IET President delivers keynote speech at World Robot Conference in Beijing

1 September 2017
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IET President, Professor Jeremy Watson CBE, was presented with an award during the World Robot Conference in Beijing

IET President, Professor Jeremy Watson CBE, travelled to China last week to take part in a series of speaking engagements and meetings.

Professor Watson’s week-long trip began in Chengdu, Southwest China, where he gave a talk on robotics and automation opportunities at a Science on Tap event at one of China’s leading bookshops. The event was organised by the Science and Innovation Network (UK) and the British Consulate General in Chongqing. The 80-strong audience included early career researchers, STEM students and graduates and was watched by more than 3,500 viewers via live stream.


Professor Watson also visited the University of Electronics Science and Technology (UESTC) where he attended an Academic Seminar on Vacuum Electronics alongside Ph.D candidates and young engineers from some of China’s top universities including Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Peking University, Jiatong University, the National University of Defence Technology and Southeast University.


Professor Watson then travelled to Beijing to take part in the World Robot Conference as a keynote speaker. He was one of two international organisational leaders invited to help officially launch the conference, together with the Vice Premier, Ministers and other officials from the Chinese government. His keynote presentation was on “Robotics Research in the UK – Policy and Practice” and attracted national media interest. The presentation was attended by more than 1,000 delegates and was watched online by more than 150,000 viewers. 


At the World Robot Conference gala dinner, the organising committee presented Professor Watson with an award for his special contribution to the conference. Professor Watson also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the IET with Madame XU Xiaolan, Vice President and Secretary General of the Chinese Institute of Electronics. The agreement was witnessed by the Vice Mayor of Beijing and the Vice Minister of MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology).


During his time in China, Professor Watson also had the opportunity to meet Madame LIU Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council, Mr WAN Gang, Minister of MOST (Ministry of Science and Technology) and President of CAST (China Association of Science and Technology), Mr MIAO Wei, Minister of MIIT and Mr CHEN Jining, Mayor of Beijing. In addition to his speaking engagements, Professor Watson also attended meetings with senior representatives from key organisations including the Research Council (UK), UESTC and the College of Electronic and Information Engineering at Tongji University to discuss opportunities for future collaboration.


Speaking about his trip to China, Professor Watson said: "I was hugely impressed by the IET China team, and the way they are adapting the Institution's propositions to best serve Chinese society. In particular, the development of professional standards for Chinese engineers, based on UKSpec, and great work in partnering with local institutions to create high-impact events. My attendance as a keynote speaker at the World Robot Conference - an event that attracted national TV coverage and the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister - is a clear indication of the impact the IET is having in China."