Big delegation in Japan to discuss research and innovation

This week more than 300 representatives from universities, companies, ministries, foundations and research funding agencies have met in Fukuoka, Japan to participate in the MIRAI 2.0 Research and Innovation Week hosted by Kyushu University. The goal of the week is both to establish new and deepen existing research collaborations between Japan and Sweden.

Hydrogen as an energy source, sustainable waste management systems and smart robots within the elderly care are subjects for three of the many program items during the week. Research collaborations between Japan and Sweden are in focus, and the majority of those who have traveled to Kyushu University in Fukuoka are researchers at various levels – PhD students, early career researchers and senior researchers.

One of the participants is Takehiro Fujiie, PhD student in fundamental physics at Nagoya University.

– This conference is an opportunity to collaborate across disciplines. Here I can listen to, and discuss with, people from several fields and expand my horizon. As a researcher in fundamental physics I thought that some of the topics, like society 5.0, was far away from my field but now I can see a clear connection, he says.  

First meeting after COVID-19

MIRAI 2.0 is a collaboration between twenty Swedish and Japanese universities within the thematic areas of Sustainability, Materials Sciences, Ageing, AI, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The collaboration started in 2015 and entered a new phase in 2020. Since then, many digital workshops have been arranged and 31 seed funded research projects have been initiated. Due to the pandemic, participants have not had the opportunity to meet in person until now and there has been a big interest to participate in the Research and Innovation Week. Eva Wiberg, President of the University of Gothenburg, is one of them.

– After more than two years behind the screen, it is a great feeling to finally meet in person in Japan. We have received such a warm welcome from our Japanese colleagues as well as from Ambassador Pereric Högberg who invited us for a reception at his residence earlier this week. There is a great interest from both countries to develop the collaboration within research and innovation. We hope that existing collaborations will be further developed and  that more collaborations will be initiated during this week. For this purpose, we also have seed funding to apply for, she says.

Bilateral discussion with ministries and agencies

Funding agencies, university leaders and representatives from Ministries in Sweden and Japan has also joined the trip. They participate, among other things, in the Japan-Sweden Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology, in an overall level discussion on how the two countries should cooperate within research and innovation.

– Recent increase in geopolitical tensions demonstrates the importance of collaboration between democratic states in the forefront of science and innovation where Sweden and Japan have common interests for example within digitalization, climate and security, says Fredrik Hörstedt, Director, Division for international cooperation at Sweden’s Innovation Agency – Vinnova

Plans for the future

The project runs until December 2023, but there is a great interest to continue the collaboration after that date, and the form of the future collaboration is now being discussed. The next Research and Innovation Week within MIRAI 2.0 will take place in Sweden, at Umeå University on November 13-17, 2023.

Read more

Information about seed funding.

Read more about the Research and Innovation Week here:
Sharing ONE future: Integrative Knowledge and Sustainable Transformation towards a better world  

Questions ? Contact the MIRAI project managers