Keio doctoral candidate Kentaro Kato looks confidently at his audience. As a grant holder from Erasmus Mundus' Build on European Asian Mobility (EM-BEAM), he has traveled back and forth between Keio University and Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany to research flow control using a plasma actuator. Now, nearing the end of the programme, he opines on his research experiences in Japan and abroad. Across the room, Konstantinos Zarogoulidis, a Ph.D. student of Imperial College London, smiles timidly as he admits to adopting the Japanese work ethic in his research on fluid mechanics at Keio. His mannerisms betray an appropriation of Japanese humility. Mr. Zarogoulidis is followed by Ayane Johchi, a doctoral candidate at Tokyo Institute of Technology who notes the research differences between Japan and France. Yet another Ph.D. hopeful, Alejandro Lopez-Hermosilla of Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, describes the fine details of his research at Keio and how EM-BEAM has translated into a career in Japan.
Left to right: Alejandro Lopez-Hermosilla, Kentaro Kato, Konstantinos Zarogoulidis & Ayane Johchi
Over the past three years, a total of 74 advanced trans-border exchanges like these have been made possible by the Erasmus Mundus Build on Euro Asian Mobility, referred to as EM-BEAM, a program that was stringently selected to fulfill Erasmus Mundus' 2009-2013 Action II objectives: 1) to build partnerships with higher education institutions in third countries and 2) to provide scholarships for mobility interaction. The programme brought together a consortium of twelve education institutions throughout countries in the European Union (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy Spain, and the UK) and the Far East--namely Japan and South Korea--to foster international mobility in research. On the Japanese end, Keio University, Okayama University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Waseda University jointly applied to the programme; Hanyang University and the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) represented Korea.
The École Centrale Paris led the successful bid for EM-BEAM. As a result, Erasmus Mundus injected over 1.5 million Euros into the programme, an unprecedented budget for a programme of this nature, and expanded its scope to accommodate the number of grant holders: 41 from the EU and 33 from East Asia. From Keio, a total of 5 researchers went abroad through EM-BEAM in the past 3 years: 2 doctoral students, 1 post-doctoral fellow, and 2 faculty members. 12 grant holders from European institutions chose to conduct their research at Keio, with 9 doctoral students and 3 faculty members conducting research on Keio's campuses, more than any other EM-BEAM institution.
A final meeting with representatives of each institution was held at Keio's Hiyoshi Campus on June 13, 2014, to review EM-BEAM's achievements and to hear from grant holders. Some notable accomplishments of the EM-BEAM mobility scheme were building a lasting consortium of member institutions; facilitating successful mobility experiences for doctoral candidates, post-doctoral fellows, and university faculty; and producing joint collaborations and publications. The meeting revealed that EM-BEAM has opened up numerous possibilities for further academic and research collaboration through bilateral partnerships, undergraduate/graduate student exchange, and even the development of joint degree programmes. Attendees also took this opportunity to look ahead into the future of research and exchange.
In fact, attendees have high hopes for one joint project already underway: the Euro-Asian Sustainable Energy Development (EM-EASED) programme, a follow-up programme to EM-BEAM. EM-EASED was selected to further develop Euro-Asian mobility after EM-BEAM members noticed that much of their research shared a common thread--energy. Over 60% of research on EM-BEAM was conducted in the engineering sciences, and EM-EASED is expected to reinforce the Euro-Asian bridges built by EM-BEAM and increase mutual recognition through energy-related research.