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H&F partners with Barcelona to connect world-leading innovation hotspots

Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Barcelona City Council have announced a major new partnership that will boost both cities’ innovative districts. The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – one of the key architects and sponsors of the White City Innovation District, in collaboration with Imperial College London – signed the historic deal in a virtual ceremony last month.

This international agreement will enable the two councils to work more closely together and build upon their world-class innovation districts – the White City Innovation District and the 22@ District. The two entrepreneurial hotspots are currently home to some of the world’s most exciting start-ups and fast-growth companies in the areas of life sciences, biotech, medtech, cleantech, engineering, cyber, quantum computing and foodtech.

This new alliance will include iconic partners such as Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, as well as universities located in the city of Barcelona and the 22@ Network association. The collaboration is also hoped to provide a boost to foreign investments and jobs.
At the virtual signing in March, H&F Leader Cllr Stephen Cowan, commented: “This agreement brings together two powerhouses of the 21st century economy. Our Industrial Strategy is based on partnerships and has already helped deliver over 6,000 new jobs in the tech, media and medical sectors. So, we are delighted to now extend such partnership to like-minded colleagues elsewhere in Europe with whom we have so much in common, including our shared focus in ensuring that all local residents will benefit from inclusive and sustainable economic growth.”

Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor Jaume Collboni added: “This agreement between two of the leading international innovation ecosystems will allow us to generate new synergies to enhance the exchange and mobility of talent, technology and capital between two sister cities such as they are London and Barcelona. These elements are key to facilitating the diversification of our economies and making the transformation of the economic model we are working on a reality in 2030 and with which we hope to create 60,000 new jobs in 22@ alone.”

The collaboration agreement will see events and workshops held throughout the year, with the first, which will take place in May, focusing on digital inclusion. One of the key partnership goals, in collaboration with Barcelona Activa and the City Promotion area, will be to connect 22@ and the White City Innovation District on an international scale with other innovation districts and economic clusters.

Leader of H&F Cllr Stephen Cowan virtually signing the agreement with Barcelona City Council

According to the international positioning rankings, Barcelona and London are ranked in the top 10 for global competitiveness, technological cities of the future, attractive cities for entrepreneurs, foreign investment projects, sustainability, scientific production, reception of foreign investment in technology systems and business schools.

Reaction from the White City Innovation District community

 “The new partnership between Hammersmith & Fulham and Barcelona and 22@ is an exciting development for our White City Innovation District. Imperial looks forward to inspiring, and being inspired by, our entrepreneurial colleagues in Barcelona.

Professor Mary Ryan, Interim Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise), at Imperial College London

“This collaboration between White City Innovation District and 22@ Barcelona partners two world-class growth clusters in London and Barcelona, offering significant opportunities for global business development, talent recruitment and knowledge exchange. This initiative brings together two great city innovation hubs, and we’re very excited by the potential for DnaNudge as we continue our expansion into international markets.”
Regius Professor Chris Toumazou, co-founder and CEO, DnaNudge

“Most technology-based ventures have aspirations beyond their home market so this new collaboration provides an excellent opportunity to engage more with others in a leading European city. For example, businesses and entrepreneurs can now look to benefit more from the relative strengths of each location by sharing knowledge and skills, managing operations, pursuing innovation, discovering new markets. The creation of an environment to enable this kind of exchange is a natural next step for the industrial strategies of both H&F and Barcelona.”

Richard Broyd, Advisory Director at Blenheim Chalcot

“For a startup like Vivan Therapeutics that has developed a personalised cancer therapeutics platform and is planning to scale substantially in the next year, this MOU opens the door to opportunities with other innovators, investors and potential patients in Barcelona.”
Laura Towart, Founder and CEO at Vivan Therapeutics