Politecnico reinforces its partnerships in China
After over three years, in April and June 2023, two delegations from Politecnico di Torino travelled to China to pay visits to its principal partners, conduct a comprehensive review of ongoing projects, and formulate strategies and future steps in various lines of cooperation. For numerous partners, these visits mark the first institutional in-person interactions with foreign delegations since the beginning of 2020.
"Throughout the three long years of remote collaboration with China, we have endeavored to maintain close ties with our Chinese partners, even promoting initiatives such as the PoliTo WeChat Official Account and the PoliTo Alumni Association in China. This effort, combined with the renewed possibility of face-to-face meetings, has yielded solid relationships that we have perceived during these recent missions. Further trips and meetings are planned after the summer to further develop the many emerging projects," commented Prof. Michele Bonino, Director of the China Center PoliTO.
The first delegation visited China between April 11th and 22nd, comprising Michele Bonino, Roberto Pagani, Professor from the Department of Architecture and Design-DAD and former Scientific Attaché at the Italian Consulate in Shanghai, and Marco Begani, Regional Manager for China at the Politecnico di Torino. They were accompanied by the PoliTo doctoral students who had returned to China at the beginning of the year to pursue their research activities: Francesca La Monaca, Ling Xiang, Lu Xian, and Lidia Preti.
Among the notable engagements, the delegation visited Tsinghua University in Beijing, a valued partner for over 15 years in the fields of architecture and energy. During this meeting, the renewal of the Joint PhD program, active for the past five years, was successfully signed, and discussions revolved around crucial objectives for joint research. Further visits were dedicated to exploring the new campus of the New Energy Vehicle Center (NEVC), Beijing Jiaotong University, and Vector Architects, where the esteemed founder, Gong Dong, had recently served as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Architecture and Design. Notably, the delegation also visited the Shougang Olympic site, where, in collaboration with Tsinghua University, the Politecnico had previously played a pivotal role in designing the Visitor Center for the 2022 Winter Games.
In the next visits, the delegation engaged with the Harbin Institute of Technology, where the Politecnico di Torino is actively developing a new study program focused on "Sustainable and Smart Construction." Subsequent visits to partner institutions in Shanghai, including Tongji University, with which a Joint Institute is being established, and Shanghai Jiaotong University, further solidified the collaboration. In the Greater Bay area, the two stops in Guangzhou and Shenzhen strengthened the strategic collaboration with South China University of Technology and Sustech School of Design. Furthermore, a new cooperation was initiated with Shenzhen University.
During the institutional mission, Politecnico di Torino representatives actively participated in the Italian Research Day in the World events, organized by the Italian Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai. During the events, the Politecnico di Torino, in collaboration with La Venaria Reale Conservation and Restoration Center, presented the inaugural documentary from the series " Restoration road, an initiative that seeks to foster cultural exchange and the practice of heritage conservation between Italy and China. Three original documentaries explore the theme from various perspectives: architecture, cities, and landscapes. The Savoy Residences, the industrial renewal of Ivrea, and the landscape of Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, three UNESCO World Heritage sites representing excellent examples of heritage restoration, are all encompassed within an area smaller than the city of Beijing.
The second event, held in Shanghai on April 17th, titled "Climate Neutral and Smart Cities: A Challenge for Italian and Chinese Cities," was organized by the Consulate General in collaboration with Politecnico di Torino. The event featured contributions from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS) and the Association of Italian Academics in China (AAIIC). Furthermore, with the support of the Consulate General of Italy in Guangzhou, Politecnico di Torino launched a project in partnership with the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital. The project aims to design a relevant exhibition on breast cancer prevention, between art and technology, scheduled to open in October.
A second delegation, composed of Marco Begani, Angelo Bonfitto, a professor from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a member of the Interdepartmental Center CARS@PoliTO - Center for Automotive Research and Sustainable Mobility, Francesca Palazzo, project manager of the Office for Development and Educational Innovation, and Stefano Favelli, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, met with several institutional university and industrial partners in the automotive sector. The main objective was to discuss the progress of ongoing projects and establish new lines of collaboration. In Beijing, the delegation met with representatives from NEVC - New Energy Vehicle Innovation Center and the BIT - Beijing Institute of Technology. In Shanghai, they engaged with the School of Automotive Studies and the College of Transportation Engineering at Tongji University. Additionally, in Shanghai and Ningbo, PoliTo delegation met with several major industrial players currently leading the development of New Energy Vehicles. This sector is a significant driver in the Chinese market and is expected to have a substantial impact on the global automotive industry in the coming years. The topics discussed covered various areas, ranging from vehicle control and management systems to batteries and autonomous driving. The potential projects span diverse domains, including training, bilateral and applied research. Notably, in this regard, the delegation received active support from the company IC&Partners in Shanghai, both in terms of business development and legal assistance.
In Chongqing, the delegation met with CAERI - China Automotive Engineering Research Institute, an existing collaborator with the Polytechnic Institute, for an update on ongoing activities and to chart a roadmap for future endeavors.