RMIT University and United Nations University are collaborating on smart urban innovation and technology-enabled user engagement projects.
The opportunity was driven by RMIT Europe in Barcelona and United Nations University, Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV) in Guimarães, Portugal.
It will see the exploration of research areas and projects including the development of appropriate governance models as well as legal and policy frameworks when introducing new technologies in both urban and rural areas.
The initial collaboration between the two universities also includes the study and work visit of RMIT Associate Professor Mark Gregory, a telecommunications, security and privacy expert, to UNU-EGOV.
Gregory, who is based in Portugal for two months, said it is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with UNU-EGOV and the team at RMIT Europe on European project submissions.
"We're currently focused on opportunities across public engagement with electronic governance."
Gregory is working with UNU-EGOV's Professor Vitor Fonte and Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen on a Horizon 2020 project submission, the European Commission’s research and innovation funding scheme.
Fonte said it has been a great pleasure to work with the first visiting professor from RMIT to Guimarães.
“We look forward to our future collaborations,” he said.
The work draws on both university’s strengths across applied technology and policy research.
UNU-EGOV's Meyerhoff Nielsen said that these synergies will be of benefit to both organisations as well as their public and private sector partners.
"The initial collaboration is expected to lead to a number of outcomes including joint research proposals, academic exchange and a formal partnership agreement.
"The primary focus of work will be in Europe but the growing presence of both RMIT and UNU in Asia is nonetheless an area of potential collaboration," he said.
Both universities have extensive research and innovation experience in Europe across cities, infrastructure and utilities.
RMIT was recently named a partner in a European research project that focuses on citizens' use of internet and social media as vehicles for participation in urban development processes.
And UNU-EGOV has just finalised its engagement with the Republic of Armenia in setting up a governance model and agenda for the country’s digital transformation.
Story: Karen Matthews