CHINA (SHANGHAI) INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY FAIR
The strategic importance of sectors related to science, technology and innovation is a priority in the agenda of Italian and Chinese Governments. The attention that China pays to the Italian innovations both in the scientific and technological fields was demonstrated through the invitation to participate at the China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair as Country Guest of Honor, which was held in Shanghai from the 21st to the 23rd of April. The participation of the Minister Stefania Giannini as the representative of the Italian Government underlines the strategic importance, stated within the Joint Statement - signed last November in occasion of the China-Italy Science, Technology & Innovation Week - of the bilateral cooperation in scientific research and high technology sectors as an incentive for the sustainable economic and social development. The Shanghai Fair’s sectors were comprehensive and diverse: they were ranging from new information technologies to energy conservation, from emergent industries to environmental protection. In this event that gathers a wide range of fields, Italy decided to present itself in a unique manner through the Smart City theme – on which there is a growing interest from both governments, as the Ministry of Education, University and Research Stefania Giannini and the Ministry of Science and Technology Wan Gang’s speeches have confirmed. Almost all innovations of the new century converge in the topic of smart cities, since the cities metabolize the bulk of emerging technologies. The smart city is able to expand such technologies for the benefit of the community. In China, the Smart Cities sector is attracting a growing interest of the central, provincial and local Governments. The Chinese cities compete with each other for the Smart Cities’ role and title in order to obtain the funding made available from the government and they are constantly searching for international partnership (mostly European) for managing the procedures and for developing innovative solutions. In Italy, the Ministry of Education, University and Research-MIUR promoted, and is still conducting, an important action on the Smart Cities and Communities and Social Innovation field. With an investment of 655.5 Million Euros, Italy is at the second place in Europe after the European Commission, for the implementation of special programs in the sector of smart cities. Launched in 2011 with the first call limited to the Southern Italy regions, it was completed in 2012 with a second call for developing a set of product and process innovations, in 16 sectors of the contemporary society in which 2 consortium for each sector are involved: • Land safety • Aging society • Welfare technologies and inclusion • Building automation • Justice • School • Waste management • Sea technologies • Health • Transport and mobility • Last-mile logistics • Smart grids • Sustainable architecture and materials • Cultural heritage • Water management • Cloud computing for smart government Italy took the precious opportunity of the Shanghai International Conference to present to China an integrated Italian system, through the participation of a qualified delegation coming from universities, research centers and enterprises. Each day of the Fair was intense and enriched with activities: the exhibition area represented the core of the event, where Italy had at its disposal two areas for the presentation of its own excellences, of which one was dedicated to the smart cities projects supported by MIUR, whose participation was coordinated by Città della Scienza. Many relevant activities were held to encourage the dialogue during the event, among which a Roundtable on the bilateral scientific and technological cooperation, a Roadshow on the internationalization of Italian enterprises in China and B2B meetings. Moreover, there was no lack of exchange opportunities for discussing the activities scheduled in 2016 and for discussing the activities of the Bilateral Centre of Technology Transfer. The results obtained by the Italian participation to the technology Fair were widely positive and this was confirmed not only the profound interest of both governments to carry on and to intensify the bilateral cooperation activities, but also by the universities, research centers and enterprises’ interest in having more exchange opportunities with the Chinese counterparts.