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London summit explores future tech collaboration

By XING YI in London | | Updated: 2023-10-16 03:01
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Panel talk experts deep in discussion at the 2023 China-UK Technology Summit in London on Saturday. [XING YI / CHINA DAILY]

The 2023 China-UK Technology Summit in London on Saturday gathered leaders from business and academia, including a Nobel laureate, royal academy fellows, and entrepreneurs to discuss scientific collaboration and the implications of frontier technologies and their potential impact.

Ding Mingqin, minister counsellor for science and technology affairs of China's embassy in the United Kingdom, set the tone for the event with an opening remark that underscored the beneficial nature of scientific cooperation between China and the UK.

Ding highlighted the exponential growth in the number of scientific papers co-authored by Chinese and British researchers over the past decade, rising to the second-highest number worldwide. Data from last year indicated that Chinese researchers had contributed to 11.4 percent of UK research papers.

"Many pragmatic China UK joint initiatives in science, technology and innovation were carried out in recent years, and remarkable results have been achieved through these collaborations," he said. "We have confidence that China-UK cooperation will play an increasingly important role in tackling global challenges in climate change, public health and food security."

Ding Mingqin, minister counsellor for science and technology affairs of China's embassy in the United Kingdom, delivers his opening remarks at the 2023 China-UK Technology Summit, held in London on Saturday. [XING YI / CHINA DAILY]

Tomas Lindahl, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, shared details of his research on DNA fragility and repair mechanisms, and said he "looked forward to hearing about new research performed in China and scientific questions studied in parallel with the UK".

Lindahl also offered advice on how to handle unexpected results from experiments. "It may not mean that you have done something wrong. Perhaps nature is trying to tell you something interesting that you and others have not considered before," he said.

Washington Ochieng, fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said the world is facing challenges arising from multiple aspects, with threats from nature, society and cyberspace combining to create an extraordinarily complex problem.

"That calls for everyone to work together not knowing boundaries, because some of these threats do not know country boundaries ... We must collaborate, we must cooperate now," said Ochieng, who is also the head of department of civil and environmental engineering at Imperial College.

"The Imperial College has probably got the strongest connection with Chinese research in the entire United Kingdom, for which we are very proud," he added. "I don't think we can deny that the world is really facing potentially existential threats ... I hope that we can come up with tangible ways and meaningful ways of collaboration."

Tomas Lindahl, the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, shares his research and recollections at the summit on Saturday. [XING YI / CHINA DAILY]

Following keynote speeches, four panel discussions on urban planning, life science, innovation, and artificial intelligence included contributions from university professors, industry experts, and a mix of entrepreneurs and investors. Several research and business projects were exhibited on the sideline of the summit, ranging from new materials to robotics.

The summit has been organized by Imperial College London Chinese Students and Scholars Association since 2015.

Ian Zhu, managing director of Tou Ying Ltd, a consultancy serving UK-China business, said he was delighted to participate in the summit.

"I am excited to hear insights from an 85-year-old Nobel Laureate, and to see the engagement in the faces of Chinese students and young researchers," Zhu said. "They will one day serve as the bridge in China-UK science and technology exchanges."

George Ye, co-founder and managing director of UBIPOS UK Ltd, an award-winning geospatial science company that participated in the summit, said China and the UK have unique strengths in technology as both countries have world-class universities and innovations clusters around cities, such as London, Oxford, Cambridge in the UK and Beijing, Nanjing, Shenzhen in China.

"What people from both countries like to see is the increase of people-to-people dialogue which will form a solid foundation for continuing and growing new relationships in the tech sector," Ye said.

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