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Tackling climate change through international collaboration with Osaka University

09 February 2023
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Evrim Ursavas

Let’s meet Evrim Ursavas

Evrim has been an employee at the University of Groningen (UG) for 10 years and is associate professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business. Her research is in Supply Chain Design and Optimization, with an emphasis on Energy and Logistics. 

These are both very important sectors with strong economic impacts and employment opportunities. Energy is a fundamental element of the economy, with the Netherlands being an important energy hub in the Northwest European market. 

Evrim would like to contribute to new knowledge and methods to tackle relevant problems and would also like to explore new approaches for connecting academia and society, with particular focus on the Northern Netherlands. She works on projects such as HEAVENN and ConsenCUS and she has recently taken on a new project for the development of Greece’s first hydrogen valley.

International collaboration with Osaka University

HEAVENN is the first hydrogen valley in Europe and therefore receives a lot of attention and publicity. Evrim receives many questions and two years ago she gave a workshop on hydrogen which many Japanese students attended. With Osaka University (OU) being one of the UGs strategic partners, Evrim recently started to explore collaboration in the field of energy between OU and the UG. Together with two colleagues, she visited Osaka for a week in November 2022. They were supported in their visit with a Strategic Partnership Framework (SPF) travel grant. 

Joint research

During their visit to OU, Evrim and her colleagues discussed collaboration on the Energy theme: ‘We held a workshop where each researcher could explain their team's research targets and also identify collaboration topics at a more concrete level. Japan and the Netherlands both work, for example, on hydrogen, wind energy and on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), some of the instruments that can shape the energy transition. OU and the UG can perform joint research on these and other topics in the field of energy’. 

Tackling climate change and with this the energy transition, is a global issue. Countries are facing similar challenges in different contexts. Evrim mentions the importance of international collaboration: ‘International collaboration in this new field is vital. Investments are high and countries can learn from each other and access how to deal with different scenarios. Also the need for knowledge in this field is growing. Not only research but also teaching is very important. The scarcity of skilled labor and expertise is an important issue and barrier’.

Support

Collaboration opportunities with companies, industry and other academic institutions are also sought after. To this end, Evrim and her colleagues have visited Osaka Gas and Tokyo Tech during their time in Osaka: ‘Support from the industry and government are vital for all kinds of different reasons such as impact, knowledge, incentives, policy, regulations and stability’. She also addresses the need for support from society and the important role for universities: ‘People need to see the importance of the energy transition and need to be willing to switch to alternative energy sources. There is a lot of joint decision making involved in this new energy field and universities have an important role. Universities have a central role to play because they are unbiased’. 

They have also explored funding opportunities during their visit that they can make use of to stimulate future research collaboration. In that respect, their visits to the Dutch consulate in Osaka and the Dutch embassy in Tokyo were useful in discussing opportunities for collaboration at a strategic level for the Netherlands and Japan. 

Future collaboration

The UG and OU will perform joint research activities in the field of energy and they will be searching for opportunities to fund their collaboration. The aim would be to initiate research project(s) that would directly feed into the World Expo being held in Osaka in 2025. 

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Evrim Ursavas and her colleagues visiting Osaka, Japan
Last modified:09 February 2023 3.14 p.m.

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