Past S&TDC Events

Since 2014, we have planned many activities, on which we decided in a democratic way. In the following, you find reports on past S&TDC events, which were held in different locations.

Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle Year End Event 2017


After 11 successful activities throughout the year, the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle gathered for the last time in 2017 at its year end event. Over 30 members of the S&TDC as well as representatives from participating institutions met at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston to celebrate yet another successful year. The Year End Event was organized by the Dutch Consulate in Boston.

After opening words of Walter de Wit, Consul of the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and remarks of Marie-Claude Francoeur, Quebec Delegate to New England-Boston, participants held a toast. The S&TDC members thanked Switzerland and the Netherlands for chairing the S&TDC in 2017, and expressed they are looking forward to the next year ahead which will be chaired by Quebec.  

Throughout 2017, the S&TDC visited companies, organizations, research institutes and universities such as The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, General Electric, MassRobotics, Harvard Innovation Labs, IBM Cyber Range, CIC & Venture Cafe and Northeastern University. The visit provided S&TDC members further insights into the broad spectrum of science and technology and allowed members to make new connections in the Boston area. The activities had an average of 23 participants per visit. Representatives from 36 different countries participated in the events.

Countries: Austria, Bavaria, Brazil, Canada, Catalonia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Quebec, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Participants: 38

Event date : December 6, 2017

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Visit to ISEC, Northeastern University

ImageOn October 30th, 15 members of the Boston Consular Corps visited Northeastern University's new Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC). The ISEC is a 220,000-square foot innovation ecosystem uniting scientists and engineers under one roof, aiming to promote cross-disciplinary initiatives and creative partnerships. The visit to the ISEC was kindly organized by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

The visit started with an introductory speech on Northeastern University's vision of education by professor Nadine Aubry, dean of the College of Engineering. This speech was followed by a presentation of Professor Tomasso Meldio, who presented on Northeastern University's Internet of Things (IOT) Research Centre and the role of IOT in our current society. Afterwards, Eric Stewart, Operations Director at Northeastern University, provided a tour of the ISEC building. He explained that visibility and interaction were the key concepts for designing the 220,000 square foot building. Members of the S&TDC also visited the Robotics Cluster lab and the Cybersecurity Cluster lab, where respectively Professor Hanu Singh and Professor Alan Mislove explained the attendees about their research and recent innovations and developments.

The visit was rounded off with an interactive session with several Professors at Northeastern University and the 15 representatives of the consulates. The members of the S&TDC had the opportunity to engage with deans and professors working in the fields of electrical & computer engineering, cybersecurity and robotics. Furthermore, it was discussed how the consulates and Northeastern University could strengthen their ties and further collaborate in the future.

Participants/Countries: Catalonia, Delegation du Quebec, France, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, MOBD, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Number of participants: 15

Event date : October 30, 2017

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Science Diplomacy Workshop at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

ImageOn August 24th several S&TDC members formed a panel to talk about their work during a Science Diplomacy workshop at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Earlier this year the S&TDC visited the Fletcher School to learn more about their efforts in the field of Science Diplomacy. The workshop was co-organized by Prof. Paul Berkman (Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University) and Prof. Lawrence Susskind (Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT). The workshop aimed to provide participants with an understanding of science diplomacy.

Members of the S&TDC were invited to form a panel to motivate the participants to undertake careers in science diplomacy and have an opportunity to talk about their own work. Participants of the workshop had the opportunity to meet with professionals engaged in science diplomacy in the Boston area and to get a better understanding of science diplomacy in practice. Science diplomates of Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom kindly offered to participate in the panel. Prof. Paul Berkman was moderating the panel and the introduction was provided by the delegation of Quebec. As co-chair of the S&TDC, Marie-Claude Francoeur talked about the importance of Science Diplomacy and introduced the panel members.

The science diplomats briefly described the work they do in the Boston area and answered several questions from Paul Berkman and the audience. The Consulates talked about how they are connecting the innovations ecosystems of their home countries to all the innovation opportunities the Boston area has to offer. The panel members seem to have motivated at least one of the students to become a science diplomat, since the first question of the audience was regarding possibilities for PHD-students to work at the various consulates.

After the panel discussion, there was a networking session with the panelists, the other S&TDC members and the participants of the workshop. During the reception, many participants had the opportunity to talk individually with several Consular Staff members.  

Countries: Delegation du Quebec, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Participants: 18

Event date : August 24, 2017

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IBM Cyber Range Visit

On July 31, 2017, a group of 24 members of the Boston Consular Corps found their way to Cambridge, where the brand-new IBM Cyber Range is located. The visit was kindly organized by the German Consulate General in Boston.

The Consular Staff was welcomed to IBM, everyone was then delegated to the X-Force Command Center, where IBM conducts simulations of cyber-attacks and how to deal with them. the visit then commenced with a Cyber landscape and Threat briefing given by Caleb Barlow, Vice President Threat Intelligence at IBM. Caleb explained how innovative and sophisticated cyber criminals have become, and to what ends they will go to gain your data. Additionally, Mr. Barlow informed the room that the X-Force Command Center in Cambridge processes more than four billion security events every day. The combination of the X-Force Command Center and the introduction provided by Mr. Barlow left its impression on the Consular Staff.

After the kind and interesting introduction, the Consular Staff was treated to a presentation by Chris Crummey, Executive Director X-Force Outreach. Mr. Crummey answered some burning questions that had arisen so far. The German Deputy Consul General wondered what the weakest link in the security process and culture of a company was, to which Mr. Crummey firmly answered that it was the human being that is almost always the weakest link. He also stressed that one tiny weakness in the system was enough for cyber criminals to breach the system, and that cyber security at IBM is viewed as a business problem more than a technical issue.

While Mr. Crummey was giving his presentation one of the phones in the X-Force Command Center went off, little did the S&TDC members know that a simulation of a cyber security incident and its aftermath had just started. For the next hour, the Consular Staff were employees of the virtual company Bane & Ox, which had been subject to data leaks. Multiple phones went off at the same time and the Consular Staff had to react, Mr. Crummey showed how IBM’s Watson detects the threat and how it can help solve the problem. The simulation felt very real, even generating stock price changes and tweets based on the actions taken by the S&TDC members. A special mention goes out to the representatives from the Belgian and UK Consulates, who held a mock press conference as representatives of Bane & Ox company. The visit was concluded with some final remarks provided by Mr. Crummey and a group picture inside the X-Force Command Center. Several Consular Corps members stayed after the session to speak with some of the IBM staff.

