Virtual Event Series


Co-organised by the Science and Innovation Network Germany (SIN), German U15, Imperial College London and BABLE

26 May – 21 July 2020, 8.30 – 11.00 GMT, 9.30 – 12.00 CET

Register now

Event summary

Why are some cities hotspots for science and innovation and others aren’t? What will be the role of science in future cities after the Coronavirus pandemic? Are universities turning into mini Smart Cities?

Join our virtual event series Universities & Research Organisations – Key Drivers of Future Smart Cities filled with insights from leading innovation experts from Germany and the UK. In our five-part series we will explore the special roles that universities, research and innovation will play in the future of urban areas.  

Listen to short expert lectures from UK and German representatives, take part in the subsequent Q&A and get actively involved through the breakout sessions. In each event, participants will dive deeper into certain aspects of the respective topic, meet with professionals working on similar issues and share personal experiences. Participants of the event series are keen on engaging internationally and see potential in cross-national cooperation.

The event series is co-organised by the UK Science and Innovation Network Germany (SIN), the German U15, the Imperial College London and BABLE, a young Morgenstadt spin-off facilitating innovation in cities.


Each event will be structured as follows:

Format Duration Summary
Inputs 45 minutes Two well-focused statements of 10-15 mins. each (one German, one British expert), 15 mins. Q&A
Breakout Sessions 1 hour Participants discuss specific themes in virtual groups – supported by a moderator. The overall aim is an exchange of best practices and the identification of the most relevant research topics as well as potential areas for cooperation.
Aggregation, Discussion & Conclusion 30 minutes Aggregation of the discussions within all Breakout Sessions.


+++ Speaker information will be updated regularly +++

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Post Corona Future - The Role of Cities & Universities

The Corona pandemic is globally a huge shock to societies and cities are often particularly affected by the virus (e.g. New York, Madrid). At the same time, it reinforces, accelerates and changes existing megatrends for cities: their role as hotspots for science and innovation, as labs for social trends, as hotspots for start-ups, as trendsetters and masterminds for politics. In our first session we’ll be addressing key questions like:

  • How do we define future cities and what will Corona change?
  • What will be the role of science in future cities after Corona?
  • What are the most pressing questions for innovative cities in future?
Setting the Scene
Photo of Alexander Schmidt
Alexander Schmidt

CEO & Co-Founder

Photo of Dr. Jan Wöpking
Dr. Jan Wöpking

Managing Director
German U15

Photo of Dr. Olaf Kranz
Dr. Olaf Kranz

Head of Science & Innovation Germany, Switzerland & Austria
British Embassy Berlin

Photo of Pierre Filohn
Pierre Filohn

Organisational Development & Communication

Photo of Pierre Filohn
Heather Kerst

Senior International Relations Officer (Europe)
Imperial College London

Photo of John Holden
John Holden

Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects
University of Manchester

Innovation District Manchester

Photo of Maria Habigsberg
Maria Habigsberg

Project Manager Talent I Science Marketing, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

Brain City Berlin

Photo of Matthias Kuder
Matthias Kuder

Spokesperson for Higher Education and Research Governing Mayor of Berlin Senate Chancellery

Brain City Berlin

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Approaches to Transform Cities into Smart Urban Areas

Which political/strategic programmes for future cities are in place – in the UK, in Germany and in other countries? Which role do research and innovation play in this context?

Photo of Robert Huggins
Robert Huggins

Professor of Economic Geography and Director of Research and Innovation at the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, and Director of its Cities Research Centre

Innovation, Cities and the Pandemic

Photo of João Porto de Albuquerque
Professor João Porto de Albuquerque

Director of the Institute for Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick, UK
Turing Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute, UK

Citizen Cities. Previous projects clearly show that urban transformation is only successful if citizens are involved in a transparent and participatory way. We want to take a look at how this happens - using examples from the global South.

Photo of Karen Esser
Karen Esser

Project Manager PR & Communications, Potsdam Science Park, Standortmanagement Golm GmbH

Potsdam Science Park

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Innovation Districts: Cities as Hotspots for Research and Innovation

How does the urban research and innovation ecosystem work? Why are some cities hotspots for science and innovation and others aren’t? How do society, universities and start-ups successfully work together?

Towards a London-Munich innovation network

Universities as drivers of European R&D ecosystems

Imperial College London and Technical University of Munich (TUM) are committed to developing mechanisms and programmes to link the Imperial and TUM research and innovation ecosystems, including the White City Translation Campus of Imperial and the Garching HighTech Campus of TUM.

University leaders and professors from both institutions will describe the vision for these campuses, the ways in which they engage the communities in which they are located, and how the universities are fostering innovation by bringing together business and industry, academic, and community actors to address local and global challenges. Start-ups and other innovation agents from these and other UK and German universities will engage in a panel discussion afterwards to explore best practices for creating successful innovation ecosystems.

The White City Translation Campus, Imperial College London

White City is one of the most exciting, dynamic and rapidly changing parts of London.

It is becoming a pioneering quarter for arts, culture, innovation, science and learning – with resident organisations including the revamped BBC Media Village, the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Imperial’s White City Campus is a platform for innovation and entrepreneurship bringing together world-class researchers, businesses and partners from academia to work, share ideas and turn cutting-edge research into benefits for society.

The Garching HighTech Campus, Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Garching is one of the most prominent R&D campuses in Germany. Located north of Munich, it constitutes the center of natural sciences and technology at TUM. With more than 12,000 students at five departments, it is the largest of all TUM locations and also home to the TUM Institute for Advanced Study, the TUM Graduate School, the Munich School of Engineering (MSE) and an extensive Entrepreneurship Center. High-profile research institutes at Garching include the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre. Moreover, it also includes an extensive mix of public research and private business-led research, with General Electric's only European research centre based in Garching.

