Following the success of the first conference held at University College London in May last year in conjunction with Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the UK, the second Japan-UK Universities Conference for Collaboration in Research and Education was held in Japan on October 8, 2015. Cohosted by Keio University and the British Council Japan and held in the Keio University Library (Old Building) Conference Hall on Mita Campus, heads and senior leaders of research-oriented universities in Japan and the UK convened to present and discuss issues surrounding research and education common to both countries.
In the welcoming addresses, Keio President Atsushi Seike expressed his dual hope for developing further collaboration between Japanese and British universities to contribute together to the global community to cope with common challenges and to strengthen friendship during this event. Mr. Futoshi Sano, the Deputy Director-General of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology spoke about recent developments in research and education between Japan and the UK.
There were then two breakout sessions: the first to discuss internationalization of university organization and campuses and leadership strategies to develop global talent; and the other to discuss ways to enhance student and researcher mobility between Japan and the UK.
Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate and the President of the Royal Society, kicked off the afternoon session with a presentation on the Francis Crick Institute which is planned to open in 2016 as the largest center for biomedical research and innovation in Europe, but not before acknowledging the news that Japan had just won two Nobel Prizes, which highlighted the value of increasing research exchange between Japan and the UK. The second guest speaker, Dr. Yuichiro Anzai, the President of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and former Keio President, gave an overview of the activities of JSPS, Japan’s core funding agency supporting scientific advancement.
The second session of the day concerned how to tackle specific common global challenges and how to achieve greater research and social impact through Japan-UK collaboration. Keio President Atsushi Seike gave one of the presentations in which he talked about the development and current status of Keio’s research for the Longevity Initiative in coping with declining fertility rates and ageing population.
There was consensus among the Japanese and UK universities that there is room for more collaboration, but the issue is how to better facilitate the process. Dialog on new opportunities for collaboration and exchange between university representatives continued over the course of the day, including the reception afterwards.