Countries: Bavaria, Belgium, Canada, Delegation du Quebeq, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland,Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA

Participants: 24

Event date : July 31, 2017

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Harvard Innovation Labs Visit

ImageOn June 15th a total of 27 members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle paid a visit to the Harvard Innovation Labs (Harvard i-labs). The visit was kindly co-organized by the Consulate General of Canada and the Consulate General of Japan in Boston. This event also represented the first event under the co-chairs of the Quebec Government Office in Boston and the Holland Innovation Network.

Matthew Guidarelli, the Associate Director for Social Entrepreneurship at the Harvard i-labs, explains that the i-lab fosters cross-disciplinary and cross-university collaboration by accepting students from all twelve Harvard Schools. Additionally the i-lab is co-governed by each of the Deans of Harvard and the Provost. Currently only 30% of the i-lab occupants originate from the Harvard Business School, 70% of the students are from the other Harvard schools.  Matthew explains that this centralized approach differentiates the i-lab from other University entrepreneurship centers and strengthens the ideas and ventures originating from the Harvard i-lab.

Matthew elaborated on and showed the visitors the different parts of the Harvard i-labs. The original Harvard i-lab was founded in 2011. The i-lab is exclusively available for Harvard students and can be used free of charge. In the fall of 2014 the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab opened its doors, offering support to Harvard alumni entrepreneurs. In 2015 the Launch Lab was expanded and added space for 35 more alumni startups. The Launch Lab is open for all start-ups with at least one founding member who is a graduate of Harvard. Since the fall of 2016 the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab offers shared laboratory space for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups. Startups founded by Harvard Faculty, alumni, students and postdoctoral scholars are eligible for the Life Lab.

At the end of the tour Alice Ly, the Associate Director for Health and Sciences, answered several questions of the S&TDC visitors. One of the interests of the Consular staff was the international expansion of the Harvard i-lab. Alice explained that the i-lab management only recently started thinking about internationalization and a clear strategy is yet to be determined. At the end of the visit the Consul General of Mexico expressed, on behalf of all the S&TDC members, their gratitude to the Swiss Consul, Felix Moesner, for founding and leading the S&TDC.

CountriesAustralia, Bavaria, Canada, Delegation du Quebec, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Wallonia-Brussels

Participants: 27

Event date : June 15, 2017

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MassRobotics Visit


On May 31, 2017, a group of 16 consular staff found its way to Boston's Seaport where MassRobotics is based. The visit there was kindly organized by swissnex Boston. It represented Switzerland's last event as a co-chair of the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle, which was founded by the end of 2013 by the Swiss Consul Dr. Felix Moesner. From June 2017 on, the S&TDC is co-chaired by the Consulate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Quebec Government Office in Boston.

The S&TDC group was welcomed by Fady Saad, Co-Founder and Partnerships Director of MassRobotics, who gave an extensive introduction on the robotics innovation hub's history and mission, and then provided some insight into current trends in the robotics sector. Fady Saad explained that the non-profit organization mainly came to life because its co-founders realized that substantially more technology is created than can be commercialized. In robotics it is not that difficult to develop a prototype, but one cannot bring a "half-cooked" product on the market, so it has to be tested and verified comprehensively, Fady Saad said. This is why MassRobotics, having started operations in 2015, focuses on startups which are in an after-prototype stage. It provides them office as well as lab space, a social and robotics community platform, and access to strategic partners in order to improve their product. Because of this specific focus on advanced startups, MassRobotics calls itself a "startup escalator". The non-profit is financed via partnerships with strategic partners and via startups' membership fees.

After the presentation and a lively discussion driven by a lot of questions of the S&TDC visitors, Fady Saad showed them the office and lab space, and a few of the projects the domiciled startups are currently working on. American Robotics, a startup which develops drones for commercial farming and recently raised a substantial amount of money in a seed round financing, is based at MassRobotics, for example. Some consular staff stayed after the tour, investigated the robots displayed and exchanged with present startup people.

Countries: China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, USA.

Participants: 16

Event date : May 30, 2017

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New General Electric Headquarters Visit

ImageThe second S&TDC event in April 2017 brought a group of diplomatic missions' staff to the new GE headquarters in South Boston. The event was kindly initiated by the Honorary Consulate of Liechtenstein and coordinated by swissnex Boston.

The GE conglomerate operates among others in the sectors of Oil/Gas, Current, Automotive, Aviation, Renewable Energy, but also Healthcare, Life Sciences and Software Development. In 2016, GE decided to move its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Boston and more than 175 staff have been working here since summer 2016. The company is temporarily residing in a historic brick house building in Fort Point until the new 28,000 square meters complex being built in the same neighborhood is finished in 2018.

Jim Waterbury, Vice President and Mergers & Acquisitions Counsel, gave an interesting insight into GE's decision to move its HQ to Boston and highlighted the city's advantages such as the big number of highly ranked universities and the thriving innovation ecosystem. This was the right environment for the transition towards a digital industrial company to GE. The Vice President also mentioned GE's close collaboration with academic institutions and accelerators in the area and the new building's concept to provide convening and public space to connect more with various stakeholders. Jonas Svedlund, General Counsel, and Erdogan Cesmeli, Executive Director, of GE Ventures then gave insight into the company's growth and innovation business investing in and giving expertise to startups in the fields of Healthcare, Energy, Software and Advanced Manufacturing.

In the end, Melissa Jordan, Community Leader, and Jim Waterbury led the diplomatic delegation through the new open workspace in the temporary headquarters which will be driven forward in the new complex. Many of the participants then joined the following networking session.

Countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA.

Participants: 29

Event date : April 12, 2017

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The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Visit

ImageOn April 6th, the S&TDC visited The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and learnt about its effort in the growing field of Science Diplomacy. The event was kindly co-organized by our colleagues from Mexico and the United Kingdom. A big group of 30 participants joined in order to learn more about the oldest exclusively graduate school of international affairs in the United States.

The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy was founded in 1933 in the middle of the Great Depression to provide a professional education in international relations in an actually isolationist time. Today, Fletcher offers several master degree programs in the three divisions International Law and Organizations; Diplomacy, History and Politics; and Economics and International Business and is one of the most renowned universities in the field of international relations worldwide.

