The innovative Japanese cities recently visited by Prague City Councillor Daniel Mazur and the chairs of the IT and Smart City Committees, David Procházka, and the Foreign Relations and EU Funds Committee, Jaromír Beránek, have an incredible story of successful transformation from traditional industry to digital services and interdisciplinary collaboration. Prague will now focus on consistently leveraging the inspirational experiences and contacts gathered during the study visits.
The visit of the Prague representatives to the University of Kobe in Japan confirmed the positive impact of the official memorandums of cooperation between universities. Japan officials appreciate that the partnership with Charles University, established fifteen years ago, has so far led to dozens of joint scientific outputs across faculties and scientific disciplines. For example, the possibility of using the Fugaku supercomputer in Kobe was discussed in the context of cooperation with the city. Prague has the highest number of universities, research and technical departments of any Czech city, and bears comparison with world capitals.
Thanks to a partnership agreement between the cities, which dates back to the last parliamentary term, Prague also has similar cooperation with the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. This has proved particularly successful in the case of assistance with the supply of medical supplies during a pandemic, the introduction of robots into teaching in Prague's secondary schools and cooperation between zoos and universities.
"After the successful cooperation with Taipei, we want to focus our long-term attention on inter-city diplomacy, specifically on cooperation with Japanese cities, which we had the opportunity to visit with the support of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Japanese counterpart. During the course of our study visit, we gathered key contacts, especially for support in the launch of the Prague Science and Technology Park, or in the framework of transnational university cooperation on student exchange with a focus on biotechnology, AI development or startup incubation. Japanese partners, on the other hand, want to get inspiration from us in working with urban data and the Golemio data platform," says Daniel Mazur, Councillor for Science, Research, ICT and Innovation.
Since 2017, Prague has had its own smart city development strategy - the Smart Prague 2030 Concept. Thus, it fulfils the long-term Smart Cities concept with the aim of making life easier for the citizens of Prague through the implementation of smart solutions and helps the city management to run the metropolis more efficiently based on data, implementing pilot projects and then translating them into long-term solutions in six thematic areas ranging from transportation to waste management.
"We want to promote the intensive development of student exchanges, foster partnerships between universities in advanced fields, and collaborate in training and experience sharing on the part of officials or employees of city companies and contributory organizations. The people of Prague are open to new technologies and foreign investors can test new solutions on our market before entering larger and economically critical markets," says Jaromír Beránek, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations and EU Funds.
In the past, Prague has repeatedly participated in Europe's largest smart technology fair Smart City Expo & World Congress in Barcelona or Smart City Summit & Expo in Taipei, and this year it took advantage of an invitation from Tokyo City Hall, which was co-organising the new City-Tech.Tokyo expo. Tokyo. To boost interest in business cooperation with Prague, Prague startups need to be visible and supported in their promotion. Last year, the City of Prague hosted a successful mission to its MedTech, AI and biotech partner city Phoenix. In 2021, a mission in the cultural and creative industries with an emphasis on the gaming industry (computer game development) was held in Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey. Cooperation with the partner city Kyoto is being carried out under the IURC (International Urban and Regional Cooperation programme) with the main objective of establishing closer cooperation, exchange of experience and transfer of know-how from non-EU countries to EU cities and vice versa.
"One of my priorities in this term is to focus on the development of the startup environment and the overall support of the private innovation ecosystem. Inspiration can be drawn from a visit to the Cambridge innovation centre (CIC), where there is a high concentration of talent from startups, corporates and the public sector. We need to have something similar in Prague. Centralizing all the discussion within this sector in one place is absolutely crucial for the development of the entire ecosystem," adds David Procházka, Chairman of the IT and Smart City Committee.
"Every year Prague chooses one topic to cover in terms of the business mission. This year, the theme of urban innovation was chosen through City-Tech.Tokyo. This mission had the support and participation not only from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Japan, which hosted one of the side events, but also from the Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry through the CzechInvest and CzechTrade agencies. We look forward to the Japanese delegation from Kyoto visiting Prague next week," concludes Tereza Hrušková, Head of the Foreign Relations Department.
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