On June 7-11, 2021 The University of Gothenburg hosted MIRAI 2.0 Research and Innovation week. The theme for the conference was International collaboration in a digital era – Fostering innovative minds for the future.

This digital event gathered researchers from all member universities in Sweden and Japan as well as university leadership representatives, industry and research funding agencies. MIRAI 2.0 TEG/IEAG groups organized scientific sessions within MIRAI 2.0 themes: Ageing, Artificial Intelligence, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Materials Science and Sustainability.

This event focused on connecting researchers with similar interests as well as discussing and sharing collaboration ideas.  A matchmaking event with researchers, companies and organizations was arranged to support cross sector exchange of expertise and ideas.

In this article, published by The University of Gothenburg, more information about the outcome of the Research and innovation week can be found:

The overall program with links to programs for all scientific sessions is presented below.

Overall Program

Monday June 7

Opening Ceremony

9:00-10:20 (SE)
16:00-17:20 (JP)

Greetings from the presidents 
President Eva Wiberg, The University of Gothenburg
President Seiichi Matsuo, Nagoya University

Opening speeches
Ibrahim Baylan, Minister of Business, Industry and Innovation, Sweden
Takuya Hirai, Minister for Digital Transformation, Japan

Keynote lectures
Professor Amy Loutfi, Örebro University, Semantics of Robotics (20 min + Q&A)
Professor Junichi Tsujii, Director of AIRC, The Next Stage of AI Innovation – AIRC Perspectives (20 min + Q&A)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin, The University of Gothenburg

Digital Poster Session

10:40-12:00 (SE)
17:40-19:00 (JP)

Join our virtual poster session to present your research and discuss it with colleagues from Sweden and Japan. Posters will be available on our event platform throughout the week. 

Submission deadline: May 21 (Registration has closed)
Open to: Researchers (all levels) from MIRAI2.0 member universities. We especially encourage phd students and early career researchers to submit a poster!

General Assembly Meeting

10:40-12:30 (SE)
17:40-19:30 (JP)

A separate invitation will be sent to members of MIRAI2.0 General Assembly.

Open to: General Assembly representatives, TEG/IEAG co-chairs, Senior Management Staff and Project Managers of MIRAI2.0 member universities

Tuesday June 8

Parallel Scientific Sessions
9:00-12:00/12:30 (SE)
16:00-19:00/19:30 (JP)

Ageing within the age of a pandemic
Short presentations within Biological aspects of ageing; Psychosocial and Social aspects of ageing; Technological aspects of ageing

Artificial Intelligence
Presentations by early career researchers

Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship Eco-systems in Sweden and Japan

Materials Science
Synchrotron & Spallation sources

Sustainability Transformation

Wednesday June 9

Parallel Scientific Sessions

9:00-12:00/12:30 (SE)
16:00-19:00/19:30 (JP)

Ageing within the age of a pandemic
Short presentations within Biological aspects of ageing; Psychosocial and Social aspects of ageing; Technological aspects of ageing

Artificial Intelligence
Presentations by early career researchers

Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The role of context and culture in entrepreneurship education 

Materials Science
Materials for sensing applications
Materials for energy devices

Climate and Security & Sustainable Transformation

University Leadership Summit

10:00-11:30 (SE)
17:00-18:30 (JP)

Research, Innovation and Education in a digital era, and beyond

Moderator: Michael Jacob, Science and Innovation Counsellor, Embassy of Sweden, Tokyo

Open to: Presidents/Vice-Presidents/Deputy from MIRAI2.0 member universities by invitation

Thursday June 10

TEG/IEAG Meetings
8:00-8:45 (SE)
15:00-15:45 (JP)

Internal meeting with members of MIRAI2.0 Thematic Expert Groups and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Group.


9:00-12:00 (SE)
16:00-19:00 (JP)

How to plan your research impact with UCD impact planning canvas 

Impact Planning Canvas is a tool for identifying the possible impact and planning for how you can achieve it in the best way. Based on research results and on the researcher’s terms. After an introduction of the concept as well as being introduced to the tool you will have the possibility to use your own research as a base for the exercise. The session will be held in break-out rooms where practical help and guidance from an experienced innovation advisor will be given for individual support.

This workshop is part of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program

Facilitator: Urban Bergquist, Innovation Adviser, Linnaeus University

Academia/Industry Matchmaking Event

9:00-12:00 (SE)
16:00-19:00 (JP)

Artificial intelligence and the future of healthcare for older populations
The MIRAI2.0 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advisory Group (IEAG) organises a matchmaking event that will offer a great opportunity for academics, researchers, and industrial players from both countries to network, present research progress and address new challenges, while identifying potential ideas for future collaboration and seed projects.

Following the event, VINNOVA, the Swedish government innovation agency, will launch a call for proposals to award funding to new collaborations between Sweden and Japan in AI, Ageing, Sustainability, Material Science and Innovation/Entrepreneurship.

