"Japan is an important driver of technology in a number of sectors, and Science Week provides a golden opportunity for Norwegian research groups seeking to strengthen existing cooperation and establish new relations," says Julie Christiansen, who coordinates the Research Council of Norway’s cooperation with Japan.
Japan has implemented a wide-ranging renewable energy effort in the wake of the nuclear accident in Fukushima, and is currently working to introduce a reform of its energy system. Energy is thus a natural topic for an event such as Science Week. Prior to the accident, approximately one-fourth of Japan’s energy needs were met by nuclear power. The country has since closed down nearly all of its nuclear power stations.
Wind power on the agenda
"Research cooperation between Norway and Japan in the areas of wind power, including offshore wind, is well established", says Trygve Riis, special adviser at the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment at the Research Council. "One of the Science Week sessions will be dedicated to this area.".
Other sessions will address:
• Smart Cities
• Energy systems/smart grids
• Carbon capture and storage (CSS)
• Energy, the environment and society
Research and education: A gateway for Norway to Japan
"Research cooperation with Japan is important, both because the country has such a prominent research community and because it has such a technology-focused, research-based business sector", Julie Christiansen states.
Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education and the Research Council have launched a joint effort to promote and coordinate research and educational cooperation between the two countries.
Svein Grandum, Norway’s Science and Technology Counsellor in Japan, has a key role in planning this year’s Science Week. "Japan’s education and research system is characterised by a low level of internationalisation thus far" Mr Grandum says. Measures to increase the internationalisation of research and education are therefore high on the Japanese Government’s agenda.
Research agreement since 2003
Since it was signed in 2003, the agreement on bilateral research and technology collaboration between Norway and Japan has led to increased mutual exchange and cooperation in many sectors and subject areas. Important keywords are resource-based industrial development, dependency on oceans and technology for sustainability. Health and welfare are also priority areas in both countries.
Research cooperation is currently greatest in the following areas:
• Renewable energy and other environment-friendly energy technologies;
• Materials and nanotechnology;
• Marine research, including environmental and climate-related pressures on the sea;
• Polar and space research.
Research cooperation between Norway and Japan
Activities under the agreement on science and technology between Norway and Japan are followed up by the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the Research Council of Norway in cooperation with the Science and Technology Counsellor at Innovation Norway’s office in Tokyo and the new collaboration between the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education, Innovation Norway and the Research Council.
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the official signatory to the agreement, but activities are followed up by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
The Research Council of Norway has cooperated with the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for many years on researcher exchange and personal visiting researcher grants.
The Research Council participates in the European Interest Group (EIG) for Japan, a European network for research cooperation with Japan.
NorAlumni Japan is a network of and for Japanese and Norwegian students, researchers and actors in trade and industry who are seeking access to specific information relating to Japanese-Norwegian contacts and to members’ personal networks and experience.