From 2017-2019 seven Swedish and eight Japanese Universities joined together in the MIRAI project and research seminars, workshops, short courses for Ph.D., and Post-Docs and researcher mobility were implemented to strengthen collaboration between Sweden and Japan. Several new contacts have been established, existing contact deepened, and joint research proposals were submitted.

At the MIRAI meetings in Tokyo in October 2018, all present universities expressed a strong interest in continuing their collaboration beyond the period of the present MIRAI project. Furthermore, the partners agreed to expand the number of participating universities by inviting other Swedish and Japanese higher education institutions to join. The importance of the collaborations between Swedish and Japanese institutions was also highlighted in the Joint Statement on ‘Strengthening of Japan-Sweden Science and Technology Cooperation’ signed during the MIRAI seminar in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2018.

Following the success of the first phase, MIRAI 2.0 was launched in 2020 to further strengthen the Sweden-Japan academic network through activities including lectures, workshops, and PhD short courses, as well as an annual Research and Innovation week. A majority of these activities were proactively organized by four thematic expert groups (Ageing, Artificial Intelligence, Materials Science, and Sustainability) as well as an advisory group on innovation and entrepreneurship. The number of MIRAI member universities increased from 15 to 20 in MIRAI 2.0.

While the outbreak of the pandemic posed unprecedented challenges to MIRAI’s joint efforts to facilitate research collaborations, MIRAI 2.0 successfully implemented activities both online and physically in the four-year activity period through the end of 2023. A total of 51 seed funded research projects were formed during MIRAI 2.0, 44 of them were funded by the MIRAI universities and 7 of them were funded by Intsam Japan through Vinnova (Academia/Industry collaborations).