  • Setting the Scene by University of Hamburg
  • 15 min impulse by White City and short Q&A
  • 15 min impulse by TUM and short Q&A
  • Start-Up Panel
  • Open Discussion
Setting the Scene
Photo of Wolfgang Maennig
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Maennig

Professor of Economics,
University of Hamburg

Photo of Pr. Maggie Dallman
Pr. Maggie Dallman

Vice-President (International),
Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) and
Professor of Immunology,
Imperial College London

White City

Photo of Pr. Neil Alford
Pr. Neil Alford

Associate Provost (Academic Planning),
Imperial College London

White City

Photo of Pr. Dr. -Ing. Gebhard Wulfhorst
Prof. Dr. -Ing. Gebhard Wulfhorst

Chair of Urban Structure and Transport Planning,

Smart Mobility: Urban Innovation Clusters for Sustainable Development

Photo of Pr. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger
Prof. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger

Vice President for Entrepreneurship,

Smart Mobility: Urban Innovation Clusters for Sustainable Development

Photo of Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews,

Imperial College London

Photo of ShaoKai Hong
Respire Diagnostics

ShaoKai Hong,

Imperial College London

Photo of Ekaterina Grib

Ekaterina Grib,

Technical University of Munich

Photo of Pedro Gómez

Pedro Gómez,
CEO and Co-founder

Technical University of Munich


Tuesday, 7 July 2020

University Campus and Research Architectures of the Future – Are University Campuses Turning into Mini Smart Cities?

How does the future campus looks like? In many future cities the campus is the nucleo for innovation: research, start-ups and living take place together.

Setting the Scene by BABLE, British Embassy & German U15 10–15 minutes
3 Speaker Keynotes 45 minutes
2 Start-Up Pitches + Q&A 15 minutes
Breakout Sessions 30 minutes
Summary 15 minutes
Photo of Karsten Menzel
Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Karsten Menzel

Institute Director, Chair for Bauinformatik, Technical University of Dresden

Universities as Living Laboratories
- Experience what you design(ed) -

Photo of Lucelia Rodrigues
Prof. Dr. Lucelia Rodrigues

Chair in Sustainable and Resilient Cities, Director of Transport, Mobility and Cities @ Nottingham, University of Nottingham

Decarbonised Communities and the Cities of the Future

Photo of Suntje Schmidt
Prof. Dr. Suntje Schmidt

RWTH Aachen, Professor for Economic Geography (until 9/2020),
Leibniz-Institute for Research on Society and Space / Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, S-Junior Professorship for Applied Economic Geography and Head of Department “Dynamics of Economic Spaces” (currently on leave, returning 10/2020)

Beyond Transfer – Universities as ingredients in problem-centred solutions?

Photo of Nima Torabi

Nima Torabi,
CEO & Co-Founder

Liberatii was founded in 2019 in Southampton (UK) and is a database virtualisation company that helps enterprises change their SQL database provider without having to change the application they use. Using a real-time query translation technology, Liberatii reduces the time, cost and risk of re-platforming enterprise applications to different cloud databases. Therefore enterprises can reallocate the savings on higher impact areas for growth.

Photo of Kourosh Atefipour
Valkyrie Industries

Kourosh Atefipour,
CEO & Co-Founder

Valkyrie Industries is enabling touch interactions for Virtual and Augmented Reality. Our patent-published wearable haptics technology allows natural interaction, sensations of touch, weight and resistance in the virtual simulations. With this technology having the opportunity to be applied to multiple industries, our initial applications are in immersive training for heavy industries, including chemical, automotive, space/aerospace and construction.


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Open Science, Open City, Open Society – Interactions between Science, City and Society

Universities and cities have been separated areas for many centuries - now they are growing closely together. Only together can society and universities maintain the trust in facts and truth and avoid populism or fake news.

  • Which forms of exchange are there for cities, science and society in future cities?
  • Which role does society play for science?
Photo of Helmut Dosch
Prof. Dr. Helmut Dosch,

Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors, Hamburg

Science City Bahrenfeld

Photo of John Alexander
Councillor John Alexander

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Leader of Dundee City Council

Scotland’s Smart Cities – Taking the Collaborative Approach

Photo of Mark Mon-Williams
Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

Professor of Cognitive Psychology
Director of the Centre for Immersive Technologies, University of Leeds
Director of the Centre for Applied Education, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Data driven societal benefit in the 'City of Research'

Photo of Prof. Ana Basiri
Prof. Ana Basiri

Chair of Geospatial Data Science and UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Glasgow

Citizen science: an inclusive approach to sense and research cities

Further Information

How can I join the ‘Universities & Research Organisations – Key Drivers of Future Smart Cities’ virtual event series?

Sign up here if you would like to join one or several of our virtual events. Once you have successfully registered, you will receive a confirmation email from us. We will send out emails with a link to the online event platform Remo for each of the upcoming events closer to the date. These emails will also contain all relevant information e.g. options for breakout sessions and technical requirements.

Who organises the ‘Universities & Research Organisations – Key Drivers of Future Smart Cities’ virtual event series?

The virtual event series is co-organised by the UK Science and Innovation Network Germany (SIN) , the German U15, the Imperial College London and BABLE, a young Morgenstadt spin-off facilitating innovation in cities.

Logos from SIN Logos from BABLE Logos from the British Ambassy Logos from Imperial College of London Logos from German U15

More questions?

Just get in touch with us - we are happy to help.

Natalie Wolf
Natalie Wolf
Event Coordination