North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Japan have a long tradition of good and close business links. Academic cooperation has also become an important asset in the bilateral relations of the two partners. Mutual exchanges of researchers, long-lasting partnerships between universities, as well as a fruitful exchange at policy level reflect this excellent development.
However, there is potential for more enhanced scientific and technological cooperation in a wide range of research topics, as our societies are facing similar challenges in fields such as energy, environment, innovation gap, and demographic changes, to name just a few. Through an exchange of scientific ideas and a mutual fertilisation of research approaches and joint R&D projects, Japan and NRW could together address common societal and economic issues, and in so doing increase the benefits which can be achieved from research effort. In addition, the opportunities provided by the European Framework Programme (FP 7) need to be systematically exploited and further developed. Bilateral NRW-Japan relations can represent a solid foundation for the implementation of the international S&T agreement between Japan and the EU. Concrete NRW-Japan projects will gain both in relevance and impact when integrated into the EU-Japan dimension.
The workshop addresses the topics related to these objectives from a practical point of view. The opportunities offered by European funding schemes, rules for participation, and concrete examples will motivate NRW researchers together with their Japanese partners to embark on the international dimension of the European Research Area. NRW's Ministry of Innovation (MIWF) will provide all support possible in order to foster NRW-Japan partnerships in FP 7.
With this workshop, the scientific community in North Rhine-Westphalia is launching the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of German-Japanese diplomatic relations.