technology, science and engineering. Huawei’s European Academic Salon will encourage academics and industry experts to work more closely which will help boost the UK’s standing as a technology leader.”
Chen Lifang, Board Director and Senior Vice-President at Huawei, remarked: “It is only through persistent innovation that breakthroughs will come from the collaboration of industry and academia; and for innovation to work we must be prepared to make and accept mistakes on the path to success. Over the next 20 years, we aim to bring industry and academia together in ever closer collaboration, and use new technologies to build a Better Connected World. This is the motivation for setting up the European Academic Salon. ”
Julian David, CEO of techUK, added: “At techUK we represent the companies and technologies that are defining the world we will live in tomorrow. Innovation is at the heart of the UK’s thriving tech sector and our world leading universities play an important role in maintaining our position in the global digital economy. That is why I am particularly pleased that Huawei chose London to host its first European Academic Salon to foster closer dialogue and cooperation between business and academia. It is critical that companies and universities work collaboratively to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of future technology development.”
The European Academic Salon showcased the Huawei Innovation Research Program (HIRP), the company’s flagship funding initiative which provides backing for leading universities and institutes conducting research in communication technologies, computer science, engineering, and related fields. In Europe Huawei has invested 57 million Euros (more than £43m) in R&D collaboration in the past 3 years, to support more than 400 research projects.