The diplomatic delegation was welcomed by high-level members of the Fletcher School. Dean James Stavridis introduced to the school's history, goals and future vision. He is a former Admiral of the U.S. Navy and a Fletcher alumni heading the school since 2013. Paul Berkman, Professor of Practice in Science Diplomacy, then talked about his experiences as a science diplomat for the good governance of regions beyond jurisdiction - namely the Arctic and Antarctica - and the importance of Science Diplomacy in general. Fletcher's Science Diplomacy Club was recently established by Fletcher students and presented to the S&TDC members by its co-founders Aditya Kaushik and Dr. Jean-Christophe Mauduit. Conclusively, Academic Dean Steven Block and the Professors Diana Chigas as well as Kelly Sims Gallagher gave insight into their understanding of Science Diplomacy which led to a discussion with the present Consul Generals about the importance of technological and scientific topics as well as the role of scientists in diplomacy.

Countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA.

Participants: 30

Event date : April 6, 2017

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CIC & Venture Cafe Tour

ImageFinally, the snow-postponed CIC and Venture Cafe Tour could take place on Thursday, March 16th. The event was kindly organized by our Dutch colleagues and not less than 23 participants of 15 S&TDC member countries joined, checking out two important incubators in the Boston innovation ecosystem.

The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) was founded in 1999 out of the founders' struggle with finding affordable and centrally located work space. Gathering some friends, they rented a whole floor together and shared the rent. Today, CIC offers co-working space for about one thousand companies of all size and shapes the community's life by organizing events and enabling networking. CIC now owns eight facilities in Boston and expanded to two other US cities as well as Rotterdam. Sara Mruz and Claire Drummond, Relationship Managers to CIC, kindly gave us some insight into the company's history as well as operations and showed us their diverse and welcoming co-working space.

Venture Cafe, a close partner of CIC, has three locations in Boston. Kevin Wiant, Executive Director of Venture Cafe Foundation Boston, happily gave us an introduction into the non-profit foundation's work. Its goal is to promote the innovation community in the Greater Boston Area. It provides open work space and organizes workshops, talks, and pitch as well as networking events - such as the well-known Venture Cafe Night at Kendall Square. As it was Thursday, most of the S&TDC members took this opportunity and attended this event after Kevin's presentation. The Diplomatic Circle had its own table and diligently networked too.

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA.

Participants: 23

Event date : March 16, 2017

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Internal Roundtable on Best Practices

The Consulate General of Canada in Boston kindly hosted the internal roundtable on Best Practices. The goal of these interesting discussions was to share and compare experiences in Boston's science & innovation ecosystem. Hearing about the approaches others have taken in this area, and learning how each country collaborates with the local universities - as well as how they support startups - was instructive for all participants. Each attendee spoke for a few minutes, outlining the basic features of their country's science relationship with Boston, noting what has worked well and what has not, and why. Many good practices were shared, and the participating members assured each other of continued mutual support. Following that, the remaining time was available for general discussions.

Countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom.

Participants: 17

Event date : February 28, 2017

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Coordination Meeting 2017

ImageWith Cambridge still under the icy grip of winter, the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle convened together to plan the year ahead with its annual Coordination Meeting. The shared interest in science and technology brought together 13 countries. Before the meeting, the representatives proposed and ranked according to their personal preference a number of activities from the great and diverse opportunities offered by the dynamic and intellectual Boston hub.  Then, during the meeting, they went over the many proposals to see which ones gathered the most votes and who was willing, among the S&TDC members, to organize each activity. This enabled the community to set a broadly supported event program for the whole year.  Twelve promising events have been scheduled for the whole year 2017. The activities are mostly going to be organized in a collaboration of different science consulates. With the increasing interest for science and technology related events the last year, the S&TDC Boston looks forward to an exciting season 2017.

On a different note, the Coordination Meeting also marked the stepping down, after four eventful years, of Dr. Felix Moesner (Switzerland) from the leadership of the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle. The baton was passed to the representatives of the Netherlands and the Delegation du Quebec/Canada, who have already started working towards a successful transition as the new Co-Chairs.

Countries: Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Participants: 18

Event date : January 18, 2017

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Year End Event 2016

ImageAfter 10 activities throughout the year, the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle gathered for the last time in 2017 at its year end event. On December 7th, over 25 members of the S&TDC met at the Swiss Residence to celebrate yet another successful year.

After opening words from Felix Moesner, Founder & Chairman of the S&TDC, Angus McQuilken, Vice President of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. Afterwards, Emilio Rabasa, Consul General of Mexico, made some remarks on the importance and value of the activities of the S&T DC for the Greater Boston Area, to which followed a toast to the year that was just concluding and the new one ahead.

While networking, the group enjoyed some finger food as well as national drinks graciously brought over by each of the 15 country in attendance.

During 2016, the S&T DC visited, among many companies, universities, and institutions, the MIT Industrial Performance Center, Microsoft, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems. The visits provided a great deal of interesting insights within the broad spectrum of science and technology related work, together with an excellent community building opportunity among the consular corps, and new useful connections in the Boston area for everyone involved. The activities had an average of 20 participants each, with representatives from 25 different countries participated in the events.

Countries: Brazil, Canada, Delegation du Quebec, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA.

Participants: 35

Event date : December 7, 2016

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Visit of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems

imageThe Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) is an applied research and development laboratory dedicated to building tomorrow's energy future today. The Center belongs to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a leading German organization for applied research. On November 29, the members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Boston (S&TDC) visited the Fraunhofer Center CSE and Living Lab. The S&TDC members were welcomed by Dr. Christian Hoepfner, Director of the Center, who introduced Fraunhofer and CSE's strategies and projects. S&TDC members learned about photovoltaics, smart energy-efficient buildings, and grid technologies and how Fraunhofer CSE provides a platform for deeply integrating distributed energy resources through collaborative research and development with private companies, government entities, and academic institutions. They discussed challenges of introducing new Energy Technologies to the US. The discussions were followed by a unique tour of Fraunhofer CSE's Living Lab and the S&TDC members were able to see new energy technologies, inventions and developments in action. The event closed with networking and a reception.

Countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela.

Participants: 21

Event date : November 29, 2016

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Visit of the Google Campus in Cambridge

ImageGoogle has been present in the Boston area since 2003, and in 2014 it expanded to shift its focus from organic growth to acquisition growth. Today, the Cambridge Google campus occupies 300,000 square feet on 12 floors in the heart of Kendall square, Cambridge's technology and innovation hub.

