Celebrating the 20th anniversary of formal relations, Osaka University and the University of Groningen signed a strategic partnership agreement to strengthen their collaboration. In this agreement, there is a specific focus on contributing to the shared societal challenges. Furthermore, there is an ambition to develop multilateral collaboration with mutual partners from different continents including Asia and Europe.
The main goal of the strategic partnership agreement is to create more online and face-to-face opportunities in education and research for staff and students from both universities.
While the formal collaboration between Osaka University and the University of Groningen dates back to 2002, the first exchange was already 152 years ago when Dr. Ermerins came from Groningen to teach at the Osaka Medical School, which is the origin of the current Osaka University School of Medicine. In more recent years, a lot has been achieved, for example, in joint research projects, international symposia, an undergraduate summer programme, collaboration in the Erasmus Mundus Master Eurocultures, Japan-Netherlands Student Conferences and faculty exchange.
As a next step, Osaka University and the University of Groningen will develop a road map that includes milestones for the coming years. Osaka University President Shojiro NISHIO stated: “We would like to intensify collaborations between our researchers and students, within and between disciplines. We aim to come to a picture of future society, a picture we can present during the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan in Osaka. The Expo is a big event for us and we use that as a milestone on the road map we will develop with the University of Groningen in the coming period. This road map will further include next steps towards multilateral collaboration, for example, through our ASEAN Campus Project and the development of double doctorate programmes.”
After a successful 2-day meeting that also included a symposium on Meta-Science, visits to various schools and institutions, and lectures on the history of Osaka-Groningen relations, the University of Groningen President Jouke de Vries concluded: “We have found each other in working together on challenges we face in our own region and creating global solutions for local challenges. We will do this by sharing knowledge across geographical and disciplinary borders in education and research. We look forward to making our collaboration fit for the future. Working on the frontier of knowledge with our researchers, and develop skills and competence in our students so they have an eye for the challenges in society and become world citizens.”
Focus areas in the agreement are health, well-being, sustainability and energy (specifically hydrogen) which are emerging themes for collaboration on which a workshop will be organised in the following week. In these and other fields, collaboration will be initiated or intensified in exchange of students, staff, PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows. Furthermore, there is an ambition for joint publications, seminars, conferences and workshops. Finally, collaboration in education and PhD programmes will be developed.
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