An interesting alliance between a UK university and a Chinese enterprise has been announced. Explaining the collaboration, Sir Keith O’Nions, said it was “inevitable” that universities’ relationships with industry would change as a result of globalisation and we are beginning to see that in new ventures.

Imperial College London, in conjunction with Huawei, have signed a memorandum of understanding to consider developing a research and innovation center tasked with pursuing next-generation big data technologies.

Imperial and Huawei plan to create, with assistance from the U.K. government, a hub for business experts and academic researchers to develop innovations and applications in digital, energy, healthcare, future cities, and life sciences areas. 

The London-based world-leading university and the Chinese networking equipment maker will spend the year fleshing out the details of the proposed joint center, which under current plans will be located in White City, London, at the home of Imperial’s new research campus.

Universities and science minister David Willets MP applauded the move that will “keep the U.K. as a global leader in big data.” He added: “As one of the eight great technologies of the future, big data will allow scientists to research and analyse large information sets to support new innovations across industries such as space, bioscience and healthcare.”

See more about the venture from the FT here.