On October 13, the members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Boston (S&TDC) eagerly discovered the Google campus in Cambridge. The S&TDC members were first welcomed (in a room with walls covered with actual birch bark) by Site Lead Mr. Brian Cusack. He recalled the fascinating and quick growth of the office, which now counts more than 200 employees.

The S&TDC members were then offered a unique tour of the Google Campus. The offices are located around a common area and conference rooms – this design is intended to maximize creative stimulation, optimize idea-sharing and socializing, and just to provide a place to rest after long working hours. During the tour, the S&TDC members discovered a library with portraits of eminent Bostonian personalities on the walls, and hidden amongst the book shelves, secret passages to quiet reading rooms. There was also a fire pole connecting two floors for punctuality (but mostly fun), and fully-equipped music rooms and a video games room. The effort that Google puts toward its employees' well-being and health is manifested by the presence of treadmills at employees' disposal to encourage them to walk more while working. Also, employees are always less than 150 feet away from a micro kitchen, each offering a profusion of fruits and healthy snacks.Image2

After the tour, the S&TDC members were presented some brand new Google tools: the smartphone app "Google Trips", that acts as an offline travel guide, as well as a demonstration of the new entertainment platform, "Google Games."

In a world dominated by technology and digitalization, visiting the heart of Google campus in Cambridge was finally like exploring the place where the magic happens...

Countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain (Catalonia), Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Participants: 18

Event date : October 13, 2016

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Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

ImageIn the middle of the greening of spring and the lakes of the Greater Boston Area, the bioscience hub of Waltham is home to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. By funding startup incubators, financing infrastructure in public schools and granting tax incentives to companies - among other measures - this state-funded investment agency seeks to create jobs and recruit Life Science companies into Massachusetts.

At the beginning of the event, which was kindly organized by the Consulate General of Korea, the Vice President for Communications and Marketing, Angus McQuilken, gave a welcome address followed by an introduction of the S&TDC by the Swiss Consul Felix Moesner. Mr. McQuilken pointed out some remarkable facts about Massachusetts as a Life Science hotspot: More than 113,000 people work in this field in Massachusetts, and there are more than 2 million square meter of commercial lab space in the state. In order to be competitive, Massachusetts relies on five key enablers, these being scientific research, collaborations, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and building infrastructure. To this end, the agency has a budget of $1 billion and a ten-year plan, whose impact is measured by leverage and job growth.

ImageIn the second part of the morning, Mr. McQuilken explained what is necessary for a company's successful market entry to the U.S., and where the MLSC can be of assistance to companies, American and from abroad, seeking to expand in Massachusetts. Unlike their counterparts such as in California and Texas, the MLSC serves players from the full life sciences spectrum, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices and bioinformatics.

Enjoying the beautiful view of the conference room, the very engaged participants had the chance to ask their many questions, which were all competently answered by Mr. McQuilken and Tal Dinnar, Manager of International Programs and Relations.

Countries: Belgium, Canada, China, Ireland, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Switzerland, United States of America.

Participants: 18

Event date : May 17, 2016

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Insight into the Microsoft Technology Center Boston


Microsoft, globally recognized for the harmonic startup sound of Windows computers, is prominently centered in Kendall Square, where the company has established its first Technology Center over 15 years ago. Now, the Center is one of 35 Microsoft Technology Centers that are spread all over the globe.

The participants of this early May S&TDC event were welcomed by Craig Dillon, Director of the Microsoft Technology Center Boston, who introduced Microsoft and its innovation strategy. We learnt how the company currently is deepening its expertise in machine learning, data management, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things - among others. Underlining Microsoft's diverse products and customers, the presentation room is inspired by different working environments. Even more fascinating than this unusual auditorium were the examples Craig Dillon gave of Microsoft applications, which are as broad as disease control, efficient learning, or the creation of new, intelligent surfaces.


For the second presentation, the group changed to the airy setup of the cafeteria lounge, where Joshua Drew, Senior Technical Evangelist for Startups, explained the Microsoft Accelerators, of which there exist seven across the world. He also introduced Biz Sparks, a global startup discovery program that has seen over 100,000 startups yet.

After an inspiring tour of the facility and the demonstration of some of the new Microsoft products, everyone agreed that there is much more behind the four-color window that one might think.

Countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada (Quebec), France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lichtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain (Catalonia), Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Unites States of America.

Participants: 24

Event date : May 3, 2016

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MIT Industrial Performance Center

ImageThe Industrial Performance Center (IPC) at MIT, an Institute-wide research unit based in the heart of Kendall Square, opened its doors to the members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle. After welcoming words, Richard Lester, Associate Provost at MIT, gave an overview of MIT's global activities and outlined MIT's role as global problem solver, catalyst, and magnet. Professor Lester, who oversees the international activities of MIT, explained the concept of the Global Classroom which enables people from all over the world to access MIT lectures through in-place experiences, online courses, or as students in one of the newly established educational institutions built by the MIT outside of the Americas.

Elisabeth Reynolds, Executive Director of the IPC, then introduced the activities of the IPC - the scale up of early stage tech driven companies, for instance - and talked about difficulties startups experience after their first ten years in business. Further IPC research focuses on energy innovation in the U.S., advanced manufacturing, and building innovation capacity in Brazil.

Carlos Martinez, Senior Researcher at IPC, then introduced a project that tries to find out whether and how a university contributes to a region's development and economy. Two projects that were of particular interest to the international crowd of attendees were an innovation accelerating project in Brazil, introduced by visiting scholar Andre Nascimento, and a study on border economics which looks at the innovation ecosystems in Juarez (Mexico) and El Paso (USA).

These intriguing presentations nurtured an engaged Q&A and further individual discussions which were accompanied by some sweets and coffee.

Countries: Belgium, Canada (Quebec), China, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Spain (Catalonia), Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America.

Participants: 27

Event date : April 12, 2016

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Visit of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory CSAIL

ImageThanks to the excellent organization by the Consulate General of Mexico, the S&TDC Boston members had the chance to visit the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory CSAIL at MIT. Lori Glover, Managing Director Alliances CSAIL, warmly welcomed the group. She gave an intriguing presentation about the structure of CSAIL, which is the biggest laboratory at MIT, employing over 1,000 people and uniting eleven different MIT schools. We have learned that CSAIL is a very open lab, demonstrating its philosophy both in interconnected research as well as the architecture and conception of the building, which - designed by Frank Gehry - is an attraction itself. The engaged participants asked many questions concerning patents, the potential of open source, and security issues of artificial intelligence.

