By Kerry Milton, on 1 May 2014
- On 1st May, at University College London, we held the Japan-UK Universities Conference for Collaboration in Research and Education, co-hosted by UCL and the Embassy of Japan in the UK, and in cooperation with the British Council, JSPS (the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) London Office and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This conference was attended by 14 Japanese universities (Doshisha, Hitotsubashi, Hokkaido, Keio, Kyoto, Kyushu, Nagoya, Osaka, Ritsumeikan, Tohoku, Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tsukuba, Waseda) and 16 UK universities (Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial College, King’s College, Leeds, Liverpool, LSE, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Sheffield, UCL, York, Warwick).
- This conference was the first attempt to bring together senior-level participants from leading universities in Japan and the United Kingdom, and as well as being an opportunity for the universities to introduce their recent efforts in sessions on Japan-UK cooperation in education and research, there was also active discussion regarding future ways to cooperate in these fields. The conference was also a valuable opportunity to deepen and develop collaboration and cooperation between universities of the two countries, including discussion regarding the construction of a multilateral and multidisciplinary framework of Japanese and UK universities. The conference also held a round-table discussion attended by all participants, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to discuss the importance of collaboration and cooperation, and received understanding and support from the high levels of the Japanese government.
- In order to nurture international talent in an increasingly globalised world, the role of Japanese and UK universities in accepting top-calibre international students and providing high level education and research is significant. Further, global innovation is the key to achieving sustained economic growth and prosperity, and as places that produce the basic and fundamental seeds of this innovation, the expectations on universities in Japan and the UK are extremely high. In addition to this, as global issues regarding ageing society, climate change, energy, health, and disaster prevention become more evident, it is the obligation and responsibility of Japanese and UK universities, as universities in fully-developed countries, to take an active role in addressing these issues. We have a shared awareness and understanding of the role of Japanese and UK universities, and their importance, regarding these issues.
- During the education session at the conference, we held specific discussions regarding measures to promote the exchange of students and young researchers between Japanese and UK universities, as well as approaches to the curriculum in order to promote international collaboration between universities. During the research session, we also held discussions across a broad spectrum, including measures to further accelerate joint research in a wide range of fields. Discussions were also held on the subject of introducing and utilising a distinctive approach to collaboration between government, industry and academia in the two countries, and regarding measures to promote mutual exchange between staff and researchers at universities in both countries.We sincerely hope that, through the discussions held at this conference, ideas proposed to increase the number of students and researchers exchanged between universities, the creation of a multilateral framework and a joint international curriculum, and agreements to launch new collaborative research will develop into more tangible efforts in the future.
- While recognising the importance of the discussions held at this conference, we have agreed to make efforts to hold regular follow-up meetings regarding both research and education in order to continue and develop these areas, with the cooperation of our attending universities and related organisations from both countries. One such idea proposed during the discussions was to hold a follow-up meeting in Tokyo in 2015. The British Council will work with the relevant universities and organisations, including the Embassy of Japan in the UK and the British Embassy Tokyo, to ensure active follow-up to the discussions here today.
All parties of the Japan-UK Universities Conference for Collaboration in Research and Education, 1 May 2014