Government, industry and academic leaders from both sides of the Atlantic are attending a summit at Cambridge today, hosted by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI).

Government, industry and academic leaders from both sides of the Atlantic are attending a summit at Cambridge today, hosted by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI).

The summit will review the progress of CMI, the unique partnership between Cambridge University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). CMI was launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in November 1999 with the goal of enhancing the contribution that research and teaching makes to economic success.

The summit is hosted by the National Competitiveness Network (NCN), a CMI programme which draws together UK universities, business and government agencies interested in competitiveness, productivity and entrepreneurship.

Professor Sir Alec Broers, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said:

"CMI and its partners are setting out to solve some of the most important science and technology-based challenges that lie ahead and translate the findings into business innovation. The support which we have received from the Government and the private sector is now proving its worth, and I have no doubt that the partnership with MIT will in time prove to be of enormous benefit to UK science and commerce, and to the health of our economy.

Charles Vest, President of MIT said:

" In today's world the co-operation between our two great institutions assumes a greater and more symbolic importance. The elements that combine to produce CMI bring together much that is best in our countries and we both stand to gain enormously. I am sure that this summit is the first of many occasions when we will meet to celebrate the results of our combination of science, research and enterprise."

The summit will be addressed by leading economists Professor Bob Rowthorn of the University of Cambridge and Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Solow of MIT, who will debate key issues affecting the productivity gap between the UK and the US.

Professor Alan Hughes, UK Programme Director of the National Competitiveness Network, says: "This is a very exciting and important event for us. It provides a platform for CMI to interface with leaders from industry, government and academia and discuss with them the way in which it can support the improvement of the UK's economic performance."

Part of the summit proceedings will be devoted to presentations of the new work being funded by CMI. These include science and technology projects, such as an investigation of ways to cut down greenhouse gas emissions from office buildings and research into a bacterium which may assist in the production of AIDS drugs. The summit will also consider the undergraduate exchange programme between Cambridge and MIT and there will be news of CMI's professional practice programme for postgraduates and senior business executives.

The summit will conclude with a discussion forum between speakers and the participants chaired by James Naughtie, presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

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