In the second talk, Prof. Armando Solar-Lezema gave an interesting insight into how scientists use the power of machines in order to improve and facilitate programming. He presented a program that can give instructive hints about flawed code; a technology that greatly helps teaching assistants when instructing the ever growing number of students how to build good code.

After some refreshments and further discussions about CSAIL's achievements, the group enjoyed a tour of the facility, as well as the great views from the Stata Center's tower.

Countries: Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Canada (Quebec), China, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA.

Participants: 22

Event date : March 17, 2016

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2015 Massachusetts Innovation Index

ImageThe members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Boston had the unique opportunity of attending the first presentation about the brand new 2015 Annual Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy. The report, written by the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, was published a couple of days after the event. Patrick Larkin from MassTech and his team gave a compelling overview of the report, explaining what indicators were used, what conclusions were drawn, and - most importantly - how to interpret these results. It was very interesting to learn about the innovation force of the state, and to see in which categories Massachusetts ranks first (many!), and where it falls behind other innovation-driven states. Following the presentation, there was time for further questions and discussions, networking and refreshments.

Countries: Germany, Belgium, Canada, Canada (Quebec), China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain (Catalonia), Switzerland, UK, USA.

Participants: 24 

Event date : February 25, 2016

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Best Practices

ImageRalf Horlemann, Consul General of Germany in Boston, and Helmut Landes, Deputy Consul General, hosted this year's interesting S&TDC internal meeting on "best practices". The goal of the roundtable discussion was to share and compare experiences made in the Boston science & innovation field. Hearing about the approaches others have taken in this area and learning how each country collaborates with the local universities, as well as the way they support startups, was very instructive for all participants. Each attendee spoke for a few minutes, outlining the basic features of the country's science relationship with Boston, noting what has worked well and what has not, and why. Many good practices were shared, and the participating members assured each other mutual support. Following that, the remaining time was available for general discussions.

Countries: Germany, Belgium, Canada, Canada (Quebec), China, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain (Catalonia), Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Participants: 16

Event date : February 25, 2016

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UMass Lowell Innovation Hub and M2D2


The November visit of the Science & Diplomatic Circle was very convenient for its members. Tom O'Donnell, Director of the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, and Mary Ann Piccard, Associate Director of M2D2, came to Boston downtown to give us insight in their work. The University of Massachusetts Lowell has opened the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in June 2015. The hub is a center hosting technology based startup companies and offering professional programs and networking events. The goal is to increase the likelihood of successful business launch and development among new technology-based businesses in greater Lowell and the Merrimack Valley. UMass Lowell has experience in creating a start-up friendly environment through their medical device incubator, Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2).  M2D2 currently hosts 15 start-up medical device companies in the incubator facility in the Wannalancit Mill in Lowell, and has worked with more than 50 companies during the past four years. Companies affiliated with M2D2 have raised approximately $26 million in private equity funding and an additional $7 million in federal grant and state loan funds. The discussion was organized by the Quebec Government Office in Boston.

Countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada (Quebec), China, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Switzerland

Participants: 11

Event date : October 19, 2015

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Draper Laboratories


Draper is a not-for-profit research and development organization. After a short welcoming from Giselle Procaccianti and Felix Moesner, CEO of swissnex Boston, Eric Mazzacone, Senior Advisor to the President & CEO Strategic Communications, gave a general introduction of Draper. The organization is headquartered in Cambridge, where most of the 1400 employees are located. The lab was founded in 1932 to develop positioning, navigation & timing instruments mainly for space exploration. The lab has been engaged in every NASA manned space mission up to now. Today, the lab has expertise in various fields. Eric Balles, Director Energy Systems, showed current research and industry projects in the field of energy production, distribution, transmission and end use. Subsequently, David O'Dowd, Program Manager Commercial Programs, introduced several interesting projects in health care and biotechnology. The German Consulate General in Boston kindly arranged this informative visit.

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Canada (Quebec), France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, USA

Participants: 12

Event date : November 25, 2015

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The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University


After a summer break, the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle met again on September 28 for a visit of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Operations Director Dr. Mary Tolikas and Administrative Director Dr. Ayis Antoniou gave an introduction of the Wyss Institute's mission. By understanding how living systems naturally solve problems, the Institute aims to create materials and devices that will revolutionize healthcare. In medicine, the Institute is developing innovative materials, devices, and disease reprogramming technologies that emulate how living tissues and organs self-organize and naturally regulate themselves.

In addition, Ayis Antoniou gave some insights about the way the Institute is organized. Rather than independent research group the Wyss Institute is organized in “collaboratories” where researchers working on a project share the lab space. Contrary to other research institutions, the translation into prototypes is encouraged on a very early stage by the advance technology team. A staff unit recruited from the industry with a strong background in entrepreneurship. 

The visit was round up by a short lab tour. Sr. Staff Scientist Dr. Rachelle Prantil-Baun introduced the delegation to organ-on-a-chip technologies using as an example the successful lung-on-a-chip developed at the Wyss. Research Scientist Dr. Anna Waterhouse presented her dialysis-like sepsis therapeutic device and explained the rationale of the product design. Finally, Sr. Staff Scientist Ed Doherty discussed the polymeric discs developed by the Mooney Lab that activate the immune system and destroy tumor cells.

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Canada (Quebec), Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Switzerland, USA

Participants: 16

Event date : September 28, 2015

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Visit to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

On May 18, the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle's visit to Dana-Farber's Cancer Institute began with a tour of the new facilities at the Yawkey Center and Longwood Center Laboratories, along with explanations of the processes of creating and setting up these buildings to not only maximize efficiency, but also to provide comfort and organization for patients and staff at the hospital, as well as to allow space and collaboration opportunities for researchers at the laboratories.

Following the tour, the President and CEO of Dana-Farber, Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, overviewed what the institute does, and discussed how the center's federated system encourages synergy and collaboration, but also inspires the competition that tends to lead to extraordinary innovation. Senior Vice President for Development and the Jimmy fund, Susan S. Paresky, described the various sources that subsidize Dana-Farber, as well as how the institute reaches out to the community with events such as the Boston Marathon to be able to raise all the necessary funds.

