University collaboration towards impact

During two weeks, Swedish university delegations visited Tokyo to discuss and prepare for the continued and deepened Mirai collaboration. Mirai is a strategic university collaboration between 15 prominent Japanese and Swedish universities, focusing on Ageing, Sustainability, Materials Science and Innovation, funded by the Swedish foundation STINT, the universities, and with support from the Japanese research ministry MEXT, through the funding agency JSPS.

Mirai was initiated at a university president’s summit at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo 2015, together with STINT, later resulting in the Mirai proposal. During the celebration of 150 years of diplomatic relations 2018, a renewed summit was held in Kyoto, organised by the Office of Science and Innovation and STINT, and this time also with research funding organisations. The focus was to discuss the long-term sustainability of the collaboration, possibility of increasing the number involved universities, and how to promote increased impact and innovation from the collaboration.

The cross-cutting priority of innovation was under special focus during the current visit. Workshops, meetings and study visits were held with Japanese agencies, Government, research infrastructures, businesses, incubator and venture funding, to pave the way for increased innovation and impact.

One of the Innovation sessions with Tokyo, Waseda, Uppsala and Lund Universities, as well as JST and the Office of Science and Innovation. Photo: OSI Japan.

At the JST-Mirai workshop on SDGs and innovation for Societal Challenges, a constructive discussion was held on how to collaborate, promote entrepreneurship and address joint societal challenges. Funding agencies from both SE and JP expressed interest and appreciation in the Mirai collaboration, and welcomed the universities’ suggestions of possible and desirable support mechanisms.

The Innovation group, as well as the Ageing, also held workshops for preparing this year’s Mirai Seminar, which will be held in November in Stockholm and Uppsala. For the first time, Ageing and Innovation also held joint sessions to spur interaction and promote impact. The workshops resulted in concrete suggestions for the upcoming seminars, and deepened Mirai collaboration.

Joint Innovation and Ageing workshop. Photo: OSI Japan.

On June 4th, the Swedish Ambassador Magnus Robach welcomed the Mirai delegation with a reception in his residence, together with the Office of Science and Innovation. At the reception, actors from the Mirai meetings and workshop participated, as well as other important guests from the Japanese innovation system, and Japanese alumni student from the Mirai universities. The reception enabled creative discussions and deepened relations between the Japanese and Swedish actors, and illustrated the Embassy’s and the Office of Science and Innovation’s dedication for supporting this important university collaboration. From OSI, we look forward to a deepened Mirai collaboration!

Mirai reception at Ambassador Robach’s Residence. Photo: OSI Japan.