Kyoto symposium explores blooming research connections

The future of research cooperation between Japan and Australia has been explored in a symposium organised by the University of Tasmania and the Kyoto Institute of Technology.

The Australia-Japan Innovation and Research Symposium in Kyoto brought together 80 senior university and government representatives from Australia and Japan to discuss high-level policy issues and investigate opportunities for innovative collaboration in research and research training.

Professor Brigid Heywood, the University of Tasmania’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), pictured, spoke about large-scale transnational research endeavours with shared infrastructure developments with a focus on the Integrated Marine Observing System and the Australian VLBI Array.

Universities Australia’s representative, Dr Liz Eedle, Policy Director, Research and Innovation, in her summation speech, said the symposium “reinforced the importance and the value that comes from collaborations between Australia and Japan, and why it is vital that we continue to work together”.

“Listening today I have been struck by several points.

“One is the variety of work we do together, from robotics to blue roses, to geosciences and understanding Zealandia.

“Another thing that has struck me is the maturity of many of our relationships, demonstrated by the long timelines of some of the examples today. Professor Heywood spoke of the long-term planning that she and her colleagues must undertake in Antarctic sciences, and we heard of the 30 years of collaboration for the blue rose to bloom,” Dr Eedle said.

“I have also been reminded that so often, the partnerships between Japan and Australia are just one element of international collaboration. The work we do in industry, in universities and in government is often not limited by borders. And so we have seen examples today of the networks, the webs of connections across many countries needed to undertake research and innovation.

“Never has it been so clear that we work in a global community.”

The case studies of Australia-Japan research collaborations presented at the symposium included a phytoplankton and sea-ice algae study by Kazuhiro Yoshida, as part of his joint PhD program between the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the University of Hokkaido.

In addition to Professor Heywood, the University of Tasmania was represented by the Research Division Manager Karina Groenewoud and the Associate Dean, Global Engagement, Professor Peter Wilson, who spent four years in Japan at the University of Tsukuba.

The symposium was followed by tours of the University of Kyoto, the University of Osaka, the Suntory Global Innovation Centre and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology.

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