UCL Global


Osaka University to further research partnerships with UCL

3 April 2019

UCL has committed to increased research collaboration with Osaka through a joint funding scheme

Osaka delegation in the UCL Japanese garden

A delegation to UCL from Osaka University last week saw the two institutions announce the deepening of their partnership through a joint funding scheme, along with workshops on topics including global health and wellbeing, sustainable urban design and society and education.

Professor Genta Kawahara, Executive Vice President for Global Engagement, Professor Takuo Dome, Director, Social Solutions Initiatives (SSI) and more than 20 other academics from Osaka joined a tour of the UCL campus and met with academic staff from across the university.

Joint funding announcement

Following the tour, UCL’s Japan Ambassador Professor Shin-Ichi Ohnuma and Regional Pro-Vice-Provost for East Asia, Katharine Carruthers, welcomed the delegation to a ‘partnership kick-off’ event.  

Speaking at the event, Katharine said: “UCL’s Global Engagement Strategy is about working with partners to achieve fair solutions to global challenges. We encourage people to think global and act together.

“Partnerships of equivalence are fundamental to the strategy. We can do things better together; come up with things that we wouldn’t be able to come up with alone. They’re reciprocal relationships based on trust.”

The event provided an opportunity for the two institutions to discuss plans for a joint funding scheme. Katharine said: “I have the great pleasure to announce a joint funding scheme between Osaka and UCL. This is a three-year joint funding scheme to facilitate collaboration in areas of mutual interest and complementary strengths.”

Social initiatives

Dr Ian Scott, Director of UCL Grand Challenges, and Professor Takuo Dome, SSI Director, discussed the two institutions’ commitment to tackling world challenges through their research.

Both the UCL Grand Challenges and Osaka SSI address areas of pressing global concern, including sustainable cities and human wellbeing, which align closely with the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the UN.

Explaining UCL’s commitment to the Grand Challenges, Ian said: “We want to ensure that the knowledge that we create moves perhaps more swiftly than how it has in the past, to have real impact in society.

He urged academics: “Don’t simply think of creating new research questions to put to research councils […] but think of what you can do in terms of non-governmental organisations, industry and more.”

Professor Genta Kawahara outlined Osaka’s 2021 Vision. He said: “In accordance with the university motto, ‘Live locally, grow globally’, Osaka University will be committed to innovation through co-creation with society.”

He added: “UCL and Osaka University share common ground for their citizens and society. I would be very grateful if the workshops led to concrete steps for our institutions working together.”

Historical connections

The final speaker at the event was Minister Takashi Okada, from the Japan Embassy in London.

Mr Okada said: “Japan and the UK are exceptional research partners; joint papers between the UK and Japan are more commonly cited than those of other countries.

“The societies we live in are facing new challenges [which require] an interdisciplinary approach. UCL’s Grand Challenges and Osaka’s Social Solutions Initiatives share a similar philosophy and I strongly hope that after the workshops today that they will be able to identify promising areas for joint research strategy.”

Referencing the UK’s current political climate, he said: “While Brexit is an almost inescapable topic at the moment, we hope whatever the outcome that the collaboration between our countries will continue to grow.”