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Cambridge is not just an attractive destination for tourists and students. The city also has a worldwide reputation for turning science and technology into commercial successes which in turn attract many people who are keen to learn the secrets of that success.
Every year, Cambridge Enterprise receives numerous requests to host visits by delegations from universities, public sector organisations and commercial companies. The initial focus of the visitors is often on how Cambridge Enterprise supports the commercialisation of the University’s research results, but after some discussions the scope is usually expanded to include the wider Cambridge eco-system both inside and outside the University. Aspects that are covered include entrepreneurship education, university-business collaborations, science parks, incubators, accelerators, and of course Cambridge’s successful technology companies, with ARM plc being a particular favourite.
Although visitors have come from places as diverse as Brazil, Germany, Russia and Taiwan, most are from China. The Chinese government, at both national and provincial level, is keen to develop a strong knowledge economy, and there are many universities in China that aspire to Cambridge’s standards, not only in education and research but also in generating economic and social benefits through technology transfer and commercialisation.
A regular partner in such visits has been CGE Education (now part of CL Global), which is based in Cambridge and Shanghai. CGE frequently brings groups of around 45 MBA students from universities such as Shanghai Jiaotong and Peking University to the UK for study tours that include a half-day introduction to Cambridge Enterprise, the University and the wider Cambridge Cluster, with a visit to St John’s Innovation Centre or ARM to round it off.
Visiting Cambridge Enterprise and hearing about the Cambridge Phenomenon has given our MBA/EMBA students valuable insights into the factors behind the successful commercialisation of research results. The Cambridge Enterprise team is very welcoming, knowledgeable and professional.Allen Hao,CEO, CL Global
Such short visits can obviously only give a brief taste of how Cambridge works, so some visitors ask for a longer programme. For example, Airbusiness Associates, the training arm of Airbus, has twice brought groups of senior officials from the Chinese aerospace sector to Cambridge for programmes that each lasted two days. These not only encompassed presentations on relevant research within the Department of Engineering and Cavendish Laboratory, sessions at the Institute for Manufacturing and meetings with local companies, but they also included cultural elements such as guided tours of the city centre, a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum and, of course, dinner in one of Cambridge’s famous Colleges.
After all, there’s no better place to celebrate our sharing of the secrets of Cambridge’s success than in the historical surroundings that first gave the city its worldwide reputation.