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New collaborations between researchers in Sweden and Japan

News: Oct 26, 2018

The collaboration project MIRAI, which started last year and will end 2019, has already resulted in a number of new collaborations between researchers in Japan and Sweden. During a seminar in Japan in mid-October, a joint statement was signed to continue the collaborations in the future.

About a hundred representatives from Swedish universities traveled in mid-October to Japan to attend the MIRAI seminar 2018. MIRAI, which means “future” in japanese, is a three-year project between seven Swedish and eight Japanese universities.
The focus of the project is sustainability, ageing and materials science, and the idea is that Swedish and Japanese researchers who are early in the career will be given the opportunity to meet in seminars and workshops. Several collaborations have already started.

Sustainable cultivation of wolffish

Jonathan Roques, Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, and member of SWEMARC, the Swedish mariculture research center, is doing research on the optimal culture conditions for wolffish species in sustainable, recirculating aquaculture systems.
– Wolffish has a high market value, it is a local species and tolerant to environmental parameters. It is resistant to stress, you can have them in high density and feed them with pellet already when they are young, he says.
Through the MIRAI project, he has got in contact with Professor Tominori Kindaichi at Hiroshima University. Kindaichi's laboratory has managed to isolate the denitrifying bacteria Anammox, which is able to transform toxic ammonium and nitrite into harmless nitrogenous gas.
– They have used the bacteria for plants wastewater treatment, but never before for marine aquaculture. Now we will try it in our system, says Jonathan Roques.
Through MIRAI, they have also got in touch with Federico Micolucci, Lund Unversity, who is doing research on biological membrane technology for water purification. Micolucci´s systems are now to be tested in the fish tanks in Gothenburg. The three researchers are now seeking funds for the project and aim to start collaboration in spring 2019. The hope is that in a few years it will be possible to buy sustainable cultivated wolffish in the fish store.

Innovation new track

Innovation is a new track within the MIRAI project. One of the researchers from the University of Gothenburg who traveled to Japan is Jon Williamsson, School of Business, Economics and Law. There he came in contact with Maki Kawase, Hiroshima University. They are now seeking funds together for collaboration about innovation, especially cooperation between city, business and university.
– Part of the project is about female entrepreneurship, which is much more developed in Sweden than in Japan, says Jon Williamsson.
He has lived and researched in Japan for three years, and is convinced that the MIRAI project can lead to several exciting collaborations.
– Japan is a high technology country in the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. They have a highly quality-focused hospitality sector, and with examples such as Nintendo and Sony, a global gaming industry. Sweden, and Gothenburg, also has a strong game industry and ambitions to promote growth in the hospitality sector. In general, Japan and Sweden have many similarities. We have similar societal challenges, for example an ageing population, and in both countries the democratic institutions are strong. Japan's international stance is close to the Swedish, with a long tradition of working against nuclear weapons, and supporting international trade. But compared to Japan, Swedish innovation policy is more nuanced, says Jon Williamsson.

Beginning on a longer collaboration

Kristin Rådesjö, International Centre, is the project manager for MIRAI at the University of Gothenburg. Her opinion of the seminar in Japan is that it was very well arranged. The seminar included panel discussions, four parallel workshops and a lecture by Professor Hiroshi Amano at Nagoya University who received the Nobel Prize in Physics 2014. The diplomatic relations between Japan and Sweden started 150 years ago, and the birthday was celebrated with a big banquet. The Swedish universities also organized an alumni meeting, where Japanese students who have studied in Sweden was served Swedish food and drink.
- One important part of the program was when the Swedish ambassador Magnus Robach and Yoshio Yamawaki, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, signed a joint statement to continue and further develop the collaborations after the MIRAI project is completed. Everyone is determined that this is the beginning of a longer collaboration, says Kristin Rådesjö.

Read more about MIRAI.
 

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Page Manager: Staff Portal|Last update: 10/26/2018
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Print date: 2019-07-17

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