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Busan visit advances landmark innovation collaboration

A Liverpool City Region delegation visited Busan, South Korea this week as part of a landmark innovation deal. The visit saw Liverpool City Region Civic Data Cooperative and Busan Techno Park sign a letter of intent to combine data science and engineering work for health, social and economic advancement.

This follows a visit to Liverpool in June by The Mayor of Busan Metropolitan City and the twinning of innovation activities across the two city regions.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “As areas based around thriving port cities, the Liverpool City Region and Busan have much in common, not least as open and outward looking places.

“However, it is our unique strengths and assets in science and research that continue to attract partners from around the world to want to work with us. But while our region may already be home to leading clusters in life science and AI, we know that global innovation in fast-moving areas like healthcare AI needs large-scale international collaboration.”

“I want our area to be the most digitally connected anywhere in the UK and we can only achieve that ambition by working with partners with the knowledge and skills to help us succeed.

“Working with our partners in Busan, alongside the University of Liverpool, this is an opportunity to supercharge the progress we have made with our ethical Civic Data Cooperative, using data and AI to change our residents’ health and wellbeing for the better – and ensure that we are giving our children the best start in life.”

Professor Iain Buchan, Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Innovation at the University of Liverpool said: “There are remarkable synergies in civic spirit, data and technology innovation between Liverpool City Region and Busan, and we intend to innovate together in developing the AIs that can serve our societies well, particularly in better healthcare, wellbeing and smarter cities.

“The Liverpool City Region Civic Data Cooperative, hosted by the University of Liverpool, and Busan Techno Park will share plans, know-how and AI code for turning data into public benefits and economic growth.”

“We will take a ‘civic AI for life’ approach, covering starting, living and ageing well – giving our children a better start in life through their digital twins growing up in a world where every child deserves a chance to have AIs augment their development; supporting adults of working age to thrive, including their mental health in a changing workplace; and supporting older people to live fulfilling lives, with homes and cities that assist their health and wellbeing while respecting their autonomy.”

The Liverpool City Region is one of only four places selected to take part in the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology led UK-South Korea Innovation Twinning Programme following an evidence-based report published in December 2021 – emphasising the city region’s innovation credentials on an international stage.

This is work is part of a programme to foster innovation and strengthen ties between the United Kingdom and South Korea and is coordinated nationally by the Connected Places Catapult.

By fostering collaboration and knowledge transfer, the programme aims to grow bilateral trade, investment, and technological advancement. It promotes economic prosperity, enhances competitiveness, and creates opportunities for cross-border innovation that address global challenges.

This programme plays a crucial role in strengthening the innovation ecosystem between the UK and South Korea, nurturing transformative technologies and fostering long-lasting partnerships.

“On their visits to Liverpool, I was struck not only by what Busan colleagues have achieved in building a technology innovation city over decades but also how they have done that – with grit and social responsibility – a spirit of working shared with our City Region, and one that is needed to make AI trustworthy in a challenged world – leaving nobody behind,” Professor Buchan added.