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Brazil's Rio forges partnership with Columbia University to solve urban problems

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro signed a partnership with Columbia University of the United States Thursday to create an innovation and development center, aimed at seeking solutions to Rio's urban problems.

Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Eduardo Paes traveled to New York to sign the partnership with Columbia's School of Engineering for the installation of the Rio Columbia Innovation Hub, according to Rio's City Hall.

The hub, with an initial investment of 500,000 U.S. dollars, will bring together professors from Columbia and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro's Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Engineering "in various areas, such as engineering, product design and entrepreneurship, promoting the exchange of ... knowledge between Brazil and the United States," the City Hall said.

According to Rio's government, the project aims to develop "concrete and tangible solutions" for the urban challenges the city faces.

The center will be "an important catalyst attracting and retaining talent in Brazil and the world to develop research in Rio" and "help consolidate Rio as one of the leading educational centers in the country," the government said.

Paes praised the partnership, saying it will help connect Rio to other major cities in the world and develop its potential.

"To be a global city, Rio de Janeiro must be connected to the scientific research conducted at major universities around the world, such as Columbia," he said.

"Rio is also a fantastic laboratory and center of creativity, a leader in Brazil in the audiovisual industry, media and entertainment. Our laboratories are (also) leaders in research in the oil and gas sector," he said.

The innovation hub, which is expected to start operating in July, will work together with Columbia University's eight global centers operating around the world.

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