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Northumbria to devise new global eco-innovation system for North East

20th December 2016

Northumbria University, Newcastle, is collaborating with one of the world’s top universities to devise a new global eco-innovation system for the North East.

The partnership with Tsinghua University, based in Beijing, and start-up funding provider  Cocoon Networks, was initiated by Professor Yu Xiong of Northumbria’ Newcastle Business School. It was announced as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing agreement between Tsinghua University Science Park Group (TusPark Group) and Newcastle City Council to help forge closer ties between the North East and China.

Founded in 1911, Tsinghua University consistently tops a range of international higher education rankings, the latest US News world rank put it as No. 1 globally for engineering.  It also boasts a number of high profile alumni including current President of China, Mr. Jinping Xi, former President Mr. Jintao and numerous senior politicians and scientists. Tsinghua University Science Park group owns over 30 science parks, including the largest science park in the world, and 100 incubators.  It holds £10 billion assets globally. 

As partnership initiator Professor Xiong said: “This collaboration aims to bring in resources and innovation to the North East, and link the regional innovation system with the largest science park network in the world via a cross-border eco-innovation system.  We are also delighted to be working alongside Newcastle City Council in the partnership with Tsinghua, one of the top global universities. Northumbria is already playing a leading role in developing commercial relationships and collaborative opportunities between China and the UK, and this announcement serves to extend our role.

“Innovation is the key to unlocking these vast opportunities, so to be working with the best is extremely exciting for us, Newcastle City Council and the North East businesses that we are engaging with.”

Professor Yu Xiong is a leading researcher in technology and operations management, and a Fellow of Tsinghua University’s China Science and Technology Innovation Policy Centre. He is also a director of Cocoon Networks, which recently launched a 7,000 square meters building in London as its UK innovation network base.  Professor Xiong will now bring this network to North East as he develops a regional innovation system.

The MoU was also attended by Professor George Marston, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Northumbria, and was presented with a gift by Mr. Shugui Wang, the Executive Vice-President of TusPark Group.

Dr. Yunming Shao, the Senior Investment manager of TusPark Group, said:” Newcastle and the Northeast is a fantastic place for innovation collaboration with industries including healthcare, sub-sea technologies and bio-science. We are committed to bridge the innovation system in the North East with the innovation system in China in terms of technology, capital, and markets. “

Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cllr Hazel Stephenson said: “It was a pleasure to meet with the delegation from Tsinghua University, and to hear about their research expertise and specialisms. We look forward to developing our collaborative partnership, and to working with them in the future.”

The MoU was signed by Ms. Pat Ritchie, the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, and Mr. Shugui Wang of TusPark Group. It was attended by innovation leaders across this region including Lord Mayor or Newcastle city, Cllr Hazel Stephenson, Mr. John Zai, CEO of Cocoon Networks, Mr. David Coppock, North East Regional Director for Department of International Trade, Mr. Robert Hamilton, Principal Economic Advisor of Newcastle City Council, Mr. Tom Warburton, Director of  Investment and Development, David Coppock, North East Region Director, Department for International Trade, Vince Taylor, Head of Policy and Strategic Partnerships, Sunderland City Council and Hans Möller, Innovation Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, attended the ceremony. 

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