Subsequently, there was a wonderful panel of individuals from a variety of research divisions, including Dr. George D. Demetri, Director of the Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, Dr. William C. Hahm, Chief of the Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology in the Executive Committee for Research, Dr. Katherine A. Janeway, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Bruce E. Johnson, Chief Clinical Research Officer, and Dr. Margaret A. Shipp, Director of the Division of Hematologic Neoplasia in the Lymphoma Program. Each shared some details about their cutting edge work into new medicines and treatments, along with the more widespread use of "Precision Cancer Treatment," where doctors must specialize treatment according to the individual. This visit cultivated a deeper understanding between the institute and diplomatic circle, and initiated a conversation about how each might be able to support the other in the future. 

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Canada (Quebec), Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, USA, Germany, Korea, Japan

Participants: 18

Event date : May 18, 2015

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Tufts President & $100k New Ventures Competition

ImageThe Tufts University's startup competition drew entries from recent alumni, faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate applicants from across the university. Topic tracks were Social Impact, General Business and for the first time Life Science/Medical. On April 8th, all finalists and prizewinning startups showed their ideas within a table fair. The S&TDC Boston members attended the award ceremony, enjoyed impressive one-minute pitch presentations and the entertaining keynotes of Diane Hessan, CEO of the Startup Institute.
Tufts President Anthony Monaco opened the event and received the S&TDC Boston members before the ceremony. Tufts today hosts more than 10'000 students in 10 different schools. He explained Tufts position in the challenging Boston university market and his development plans.

Countries: Switzerland, Belgium (Wallonia-Brussels), The Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, China, Canada, Mexico

Participants: 11

Event date : April 8, 2015

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Best Practices


Thierry Weissenburger, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner at Consulate General of Canada in Boston, hosted the very interesting S&TDC internal meeting on "best practices" and experiences in engaging with Boston in the science & innovation field. The main purpose was to compare notes on engagement with Boston in the science & innovation field. While noting that no two regions' interests and capabilities are exactly the same, it was instructive to learn what approaches others have taken in this area. Each attendee spoke for 3-5 minutes, outlining the basic features of his/her country's science relationship with Boston, noting what has worked well and what has not, and why. Following that, the remaining time was available for general discussion.

Participants: 15

Countries: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, South Korea, Pakistan, Estonia, Belgium, Canada, Quebec, Switzerland

Event date : March 20, 2015

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Visit of W3C at MIT CSAIL

ImageThe visits in 2015 were kicked off on February 27 with a meeting at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) on the Stata Center campus at MIT.
Jeff Jaffe, CEO of W3C led briefly through the history of W3C and the World Wide Web from the creation of the latter at CERN and the foundation of W3C in 1994 up to its role as the creators of internet standards today and the challenges that W3C is facing nowadays. The official goal - “lead the web to its full potential” – is closely connected to the core mission: setting open standards for the Web so that all people can access the benefits of the social value of the web such as knowledge sharing, human communication and commerce. However, the desired openness of the Web also includes keeping standards open and accessible for all developers and their innovations in the fields of soft- and hardware.
Wendy Seltzer and Alan Bird followed with an overview of the current agenda of W3C, giving an insight into the structure of W3C consisting of various interdisciplinary working groups with members ranging from experts such as professors and researchers to fortune 100 companies, all having one equal voice at the negotiation table when working out new standards. Discussed issues included the effort to standardize online payments, setting and evaluation of encryption standards and the development from proprietary software to open standards. On the whole, it was a pleasure for the S&TDC to meet the people at W3C and establish this important connection which can lead to possible future collaborations.

Event date : February 27, 2015

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Coordination Meeting

ImageIn the deeply snowbound Cambridge, the Diplomatic Circle Boston launched Wednesday evening the 2015 events session by getting together at the Coordination Meeting. The shared interest in science and technology brought together over 13 countries. Their representatives discussed the Boston area’s diverse possibilities and potentials related to this topic. After handing in interesting labs and institutes to visit beforehand, the evaluation of the voting for the best ideas was presented at the meeting. This enabled the community to set a broadly supported event program for the whole year.  Thirteen promising events have been scheduled for the whole year 2015. The activities are mostly going to be organized in a collaboration of different science consulates. With the even bigger request for science and technology related events the last year, the S&T DC Boston looks forward to an exciting Diplomatic Circle Boston season 2015.

Participants: 15

Countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Quebec, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA

Event date : February 11, 2015

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Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle Year End Event


After 10 activities throughout the year, the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle gathered for the last time in 2014 at its year end event. On December 11th, over 40 members of the circle as well as 13 representatives from participating institutions met at NGIN Workplace to celebrate the successful first year of the S&T Diplomatic Circle in Boston. The event was organized by swissnex Boston in collaboration with the Consulates of Mexico and France.

After opening words from Felix Moesner, Consul of Switzerland, and remarks from Leonard Kopelman, Honorary Consul General of Finland and Dean of the Consular Corps Boston, Consul General Daniel Hernandez from Mexico held a toast where he stressed the value of the S&T DC activities for the consular community. While networking, the group enjoyed Mexican specialties as well as sweet confections from the French Consulate.     

ImageAfter its inception in January, members of the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle could arrange 10 visits of companies, universities, and institutions that provided a great deal of interesting insights within the broad spectrum of science and technology related work. The visits had an average of 19 participants per activity. Representatives from 22 different countries participated in the events.

Participants: 55

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA 

Event date : December 11, 2014

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Visit at MITs SENSEable City Lab

ImageOn Monday, November 24th, the Science & Technology Diplomatic Circle Boston held its monthly visit, this time at the MIT Senseable City Laboratory in Cambridge. The Senseable City Lab at MIT focuses on working with big data, derived from sensors and handheld electronics, to investigate not only how humans interact with machines, but how humans, computers, and cities interact on a much larger scale.  The human-computer-city interaction is at the core of the organizations work in collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data from a variety of sources. As Assistant Director of the Senseable City Lab, Erin Baumgartner, put it, the labs work is about sensing and actuating, sensing in the form of collecting and gathering data, and actuating in the form of bringing this data to life by visualizing and interpreting its relevance, significance and implications for cities. Their work is focused on a variety of projects that look at human behavior and data at an urban scale, in other words, smart cities.

