The Global View

London lab aims for next-gen city innovation

A new lab in London is aimed at helping university and industry researchers work together to develop “the next generation of smart-city infrastructure.”

The London Node, based at Imperial College London’s Imperial West campus, will “support innovation throughout Europe for economic growth and to improve quality of life,” said Willem Jonker, chief executive of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology’s (EIT) ICT Labs.

“London will be a key part of the Europe-wide EIT ICT Labs ecosystem,” Jonker said. “This is not just a project, but a long-term strategic investment. We are addressing Europe’s challenge of translating our excellent education and research, to turn it into economic value.”

“The rate of technological acceleration in London has never been faster, and it is critical that we establish this center to take advantage of that process,” added London Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse. “We are a rapidly growing city, and we must learn to re-engineer and rationalize the strains created by this growth. We can use ICT to solve problems — and commercialize them — creating wealth.”

Malthouse continued, “The UK has been great at inventions, but not good enough at commercializing them. Establishments like this in the heart of Imperial’s new campus, with a focus on commercialization, are very welcome. Science and technology will create many jobs for London over the coming years.”

The lab will enable startups, spinouts and established businesses alike to co-locate with academic experts at Imperial West. Together, they will work on innovations in cloud computing, cyber-physical systems and other ICT technologies that can help to improve health and well-being, urban living, mobility and energy use.

In addition to Imperial, other organizations leading the London Node include UCL, Intel and BT. Additional support will come from Vodafone, IBM, the University of Edinburgh and the Institute of Sustainability.