UW News

September 23, 2015

UW and Shanghai Jiao Tong University forge international collaboration on smart cities

Photo of memorandum signing

UW Department of Electrical Engineering Chair Radha Poovendran, SJTU President Zhang Jie and UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce discuss creating smart cities.University of Washington

Leaders from the University of Washington and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), one of China’s most prestigious public research universities, signed an agreement Wednesday to work together on “smart cities” research, teaching and collaborations.

Smart city innovations use sensors, data analytics and other technologies to elevate the safety, health, resilience, prosperity and quality of life in urban areas, where an increasing number of people around the world live. Those wide-ranging solutions include sensors showing real-time air pollution data around schools, smart parking apps that cut down on circling and congestion or GIS mapping technologies to manage water more efficiently.

Read about another new UW collaboration with China’s Tsinghua University and other partners to climate-smart, low carbon cities.

The new memorandum of understanding between the UW’s Department of Electrical Engineering and SJTU’s School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering lays the foundation for collaborations aimed at producing smart, connected and sustainable cities in both countries. It was signed in Seattle by UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce and SJTU President Zhang Jie, as well as respective deans and department chairs of the two universities.

“There are tremendous opportunities to use the innovations created in our universities to shape the future of our cities, creating a cleaner, more sustainable future for all of us,” Cauce said. “Through agreements like this, we will foster a spirit of collaboration that will help us solve the world’s most challenging problems together.”

Recently, the UW and the city of Seattle joined a new network of city-university partnerships under a new U.S. White House Smart Cities initiative. Similarly, SJTU is working closely with the city of Shanghai in advancing smart city research and development. The two universities have also had a history of collaboration, at the individual faculty level as well as successful exchange programs.

“I am extremely excited about the collaborative opportunities between two of the finest universities in the U.S. and China,” said Zhang. “We look forward to building upon the already successful programs between SJTU and UW and making the ‘smart cities’ a banner program for trans-Pacific collaboration.”

The new agreement provides a framework to discuss and explore the following potential collaborations:

  • Establishing an International Joint Research Lab to create a strong trans-Pacific partnership to develop smart cities technology and infrastructure
  • Smart city research, publications, industry collaboration and other activities
  • Opportunities for faculty, government employees and industry partners from the two countries to exchange information through lectures and talks
  • Educational degree programs and training materials

Successful smart cities innovations grow out of collaborations among diverse cities and communities, which can learn from one another, share resources and support mutual progress.

“This is the start of a strong partnership in the exciting smart, connected communities domain,” said Radha Poovendran, chair of the UW electrical engineering department. “I look forward to an excellent collaboration and building strong global collaboration networks.”

For more information, contact Brooke Fisher at bfisher@ee.washington.edu.