During the visit, Baumgartner presented a survey of a wide array of projects and analysis the studio has conducted. The projects showcased included were varied and diverse. They included such studies as: Real-Time Rome; the Live Singapore Project; Credit Card Transaction Analysis in Spain for BVBA; the Trash Track Project in Seattle and New York City; and, the HubCab project modeling taxi-sharing feasibility in New York, Vienna, and San Francisco. The latter project has been often publicly mentioned since the famous tech company UBER has been recently launching the UBERPOOL product in San Francisco, whereas users can share a ride, and split the cost, with another person who just happens to be requesting a ride along a similar route. The presentation also referenced previous big data and smart city projects carried on in other countries and organizations such as Project Cybersyn in Chile, spearheaded in the 1970s by socialist Chilean President, Salvador Allende to improve the nations centralized key industries; as well as referencing the IBM 2010 project in Brazil.

The data used by the lab can include geographical information about where people are; information about how energy is used (i.e. peaks in air conditioning use), sentiment data from social media activity, as even as taxi pick-up and drop-off data in inclement weather, as in the case of the Live Singapore project.  The latter study was part of Singapores aim to dis-incentivize car ownership in the city. A myriad of improvements in policy, infrastructure, and citizen behavior could be made through the labs work in big data for smart cities.

S&TDC Participants: 13 

Countries:  Belgium, Canada (Quebec), China, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Switzerland, USA

Event date : November 24, 2014

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World Medical Innovation Forum Briefing at MGH


On Monday November 10th the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle attended a briefing on the inaugural World Medical Innovation Forum WMIF that will take place in Boston from April 27 - 29, 2015. Current and emerging approaches to diagnosing and caring for neurologic and psychiatric disorders will be highlighted, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, depression, schizophrenia, autism, stroke and sleep disorders. Also, game-changing diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions will be presented, including genome editing, gene therapy, neurostimulation, neuroregeneration, population management, neuroimaging and novel biomarkers.

The WMIF features CEOs of industry-leading multinational medical companies, clinicians and scientists and all Harvard Medical School faculty members and global technology leaders. Keynote speakers include Robert Bradway, CEO, Amgen; Jeff Immelt, CEO, General Electric; Joe Jimenez, CEO, Novartis; Mike Mahoney, CEO, Boston Scientific; and George Scangos, CEO, Biogen Idec.
1,000 international innovation decision-makers will be briefed on the state of the art in neuroscience technology, care and research directly from the CEOs bringing game-changing products to market, world-class clinicians delivering the highest-quality care and the scientists rapidly propelling this crucial field forward through their CNS insights and discoveries. Additionally, the industry-wide issues driving investment, application and reimbursement of innovation during this period of profound transformation in healthcare will be debated.
The organizers wish to internationally spread the word on the WMIF and nurture interest. The briefing was held at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the #2 hospital in the United Stated. 

S&TDC Participants: 11

Countries:  Belgium, Germany, Italy, Korea, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Event date : November 10, 2014

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Harvard Visit

TestAfter a summer break the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle gathered for the 8th time this year on Monday September 8th for a Harvard Visit. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is among the oldest institutes of higher education in the United States. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education.

During the visit the participants of the S&TDC had the chance to visit two different labs of the recently opened Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS): Rob Woods Micro-robotics Library and David Mooneys Laboratory for Cell and Tissue Engineering. The two lab managers Michael J. Smith and Kurt Schellenberg provided interesting insights into the research that is done at Harvard.

After the inspiring lab tours the group got the possibility to meet SEAS Dean Cherry Murray, Vice Provost for Research Rick McCullough, and University Marshal Jackie ONeill. Besides hearing two presentations of the Dean and Vice Provost the participants also got the chance to discuss their questions with the representatives. The Polish Consulate General in Boston kindly arranged this visit.

S&TDC Participants: 23

Countries:  Canada, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA

Event date : September 8, 2014

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Northeastern University Visit and Briefing by President Joseph E. Aoun

ImageFounded in 1898, Northeastern is a leading global research university that provides its students with a distinctive approach to education and research. The university, which offers a wide range of programs in nine colleges and schools, integrates study and professional experience to enable students to put ideas into action. Northeastern University collaborates with colleagues on campus and all over the world to pursue interdisciplinary research that turns discoveries into practical solutions, with a focus on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability. Besides hearing several presentations on research at Northeastern and closing remarks by President Joseph E. Aoun, we were joined by staff from the Technology Transfer and internationally-oriented programs of the university. This inspiring visit was organized by the German and Swiss Consulates in Boston. 

S&TDC Participants: 25

Countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA

Event date : June 25, 2014

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edX briefing from Lee Rubenstein

ImageThe last two years have witnessed the latest development in higher education: the onset of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Claimed to be the downfall of the traditional form of higher education and to pose an imminent threat to the contemporary university model, MOOCs have gained a lot of attention from educational institutions. edX - a joint initiative of the MIT and Harvard University - celebrated its two year birthday this past May and is an open source, not-for-profit platform that offers online classes at no charge. MIT and Harvard invested jointly $60 million on the initiative, that today counts with 47 participating schools. In collaboration with several university partners - which form the Xconsortium - edX provides over 200 online courses in many areas of study. In just two years of operation, edX has managed to accumulate 1.8 million registered learners and over 3 million enrollments. In addition to its educational objective, edX has also committed itself to conducting further research on successful teaching techniques.

Keeping edX as an open source platform has helped the young NPO advance and excel in the vast field of emerging MOOCs. Four countries, China, France, Jordan, and Mexico, have already taken the plunge to work with edX to power their own online learning portals in the respective languages. This underlines the innovative characteristics of edX within a highly competitive field. and is in accordance with edXs objective to guarantee access to education for everyone, everywhere. Specially, as over three quarters of the MOOCs participants live outside of the U.S.

ImageSince the initial introduction of MOOCs, the question of whether to provide online courses for free or at a cost has been the source of much debate. One of the potential downfalls cited is the effect a decrease in the number of paying students will have on an educational institutions endowment. However, some educators do not believe that the introduction of free MOOCs will disrupt the high-end sector of education any time soon. The reputation of universities like MIT and Harvard, and the value of their degrees, will continue to provide these institutions with enough students and revenue to sustain their endowments. However, the introduction of MOOCs can pose a threat to less renowned colleges and universities that lack a world-class standing. 

