China – Finland ICT Alliance – Boosting R&D&I Cooperation
Development of the China – Finland ICT Alliance
The kick-off for the China Finland ICT Alliance took place in Beijing and Shanghai in April 2009. In Beijing, in the 1st China Finland ICT Alliance Conference, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Wan Gang and Finnish Prime Minister, Mr. Matti Vanhanen addressed the great importance of research and development as well as industrial and governmental cooperation in ICT and related areas between China and Finland. From the Finnish side the basis of the Alliance has been built by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, who have allocated initial funding and provided expertise through its offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The initial jointly chosen key research themes are future wireless access, future networks and energy efficiency, and future mobile and ubiquitous services.
In November 2010, the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding (MOU) for the Finland-China Strategic ICT Alliance Cooperation was signed in the Joint China-Finland Science and Technology Committee meeting at the Ministry of Science and Technology of China in Beijing. On Finland’s behalf, the agreement was signed by DIGILE (formerly know as TIVIT). The signing partner in China was WICO, the Shanghai Research Center for Wireless Communications, appointed as the coordinator at the China side by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST). In September 2011, DIGILE was appointed by Tekes to coordinate and further develop and the China – Finland ICT Alliance at the Finnish side.
Joint vision towards R&D&I partnership
The China – Finland ICT Alliance is meant to become an open, scalable and sustainable platform for cooperation in ICT and digital services. This is increasingly important today as digitalization has become a key enabler of innovation in industry and society. While creating new business opportunities it will also help in addressing the future challenges related to environment, energy, traffic, wellbeing, health and aging population, and in creating future urban environments.
The complementary expertise and capabilities in China and Finland facilitate very rapid creation, testing and scaling up of new innovations in areas of mutual interest. The cooperation will involve key international partners from the EU but is meant to be open also to other parties.
Joint work was initiated in three areas of common interest: Future Wireless (Connection), Future Wireless Networking and Core Network, and Future (Ubiquitous) Services.
The projects in these areas have produced a substantial number of results, such as joint publications and standardization proposals, and involved various activities, such as joint workshops and researcher exchanges. Each project is described in more detail in Projects section.
In the next stage the ICT Alliance new ICT and digital services research themes will be added based on joint interests. New modes of cooperation are also being developed including linking to other bilateral and international activities.
Partners in the current projects include a number of key Chinese and Finnish universities, research centers and companies. In addition to the already active players, the China Finland ICT Alliance aims at attracting and increasing the involvement of companies, universities and research institutes among those who want to deepen the bilateral cooperation in R&D&I for the creation of successful results together. The areas will be identified, discussed and further specified in a joint process.
DIGILE and China
DIGILE (formerly know as TIVIT) is a Finnish Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation in ICT that was founded in 2008. The basis of DIGILE’s activity is defined by the strategic research areas laid out by the 46 leading Finnish ICT companies and universities that together own DIGILE. Facilitating and coordinating international R&D&I collaboration in relevant initiatives and research programs that aim at major impact is one of the key activities of DIGILE.
China has been carefully defined as a priority for international collaboration, and the China Finland ICT Alliance has been specified as a key instrument. The China Finland ICT Alliance can also act as a “hub” linking China Finland activities to a wider European context. The European Union is one of the largest market areas in the world. DIGILE plays an important role in European key ICT initiatives, such as Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP), and collaborates closely with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) ICT Labs. DIGILE works closely with Finnish collaboration actors in China, and specifically with the FinNode China network and its members such as Tekes, Finpro, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education and others.
In the coming years the ICT cooperation remains highly relevant as information technologies are among the seven priority industrial areas. In addition, the role of ICT-based products and intelligent services is essential for addressing many of the grand industrial and societal challenges identified in the 12th Five-Year Plan. The development of the ICT Alliance cooperation will build on the results and established relationships when moving forward in addressing future and global challenges and the needs in business and society.