New networks created at the seminar on STI cooperation in Smart Cities held in Santiago de Chile

EU-CELAC Bi-regional seminar on STI cooperation in Smart Cities was held on September 10th in Santiago de Chile at the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT). The event was organized by UniPID/FinCEAL in cooperation with CONICYT, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Energy Center at University of Chile. The high-level event enjoyed the support of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, ÁgoraLab at Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil), EU-CELAC Senior Officials' Meetings STI Working Group on ICT for Societal Challenges as well Team Finland and several relevant ministries in Chile.

The 1-day seminar gathered together over 100 experts on Smart Cities from industry and academia, as well as Government representatives and other stakeholders from EU and CELAC countries to present and discuss current challenges and successful practices in the implementation of Smart City initiatives, especially in the areas of smart transport and smart energy production and use. The seminar aimed to provide a platform for developing joint innovation and research cooperation initiatives, to promote the use of new technologies and technology transfer for sustainable economic and social development.

The event was opened by the President of CONICYT, Mr. Francisco Brieva, followed by a speech by Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs, Mr. Jan Vapaavuori. Representatives of the Chilean Ministries of Transport and Energy also gave opening comments. The welcome speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the current state of affairs in the Smart City domain in Latin America, Europe and globally, moderated by Counsellor of Education Tiina Vihma-Purovaara from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. Jarmo Eskelinen, President of the European Network of Living Labs and CEO of Forum Virium Helsinki gave an inspiring presentation of cities as communities, and the possibilities of open innovation. Socio-economic inequality and the subsequent social fragmentation of the urban landscape, as well as political discontinuity were identified as some of the major problems Santiago is facing in the implementation of Smart Cities initiatives, as explained by Enzo Abbagliati, Coordinator of the Smart City Plan at the Regional Metropolitan Government of Santiago. On a more positive note, Prof. Boyd Cohen of Universidad del Desarrollo, gave interesting examples of current Smart City developments in Latin America, highlighting Latin American cities’ potential to create their own innovative and exportable solutions to the challenges the region’s mega-cities are facing as opposed to simply implementing ideas and solutions designed elsewhere.

In the afternoon, the group divided into two parallel sessions, focusing on Smart Transport and Energy solutions for urban areas. Manuel Olivera, Regional Director for Latin America at the C40 and Alberto Paradisi, Director of Innovation at CPqD (Brazil), gave the Latin American perspectives on the topics of transport and energy, respectively. European and Finnish outlook and case examples were brought forward by Martti Malmivirta, CEO of Eera Ltd and Kerkko Vanhanen, Head of Information Systems at Helsinki Region Transport (Smart Transport), and Research Professor Miimu Airaksinen from VTT (Smart Energy). Representatives of Aalto University, Federation of Universities of Applied Sciences, Tampere Technical University, University of Eastern Finland, VTT and UniPID also participated in the seminar proceedings. The day concluded with a dinner hosted by Energy Center of University of Chile, offering a more informal networking opportunity for experts from both regions.

On September 11th, part of the Finnish delegation had the opportunity to bring the information shared at the seminar to a more practical level by visiting the Smart City Santiago showroom and IT company Sonda.

UniPID warmly thanks co-organizers University of Chile, VTT and especially CONICYT for hosting the event. Special thanks also to Team Finland for their support, and all the Finnish speakers and participants for their active engagement. UniPID hopes that the event has managed to create links that enable more cooperation between our countries and regions in the near future.

See also the event featured at CONICYT web pages (in Spanish) and at University of Chile's Energy Centre's web pages (in Spanish, with a lot of nice pictures!).

Download the programme and the concept note of the seminar.

Seminar booklet of participating Finnish institutions available here.

Photos: CONICYT/Kajsa Ekroos