In spite of the critics predicting a disruption by MOOCs, edX will continue its mission to provide online courses for everyone, everywhere. Additional partners will most likely follow the suit of China and Jordan, increasing the number of courses available online in foreign-languages, and encouraging more and more institutions to provide valuable input to edX. The question of whether edX will continue to operate offering MOOCs free of charge, and, just the same, whether the rise of MOOCs will signify the demise of universities remains unknown. The Swiss Consulate in Boston kindly arranged this informative visit. 

S&TDC Participants: 18

Countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Event date : June 12, 2014

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Boston Innovation District Visit

ImageThe members of the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle of Boston started the visit of the Boston Innovation District with an instructive working lunch, where they could appreciate the presentations of Nicole Fichera, General Manager of District Hall at The Venture Cafe Foundation, Carlos Martinez-Vela, Executive Director of the Venture Cafe Foundation, and Jibran Malek, Social Media Coordinator at MassChallenge, about the flourishing of the South Boston Waterfront. The neighborhood, which is bursting with innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, was an initiative launched by the former Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The rapid success and quick expansion of the Innovation District is related to the wide range of companies in different sectors, who are taking advantage of the existing knowledge base, as well as world-class infrastructure. In a little as four years, the Boston Innovation District has succeeded in adding over 6000 new jobs distributed over more than 200 novel companies and thereby contributing to 30 percent of new job growth. New jobs were created in diverse sectors, comprising advertising, design, green tech, life sciences and many more.

ImageThe inspiring talks over noon where followed by several visits of startups settled in the 4 square km of the South Boston waterfront. The first stop was at the Drydock Shared Lab, where the Members of the S&TDC Boston were impressed by the modern and inspiring infrastructure of the renovated building from 1919, that allows for wet labs and other important infrastructure for biotech and life science companies. The next stop was done at the WeWork co-working space at Fort Point. WeWork does not only grant co-working space, but provides the members with all kinds of amenities like high-speed Internet, conference rooms, free coffee and beer, lounges and weekly events for networking. The last stop was at Factory63, which offers innovative living units at Fort Point. Furthermore, they offer public working spaces in the lobby, as well as networking opportunities and conference rooms. The Boston Innovation District visit was completed with a reception at the District Hall. This enlightening visit was organized by the Mexican Consulate General in Boston.

S&TDC Participants: 27

Countries: Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA

Event date : May 14, 2014

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Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

imageOn Friday May 9th the Science and Technology Diplomatic Circle gathered for the 4th time this year. After visiting Masstech offices in April and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in March, the S&TDC members decided to dedicate their time to green computing. Many countries were represented and it is with great enthusiasm that the attending members discovered the inner workings of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC). Less than two hours drive from Boston, located in Holyoke, MA, the MGHPCC is a joint venture of MIT, Harvard, Boston University, University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University to build and maintain a shared high-performance regional computing center. With a throughput of 10Gbps (and soon 100Gbps) this high-tech facility has been a major aspect of the economic development of the region since its opening. The close proximity to a hydroelectric facility by the Connecticut River makes of Holyoke the perfect location for a reliable and renewable source of electricity. By minimizing the power distribution losses and generating a low environmental impact, this center has become the spearhead of green computing in New England. In continuous expansion, it is on the cutting edge of high-availability cluster computing.

In the end, the MGHPCC is a great example of a successful combination of sustainability and shared computational research. It provides green computing power to some of the most famous research institutes in the Greater Boston Area. Thanks to John Goodhue, Executive Director of the MGHPCC, the guests had a chance to see this state-of-the art facility and now have a new insight on how high-performance computing technology can also cope with environmental issues. The British Consulate General in Boston kindly arranged this informative visit. 

S&TDC Participants: 12

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Event date : May 9, 2014

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Briefing by MassTech CEO Pamela Goldberg

imageOn April 30 Pamela Goldberg the CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative welcomed the S&TDC members in the MassTech office in downtown Boston. Upon a brief introduction on the goals of the public economic development agency, Goldberg elaborated on the strategies of MassTech to strengthen the innovation economy and expand technology- related enterprises throughout the Commonwealth. MassTech has lately identified and focused on Massachusetts three main growth areas: robotics, health IT and big data. As some companies have been struggling in the past years to find adequate workers in Massachusetts for advanced manufacturing, MassTech has further intensified their efforts to provide the industry with a pipeline of suitably skilled workers and sufficient talents for this exploding sector with more than 10000 new jobs to be created. In addition, Goldberg introduced their mentorship program, which will also be presented at the Sandbox Summit 2014 taking place in June. This enlightening visit was organized by the Turkish Consulate General in Boston.

S&TDC Participants: 20

Countries: Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Event date : April 30, 2014

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Briefing on Innovation Policy by Eric Nakajima

ImageEric Nakajima, Assistant Secretary for Innovation Policy in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, gave S&TDC members an enlightening briefing about innovation policies pursued in Massachusetts. Mr. Nakajima, who has been involved with the planning and execution of the economic agenda of Governor Patrick, elucidated on the latest objectives of the Commonwealth in terms of technology and innovation and discussed trends and policies with the present members of the S&TDC. The presentation provided detailed information on the state strategy designed to accelerate the growth of its innovation economy, including initiatives to promote its world-class institutions entrepreneurship, advanced manufacturing and talent pool expansion. This revealing visit was organized by the German Consulate General in Boston and kindly hosted by the Consulate General of France in Boston.

S&T DC Participants: 19 

Countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom  

Event date : March 11, 2014

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Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation

TestA presentation on the objectives and functions of the Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation  (FhCMI) was given by Prof. Andre Sharon, Executive Director of FhCMI, and followed by a short visit of the state-of-the-art facility on the Boston University campus. The FhCMI, which is the oldest Fraunhofer Center in the United States, aims to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial needs. The combination of engineers and scientists as well as faculty members of the Boston University and students, enables the FhCMI to develop innovative automatic systems, instruments and devices for a wide range of fields, among which the biology-related sector is of growing importance. The FhCMI facility comprises 1858 square meter with several specialized laboratories and advanced equipment, which allows the assorted staff to go beyond the scope of traditional academic research to develop and deploy actual working technologies for industrial needs. The German Consulate General in Boston kindly arranged this informative visit.

S&TDC Participants: 17 

Countries: Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Event date : March 5, 2014

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