The event is funded by VINNOVA

Open to: academics, researchers, and representatives from companies/industry in Sweden and Japan both within and outside the MIRAI2.0 consortium.

Friday June 11

Parallel Scientific Sessions

9:00-10:30 (SE)
16:00-17:30 (JP)

Short presentations within Biological aspects of ageing; Psychosocial and Social aspects of ageing; Technological aspects of ageing

Artificial Intelligence
Examples of ongoing collaborations & discussion on future activities

Materials Science
TEG Materials Science Meeting (opened to all registered participants) and Kick-off Meeting for MIRAI 2.0 Materials Science Fall 2021 Project

Sustainable transformation and Assessment methods for negative emissions

Closing Ceremony

10:45-12:00 (SE)
17:45-19:00 (JP)

Reporting from parallel scientific sessions
Short report on activities/sessions over the week and panel discussion with Co-chairs of MIRAI2.0 thematic groups

Prof. Björn-Ola Linnér, Linköping University (Sustainability)

Prof. Takayuki Akimoto, Waseda University (Ageing)

Dr. Karin Hellerstedt, Jönköping University (Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Prof. Björgvin Hjörvarsson, Uppsala University (Materials science)

Prof. George Nikolakopoulos, Luleå University of Technology (Artificial Intelligence)

Moderator: Prof. Peter Lindblad, Uppsala University

Information about funding opportunities

Dr. Branko Aleksic, Nagoya University (Project coordinator)
MIRAI2.0 Call for Collaborative Projects

Lars Friberg, Vinnova
Call for Academia/Industry Collaborative Projects

Closing remarks

Vice-Chancellor Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn Luleå University of Technology

President Hideo Ohno, Tohoku University

President Eva Wiberg, The University of Gothenburg

Opening Ceremony

Photo of Eva Wiberg

Eva Wiberg

President, The University of Gothenburg

Eva Wiberg is President of the University of Gothenburg since July 2017. She is a Professor of Italian and has previously served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lund University. Eva Wiberg actively participates in several national and international university networks.

Photo of Seiichi Matsuo

Seiichi Matsuo

President, Nagoya University

Seiichi Matsuo is the President of Nagoya University (2015- ), where he received his PhD in Nephrology in 1981. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York (1981-1982) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (1982-1984), and eventually became a professor at the Graduate School of Medicine (2004-2015). After becoming a professor, he became actively involved in the executive functions of the university, serving as the Vice President of Nagoya University (2009-2015) and as the Director of various Nagoya University affiliated institutes such as the Nagoya University Hospital (2007-2013), the Headquarters for Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration (2012-2015). Professor Matsuo was also appointed as the Chancellor of Tokai National Higher Education and Research System on April 1, 2020.

Photo of Ibrahim Baylan

Ibrahim Baylan

Minister of Business, Industry and Innovation

Ibrahim Baylan is the Minister of Business, Industry and Innovation of Sweden. He was Minister of Energy 2014–2019 and Minister of Coordination 2016–2019 and Minister of Education 2004–2006. Baylan has been a member of the Swedish Parliament since 2006. As Minister of Business, Industry and Innovation he is responsible for the Government’s Innovation Partnership Programmes, a strategic initiative where different sectors join forces to tackle societal challenges.

Takuya Hirai

Minister for Digital Transformation,

Takuya Hirai was born in Takamatsu City, Kagawa in 1958. After graduating from Takamatsu Daiichi High School, he studied in the Department of English Studies, Faculty of Foreign Studies, Sophia University. Upon graduation, he joined Dentsu Inc. After serving as President of Nishinippon Broadcasting Co., Ltd. and Director of Takamatsu Chuo High School in his earlier career, he was first elected to the House of Representatives in the 42nd general election in 2000. Ever since, he has been elected for 7 consecutive terms and has held such positions as Director, of Economy, Trade and Industry Division and Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Division of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP); Deputy Chairperson of Policy Research Council, LDP; Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office; Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; Chairperson of Committee on Cabinet; Director-General of Information Research Bureau, LDP; Chairperson of Public Relations Headquarters, LDP; and Director of Internet Media Division, LDP. As the Chairperson of Special Mission Committee on IT Strategy, he compiled Digital Nippon (policy proposal) and leads other aspects of the IT policies of LDP. In October 2018, he was appointed Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, Intellectual Property Strategy, “Cool Japan” Strategy and for Space Policy for the 4th Abe Cabinet. In October 2019, he was appointed Chairperson of Digital Nation Special Committee, LDP. In September 2020, he was appointed Minister for Digital Transformation, Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy and Minister of State for the Social Security and Tax Number System.

