Belfast and the Administration Capital of Republic of Korea, Sejong City have pledged today, 29 April 2024, to collaborate on research, business and projects that harness urban innovation to support growth in their respective regions.

A Belfast delegation led by Lord Mayor Councillor Ryan Murphy has visited:

  • The National Research Council for Economics, Humanities, and Social Sciences (NRC), Korea’s national think tank,
  • Sejong Technopark,
  • The Sejong Centre for Creative Economy & Innovation; and
  • The Smart City centre, which manages Sejong’s city operations.

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “Harnessing innovation is a crucial part of a successful Belfast economy. So, when Innovation City Belfast – a partnership between Belfast’s main institutions – proposed that we should join the Innovation Twins programme, Belfast City Council gave the initiative its full support.

“It’s been fantastic to celebrate the signing of an Innovation Twins Roadmap with Sejong. This will support mutually beneficial learning in areas such as satellite and cyber security, urban mobility, net zero, innovation, trade, and investment.

“The Roadmap, which we’ve developed with Connected Places Catapult, will contribute to both cities’ sustainable growth ambitions, and deliver benefits for citizens, businesses, and institutions.”

Mayor Choi, Sejong said: “We are delighted to partner with Belfast as our ‘innovation twin’ city. Sejong is the first city in the world to achieve international recognition as a smart city.  We are building our knowledge and expertise to be the future strategic capital of the Republic of Korea and welcome the opportunity to partner with Belfast to achieve our ambitions.

“We believe there are rich opportunities for research and commercial collaboration between our two cities, by collaborating on proposals outlined in the Roadmap we can accelerate both cities’ ambitions for economic development, trade and investment and, most importantly, enhance lives and opportunities for our citizens.”

Dr Stephen McCabe, Head of Project Delivery at Queen’s University Belfast’s Momentum One Zero innovation centre, said: “Through our Queen’s-led innovation centres in advanced manufacturing, clinical research and secure, connected digital technologies, we’re growing research and innovation capabilities for businesses across Northern Ireland and beyond. A key part of that is about building partnerships to help to transform our region’s digital economy.

“It’s an exciting time for Belfast and Northern Ireland to build international collaborations to allow us to leverage our region’s strengths to grow trade and exchange knowledge with the rest of the world.

“Queen’s University has had long-standing engagements with South Korean research organisations for many years and most recently we have seen the success of a mutual commitment with Korean University Sejong on cybersecurity to drive transformative advancements in the field. We look forward to building on initiatives like these through the Innovation Twins programme.”

Innovation Twins builds upon existing cyber-security collaborations between Korea University Sejong and Queen’s University Belfast; and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sejong Technopark and Invest Northern Ireland.

During the current visit, Belfast’s Catalyst is signing with Sejong Technopark to support opportunities for Belfast’s innovators and entrepreneurs. While Sejong’s Climate Neutrality Centre is signing an MoU with the Belfast Climate Commission to work towards a Green City Accelerator for local industry.

Innovation Twins Roadmap