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Finnish university plans AI research centre in Hong Kong

The H2O centre’s focus is on AI solutions for smart and sustainable cities that help address global challenges such as urbanisation and climate change.University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki has revealed plans to establish an AI-focused technology and research centre in Hong Kong together with local and international partners.

The initiative for the Hong Kong–Helsinki Oasis for Innovation and Technology (H2O) was kicked off by University of Helsinki vice-rector Hanna Snellman at the Finland–Hong Kong Smart Mobility & Communication Day in Hong Kong on 28 November.

The H2O centre will focus on artificial intelligence (AI) for smart and sustainable cities and gives the University of Helsinki a great opportunity to tackle global challenges such as urbanisation, climate change and sustainable development, according to the university’s chancellor Kaarle Hämeri.

“All of these challenges can be addressed with the help of digitalisation and AI,” Hämeri commented. “This work needs wide networks and partnership actions, which we will develop in global research and innovation platforms. The H2O initiative is clearly our spearhead in advancing our global impact.”

H2O will now enter the bidding for the Hong Kong governmental AIR@InnoHK cluster that is to fund 10 AI/robotics research centres connected to world-class research institutions and technology enterprises.

A central objective of H20 for Hong Kong is to be among the world’s first 5G-connected cities and the first fully integrated augmented reality (AR) city. It also aims to connect Finland and Hong Kong in high-tech research that goes beyond 5G for smart cities, with Finland having already funded the world’s first 6G research initiative.

The centre would be developed in strong co-operation with local academia, research centres and industry, with support from Finland from the likes of Nokia, Nokia Bell Labs, Business Finland (Tekes), the City of Helsinki, Team Finland and Finnish industry. The University of Cambridge will additionally collaborate on H2O’s research programmes.

“The University of Helsinki has been a strong partner in RDI for Nokia,” said Lauri Oksanen, Nokia’s vice president for research and technology. “We highly endorse their proposal to establish an international hub for technology and innovation at the H2O centre in Hong Kong.”


Good News from Finland is published by Finnfacts, which is part of Business Finland.

Published on 29.11.2018