On November 9, the EU Ambassador to Japan, Patricia Flor, visited Tohoku University. Following a tour of the Advanced Institute of Materials Science (AIMR), the ambassador held discussions with researchers and paid a courtesy visit to President Hideo Ohno.
The ambassador’s visit started with the tour of AIMR, where she was given an overview of the institute by its director, Prof. Shin-ichi Orimo, its deputy director Prof. Hiroshi Suito, and the director of its Research Support Division, Prof. Nobuyuki Nishiyama. Some of the institute’s early-career researchers discussed their interests with the ambassador, who was then shown around some of the laboratories.
Ambassador Flor then met six of Tohoku University’s researchers who have worked with or have an interest in EU-based institutions, and both parties enjoyed an open exchange of opinions on the results that have come about through joint research and also on issues that have arisen. Researchers who have participated in EU research grant programs explained that there are difficulties when conducting research across borders when different regulations and systems are in place, while acknowledging that the programs were very helpful in promoting student exchange.
The ambassador pointed out that safeguards are needed when conducting joint research because cutting-edge technology can be used for both good and ill. She also said that although activities within the EU have been restricted by the coronavirus pandemic, she felt that it’s time for governments and institutions to recreate what is considered “normal” through the widespread use of vaccines and other measures.
The ambassador’s visit concluded with a meeting with President Hideo Ohno, and they discussed research and educational exchanges between Japan and the EU at length. Ambassador Flor called the EU a leader in fighting climate change and said that its member states are working together as “Team Europe” to tackle this important issue. President Ohno introduced Tohoku University’s Green Goals Initiative that has been established based on the university’s efforts since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and he said that the university is involved in basic research with respect to climate change.
In addition to conducting research and educational exchanges with EU member states, Tohoku University is also making use of the JETRO Innovation Desk that has been set up at the university to develop industry-academia collaborations with businesses in the EU. During the visit, both parties expressed their hopes for the further development of cooperation between the EU and Tohoku University.
Ambassador Flor is introduced to equipment by Prof. Takafumi Sato
The EU delegation discusses research-related matters with faculty members from Tohoku University
Tohoku University Global Engagement Division
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