The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, MUBIL, and the region’s knowledge agents will have access to this prestigious university’s resources, and will be able to collaborate with institutions in cities like Toronto and Shanghai.
The Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Mubil Foundation, and Media Lab’s City Science from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have signed a collaboration agreement for the creation of the ‘City Science Lab Gipuzkoa’, which will transform the region into an innovation laboratory for implementing mobility projects. Provincial Minister of Economic Promotion and Strategic Projects Jabier Larrañaga, MUBIL General Director Ane Insausti, and MIT City Science Network Director Kent Larson have signed an agreement in Boston to include Gipuzkoa in the ‘City Science Network’, the exclusive collaborative network of MIT-backed cities around the world, including Shanghai, Helsinki, Toronto, Taipei, Hamburg, Guadalajara (Mexico), Andorra, Ho Chi Minh City, and Concepción (Chile).
This international community of institutions and researchers share the common goal “to enable more livable, equitable, and resilient communities.” The ‘City Science Network’ proposes a unique work methodology based on research laboratories in benchmark cities around the world in order to respond to community challenges and assist in moving forward new models for cities and regions. Within the framework of this initiative, these cities are integrated into an international network of cooperative laboratories working together with the MIT Media Lab to develop experimentation-focused research that drives key technology and concept creation, which is then implemented and assessed in real-life environments.
In the case of Gipuzkoa, research work and innovative projects will be focused on mobility, with the aim of promoting the transition towards a new model that meets the needs of residents in the region’s various communities and helps improve their quality of life and well-being.
Likewise, with its economic endowment of 1.2 million euros and three-year duration that can be renewed upon completion, the agreement represents a major push forward for this area’s research and development in Gipuzkoa and Euskadi through on-the-ground testing of solutions and innovative pilot programmes aimed at meeting society’s current and future needs. The region will also be able to access an international community of leading experimentation and research centres with which to connect and cooperate while adopting and implementing new innovative processes and methodologies.
“We are going to be able to collaborate with cities that are already part of this network and learn from their experiences. Networking and mutual learning opens up a limitless horizon of possibilities”, said Ane Insausti, who noted that “this is not just an MIT, Provincial Council, or MUBIL project, rather, the involvement of Gipuzkoa research centres when it comes to creating teams and energising projects will be essential to obtaining successful results”.
The relationship between the MIT Media Lab and Gipuzkoa goes back for some time. The collaboration between MUBIL and TECNUN, the University of Navarre’s school of engineering, has upheld an academic relationship with MIT for years, which led to MIT Media Lab members participating in a MUBIL-organised event with universities, companies, and the region’s centres last April to rethink mobility. As a result, the MIT Media Lab saw great potential in the region, along with ideal conditions for folding it into their international network, including solid R&D capabilities; an appetite for innovation and experimentation driven by the public sphere in close collaboration with the private sector, knowledge centres, and the public; widespread acceptance of public transport; the ever-increasing presence of electric and hybrid vehicles in transportation fleets; and a transition towards the use of soft modes of transport like bicycles, that have been gaining ground against other means of transport.
An event to present Gipuzkoa’s début as a member of this network took place on MIT’s campus in Cambridge, more precisely at the Samberg conference centre, where some 40 Centre representatives were in attendance. The region was represented by Innovation Director Jon Gurrutxaga and TECNUN Director Raúl Anton, whose centre will actively participate in the activities to be carried out at the ‘City Science Lab Gipuzkoa’. Apart from signing the agreement, they were able to better understand the work MIT carries out in Gipuzkoa’s areas of interest such as nanotechnology, quantum technologies, and artificial intelligence through two days of visits and meetings with experts.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considered by numerous rankings to be one of the best and most prestigious universities in the world, and was founded in 1861 with the aim of driving the industrial revolution through innovation, technological development, and human talent. Education, research, and innovation are elements that characterise the institution, which stands as a global leader in knowledge production. MIT Media Lab was created in 1985, and is currently one of the world’s leading research and academic organisations. It endeavours to bring together researchers from diverse campuses that combine a vision of a digital future with a new manner of creative invention. Over the course of its first decade in existence, it has worked on developing emerging technologies that may very well change learning, entertainment, and self-expression in its contribution to the first steps towards a digital revolution.