Innovation exchange takes root in Washington state

Updated: 2016-09-26 11:39

By Linda Deng in Seattle(China Daily USA)

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Innovation exchange takes root in Washington state

A global innovation partnership between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University has taken its first step toward becoming a reality.

The University of Washington (UW) and Tsinghua University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) on Friday in Bellevue, Washington, east of Seattle.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee spoke, as did Luo Linquan, consul general of China in San Francisco; King County Executive Dow Constantine, UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Tsinghua University President Yong Qiu and others.

With early support from Microsoft, GIX is now accepting applications for the inaugural fall 2017 class, with students able to apply for UW's master of science in technology innovation (MSTI) degree and the GIX dual master's degree.

An initial cohort of students began studies in the dual master's degree program in Beijing this fall and will join newly recruited students in Bellevue in the fall of 2017.

The GIX campus is located in Bellevue's Spring District, and is just 10 miles from the UW campus in Seattle and three miles from the Microsoft main campus in Redmond. The new GIX building will feature design studios, a large makerspace, electronics prototyping labs, and spaces for collaboration and presentations. It is scheduled to open for the 2017-2018 school year.

"GIX provides a unique platform to tackle global challenges in health, sustainability and social innovation," said Vikram Jandhyala, UW's vice-president for innovation strategy and UW co-CEO of GIX. "Breaking ground is a great way to celebrate the concrete progress we're making across a number of fronts to bring this program to fruition."

One year ago on this day, President Xi Jinping, during his first stop in Washington state, on his first state visit to the United States, presented a dawn redwood tree as a gift to GIX at Microsoft.

"The rare and precious plant grows fast. It bears blessings from the Chinese government and President Xi himself as Tsinghua alum," Luo said. "It is his hope and the hope of the Chinese government that GIX, with care of all partners, will grow faster and produce talents who will make contributions to the future development of both nations."

GIX will be the first time that Tsinghu has established a physical presence in the US.

"In the face of global challenges related to the environment, resources and health, we need to cooperate across national boundaries to find solutions.

"GIX creates an innovative education model that will facilitate international and interdisciplinary integration for technological innovations. It will be a multilateral open platform to cultivate young global leaders with technical talent, an entrepreneurial spirit and social responsibility," said Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong.

"We are very proud of our longstanding ties with China. And Tsinghua University is the pacesetter for innovation in China and (in) its role as a base for China's scientific and technological advances," UW President Ana Mari Cauce said.