Photo of Amy Loutfi

Amy Loutfi

Professor in Information Technology,
Örebro University

Amy Loutfi is a Professor in Information Technology and Pro-Vice Chancellor for AI at Örebro University and leads the research group AASS Machine Perception and Interaction Lab. In 2020, Amy was elected as a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. She has a long experience working with industry and the public sector on research projects dealing with AI, robotics and human-robot interaction. Additionally, Amy has worked with a strong engagement in strategic issues in AI for all of Sweden. In addition to her role in WASP-AI, she is involved in AI Sweden, AI Competence for Sweden, Omstartskommissionen and the Swedish government’s strategic collaboration programme on digitalisation.

Semantics of Robotics
As humans and robots start to cohabit the same environment and interact deeper with each other, the need for robots and other artificial agents to truly understand human instruction increases. This understanding not only involves the ability for robots to decode human speech, but also the ability to ground words that refer to physical objects, actions, and concepts – to the perceptual information coming from the sensors embedded on the agent. This challenge in part deals with the symbol grounding problem, that is, how to ground symbols into something other than symbols. Further with the advent of advances within AI, due to many of the advances within machine learning, there has been an opportunity to examine how the grounding can be learned using large (and simulated) datasets. This talk will highlight the research where semantics are learned, integrated and used for the next generation of robotic systems.

Junichi Tsujii

Director of Artificial Intelligence
Research Centre (AIRC)

Professor Junichi Tsujii is a Japanese computer scientist specializing in natural language processing and text mining, particularly in the field of biology and bioinformatics. He graduated from Kyoto University Graduate School in 1973, obtaining a PhD in engineering. He became Associate Professor at Kyoto University in 1973, Professor at Manchester University in 1988, Professor at Tokyo University Graduate School in 1995, and Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research Asia (Beijing) in 2011 before taking on his current position as Director of AIRC in 2015 and Fellow of AIST in 2017. He still holds a Professorship at Manchester University. Former President of ACL (Association for Computational Linguistics), IAMT (International Association for Machine Translation), AFNLP (Asian Federation of Natl. Language Procession),and Association for Natural Language Processing. Present President of ICCL (the International Committee on Computational Linguistics).

The Next Stage of AI Innovation – AIRC Perspectives 
The AIRC (Artificial Intelligence Research Centers) was established six years ago as one of the three hub AI research centers in Japan. As a research center under the METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), we have focused on solving challenges encountered in deployment of AI technology in society. While the data-oriented AI (Machine Learning and in particular, Deep Learning) has become dominant and achieved many remarkable results, the approach has its own limit. In order to resolve many challenges in real-world AI applications, techniques which deal with symbolic and more structured pieces of knowledge have to be integrated with the data-oriented approach. In real-world AI applications, it is also crucial to combine AI techniques with other expertise and knowledge which experts of target domains have. In this talk, I will present two five years projects started in 2020 which focus on integration of symbolic AI with data-oriented AI and re-configurable AI. 

Photo of Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin


Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin

Deputy Vice-Chancellor,
The University of Gothenburg

Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin holds a PhD in political science and has a position as senior lecturer at University of Gothenburg. Since 2018, Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin has been Deputy Vice Chancellor with responsibility for collaboration. Within the framework of the assignment as Vice-Chancellor, Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin has formed an interdisciplinary coordination group (SAID) which aims to create an interdisciplinary platform for education and research in AI and Digitization at the University of Gothenburg. Since 2019, Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin has been chairman of the Swedish University and College Association’s working group for digitization. Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin has extensive experience of teaching and research in both political science and teacher education with special focus in political philosophy and social studies. 

Closing Ceremony

Photo of Birgitta Bergvall Kåreborn

Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn

Professor in Information Systems,
Luleå University of Technology

Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn is professor in Information Systems at Luleå University of Technology. In the end of 2017 she accepted the position as Vice-Chancellor at the same university. She is a member of numerous boards and academic networks. She is also a member of the Government’s strategic collaboration program what brings together business, academia, civil society and public actors in order to jointly contribute in finding innovative solutions that meet the major societal challenges and contribute to Swedish competitiveness.

Hideo Ohno

President of Tohoku University

Professor Hideo Ohno is the 22nd President of Tohoku University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1982 and has held a number of leadership positions at Tohoku University, including Director of the Research Institute of Electrical Communication. Before coming to Tohoku University, he was a Visiting Scientist at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center and Associate Professor at Hokkaido University’s Department of Electrical Engineering. His research interests include physics and applications of spin phenomena in semiconductors and metal-based nanostructures. He has won many awards including the Japan Academy Prize (2005), the Leo Esaki Prize (2016) and the ISCS Welker Award (2019). He has been an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fellow since 2018.


Peter Lindblad

Professor in Chemistry,
Uppsala University

Peter Lindblad is the Academic coordinator of Uppsala University´s participation in MIRAI 2.0. As Professor in Chemistry (2009 – ), and previously in Biology (2000-2008), at Uppsala University his research is in the interphase between biochemistry, synthetic biology and genetic engineering. The overall aim is to develop green cell factories, microbial cells converting solar energy and CO2into chemicals and fuels, new technologies to phase out the use fossil resources as well as to address global warming. In addition, he is an experienced project coordinator.