Strengthening scientific exchange and joint research
The AIMR represented Tohoku University and showcased some of its best science at joint workshops held with the University of Cambridge and University College London in November 2013
While the AIMR is well known for its world-leading research and international research partnerships, the history of international academic exchange in Japan is still relatively recent. The year 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the first Japanese students — known as the Choshu Five — beginning their studies in England. In recognition of this milestone, UCL (University College London) — the university that hosted the students — organized a number of commemorative events, including several held in conjunction with Tohoku University. The AIMR’s visit to the United Kingdom offered a further opportunity for academic exchange through a workshop on mathematics and materials science at the University of Cambridge.
Joint AIMR–University of Cambridge workshop on mathematics and materials science
On 20 November, 14 researchers from the University of Cambridge and 12 young researchers from the AIMR converged in Cambridge to attend the AIMR–Cambridge Workshop and Discussion on “Hierarchical materials for green energy.” The AIMR’s connection with the University of Cambridge was formalized in 2012 when an agreement was signed to establish an AIMR Joint Center (AJC) where UK and AIMR scientists can perform joint research into metallic glasses, soft materials and mathematics.
Attendees at the workshop included Alan Lindsay Greer, an AIMR principal investigator and a professor at the University of Cambridge, and researchers Jiri Orava, Katherine Orchard and Demeter Kiss from the AJC in Cambridge. “The workshop provided a relaxed atmosphere in which the young and promising researchers could hold intense discussions on mathematics and materials science,” noted Masaru Tsukada, the administrative director of the AIMR.
Celebration of research with UCL
On 21 November, Tohoku University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UCL to further promote scholarly collaboration and international exchange, building on several years of successful scientific cooperation under academic exchange agreements fostered between the AIMR, two other institutions at Tohoku University and UCL faculties. The signing ceremony was followed by a forum to commemorate 150 years of academic exchange between Japan and the United Kingdom, including speeches by eminent professors from Tohoku University and UCL. Representing the AIMR, Director Motoko Kotani gave a commemorative address on the theme “An Introduction to the AIMR: Toward World Premier Status and Beyond.”
The following day, a well-attended AIMR–UCL Materials Workshop was held. Focusing on recent developments in materials science, the session featured 16 talks, including keynote lectures from AIMR principal investigators (PI). Alexander Shluger, a PI at the AIMR, expressed his expectations for future research development, in consideration of the many researchers — and potential collaborators — in attendance. “Each presentation stimulated in-depth discussions, and we expect further collaborations to develop as researchers find common agendas.”
Continued opportunities for exchange
The AIMR UK-based workshops proved stimulating and provided researchers located in Japan and the United Kingdom with an opportunity to share research ideas and findings. The workshops’ success is expected to lead to further opportunities for personnel exchange and joint research projects, particularly in partnership with UCL. Additionally, the workshops highlighted the value of promoting multidisciplinary exchange through AJCs at the University of Cambridge and other AIMR satellite institutions.
“I am pleased that the AIMR’s UK research activities are contributing to Tohoku University and providing an opportunity to strengthen its globalization efforts,” commented Director Kotani. “The AIMR and Tohoku University have now established themselves as top-class research institutes with a firm base in the United Kingdom.”