More than 200 personalities from the scientific, technological, university, business and diplomatic spheres in the cities of Barcelona and London participated in the Barcelona Innovation Day / London last Thursday.
The aim of the event, organised by SciTech DiploHub, was to “strengthen the relationship between the two knowledge ecosystems and share good practice in research and innovation”. This is the second edition of a series of forums to position the ecosystem of research, innovation and higher education in Barcelona, the first of which took place last year at Harvard University.
During the meeting, Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City Council, and Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London, agreed on the importance of strengthening the bridges between the ecosystems of Barcelona and London, taking advantage of the existing links between research groups, universities and companies. For his part, Manuel Muñiz, Secretary of State for Global Spain, highlighted “the central role of science and technology in the current geopolitical reconfiguration and Barcelona’s leadership and scientific diplomacy in attracting talent in fields such as biomedicine, photonics and data science”.
The conference was attended by leading figures from the knowledge and diplomatic sectors, including all the university rectors and directors of the research centres in the two cities, personalities from the UK and Spanish governments and the Catalan government, the London and Barcelona city councils, the presidents of the main business associations and executive directors of technology startups, among others. More than 300 bilateral meetings have been held between the different participating institutions.
During the interventions, numerous speakers highlighted the importance of science diplomacy, especially in times of pandemics, and the benefits generated by the increasingly close links between global cities. In this sense, participants agreed that global cities are leading the new era of science and technology diplomacy.
The forum also enabled the launch of the Barcelona Alumni England Chapter, the community of scientists, researchers, technology experts and innovation professionals trained in Barcelona and currently based in London, Cambridge and Oxford. The growing network of Barcelona Alumni now has over a thousand members, two hundred of them based in the UK.