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County Mayor's Diary Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 5:02pm

County Mayor's Diary by Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan

Last week, I led a small delegation to attend Tech Week in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province in China. Tech Week is an initiative to promote cooperation, research and innovation between the city and its partner regions.

Our itinerary involved attending a series of conferences, exhibitions, meeting and other activities.

It was amazing to see Ireland and specifically Cork, represented in such a huge city and economic powerhouse.

Nanjing has a population of 80 million, a GDP in excess of $1 trillion per annum, 53 universities and 120 different research institutes. Cork County Council first sent representatives to establish links in 2013. Our embassy in Beijing and our consulate in Shanghai confirm that Cork County Council is making a significant contribution to promoting Sino-Irish relations through its work in building relationships with Jiangsu.

I was excited to see how these relations are bearing fruit in the world of science.

I visited the Sino-Ireland Research Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Life Sciences. This institute is a collaboration between Professor Finbarr O'Sullivan, Head of the School of Mathematical Science at University College Cork, and local universities in Nanjing.

There I met with Professor Patrick Tan who explained that the Institute is undertaking exciting research bridging AI and life sciences to investigate the potential for novel diagnostic procedures and medical treatments.

Later we paid a return visit to the Nanjing Normal University to meet its President, Professor Chen, where I presented him with a small collection of Cork themed books for the university library. Professor Chen had visited UCC previously and has many warm memories of his short time in Cork.

Building and maintaining a strong relationship between Jiangsu and Cork will be hugely beneficial for both regions. Ireland’s imminent position as the only English speaking country in the EU with access to a market of 508 million people provides Jiangsu with a unique opportunity, and Cork can play a significant role in this. Conversely, Jiangsu’s growing middle class offers a potential market for many of our own exports.

The number of delegations visiting Cork county from China has grown. I’m happy to say that Cork County Council is able to address many of the topics that the delegations want to learn about and we are able to engage with local stakeholders such as UCC, CIT, the CETB, it@cork, and Energy-Cork in helping with others.

Having strong institutions working together to promote the region is one of Cork’s chief assets and I’m privileged to have the opportunity to play a leading role in this work as Mayor.

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