During the celebration of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Sweden in 2018, important steps were taken for deepening our research and innovation collaboration, which now will continue implementation. The Joint Statement signed at Governmental level 2018 guides further development of collaboration in a number of fields, including:
- Strategic university collaborations. Building on existing strategic initiatives, such as the partnership between Tokyo University and KTH, Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institutet, as well as the MIRAI collaboration between eight Japanese and seven Swedish universities, future direction includes ambitions in safeguarding long-term sustainability, possibly including additional universities, and especially achieving more impact and innovation for society.
- Jointly addressing societal challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). From the positive outcomes of the ongoing collaboration programme between the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova and Japan Science and Technology JST on bringing forward solutions to societal challenges of an ageing population, possibilities for expanding ambitions and engaging other funding agencies in challenge- or SDG- based approaches are explored.
- Synchrotron and neutron beam research infrastructures. Collaboration in constructions and usage of the excellent MAX IV and SPring-8 synchrotron facilities, the ESS and J-PARC neutron beam facilities, to further push the boundaries and jointly host world-leading competence and possibilities, for in-depth understanding of materials and systems on atomic and molecular level.
- Researcher mobility and networks. Continued efforts in strengthening researcher mobility and networks are important, as well as joint SE-JP initiatives, such as the Nobel Prize Dialogue Japan, expanding the horizon of possibilities.
Jointly, Sweden and Japan now continue to stimulate research and innovation, to expand the borders of knowledge, contribute to a better world, and increase competitiveness. Happy 2019!