New agreement will see closer collaboration between Belfast and Sejong

Connected Places Catapult welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Belfast City Council and Sejong City in the Republic of Korea, which aims to foster greater collaboration between the two city regions with areas including smart cities technologies, supporting small businesses, and the exchange of academic research.

Guests attended a dinner and reception at Belfast Castle hosted by the Lord Mayor. Connected Places Catapult facilitated a roundtable where discussions of working together to identify tangible collaboration opportunities were had. Delegates from Sejong were also shown several of Belfast’s key innovation assets including the Weavers Cross transport-led regeneration project, and the innovation centre Catalyst.

Two further Memorandums of Understanding are also being signed during the visit: between Sejong Technopark & Invest Northern Ireland to promote trade and business; and between Queen’s University Belfast and Korea University around cybersecurity.

Greater collaboration between the two cities promises to unlock new business opportunities for innovative SMEs and identify research opportunities and cross-city learnings.

Belfast is one of four places selected to take part in the Government’s UK-Republic of Korea Innovation Twins Programme, delivered by Connected Places Catapult. The other three pairings are Glasgow – Daegu; Liverpool City Region – Busan; and Birmingham – Ulsan.

Innovation Twinning supports the development of meaningful, long-term, city-to-city relationships. The creation of mutually beneficial partnerships have the potential to unlock international market opportunities, shared research initiatives and deliver on policy agendas of growth, inclusivity and sustainability.

The innovative twinning programme supports the development of meaningful, city to city relationships with a view to establishing mutually beneficial practical partnerships between Belfast and Sejong. It aims to help to unlock international market opportunities, offers the opportunity to share research initiatives and aims to create positive policy changes to deliver sustainable growth and carbon neutral cities.

“This Memorandum of Understanding between Belfast and Sejong marks the start of a longer-term collaboration, to develop sustainable relationships that deliver tangible outcomes, creating jobs and growth in both regions.

The scale of the opportunity is large, with the potential to unlock new business and research opportunities for innovative companies, and cross-city learning. Connected Places Catapult is delighted to have helped broker this relationship through the Innovation Twins programme that we are delivering.”
Connected Places Catapult’s Chief Executive, Nicola Yates OBE

This agreement represents a strengthening of ties between cities of the UK and the Republic of Korea. Last summer, the two countries signed a Bilateral Framework covering trade and investment, approaches to Net Zero and science, technology and innovation links. As the UK and the Republic of Korea celebrate 140 years of diplomatic relations, opportunities for partnership has never been stronger.