Contribution of Japanese R&D activities in the EU to finding common solutions to global challenges

On 5 October 2011, JBCE hosted a Symposium gathering stakeholders from across Brussels and the Member States to discuss current Japanese research & development activities in the EU and their contributions to European innovation.

At the symposium, European policy-makers, member state experts, industry representatives and journalists gathered together to learn more about the technological innovations made by Japanese industries operating in Europe, in particular how these advancements can help to address the numerous common challenges both Japan and the EU face, including energy efficiency, climate change and healthy and active ageing.

JBCE President and Executive Vice Chairman of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Satoru Hayashi warmly welcomed the conference participants. Mentioning the recent slowdown in the global economy and the sharp increase in financial volatility, Mr. Hayashi told participants “We must tackle these challenges urgently, and innovation will be one of the key breakthroughs which will contribute to growth and jobs.”

The JBCE was also pleased to welcome Japanese Ambassador to the European Union H.E. Mr Kojiro Shiojiri, who provided the opening remarks: “Japan and the EU share the same goals; to build resilient, competitive, and innovative society. To attain this goal should reinforce our relationship with a fresh and ambitious perspective and a stronger commitment.” He further added “We are now in a position to proceed with the agreements in political and economic areas, not in a mere Free Trade Agreement, but much broader perspective agreements.”

Mr Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s Director-General for Research and Innovation, provided the keynote speech. He began by stressing the importance of “smart” fiscal consolidation and the need to continue to invest in innovation, research and education despite the financial constraints.

Then, against the backdrop of the Europe 2020 strategy, he highlighted Europe’s determination to turn the European Union into an Innovation Union with a strong innovation-friendly environment across Europe, including first and foremost getting rid of the barriers that hamper innovation, such as marketplace fragmentation, delays in setting standards, unnecessarily expensive patents, and shortages of skilled workers.

He then confirmed the EU’s commitment to Japan stating; “Now that we have the Science and Technology Agreement between the European Union and Japan, all the conditions are in place to make sure that the cooperation between European and Japanese organisations is constantly improving.”

The Ambassador of Japan to the European Union and Mr. Smits touched upon the global societal challenges that the EU and Japan are facing. In this context, they noted the scope for increased research and innovation cooperation in fields of mutual interest, such as renewable energies, raw materials, healthy ageing, ICTs, and research infrastructures.

Later on, four JBCE member companies delivered presentations highlighting the contributions of their technologies to addressing global challenges. Shimadzu, Panasonic, Fujitsu and Sony featured presentations related to the Shimadzu research laboratory, sustainable environmental solutions for ‘cities of the future’, High-Performance Computing, and connecting people to the smart grid. A key message was that one of the main challenges companies face in terms of testing innovative products and subsequently bringing them to market is to understand the objectives, ideas, and expectations of their partners, in order to cooperate most effectively.

Symposium participants also had the opportunity to browse the exhibitions of many other JBCE member company technologies to learn more about a variety of new and innovative technologies including ultra-high-speed cameras, nanotechnology, and technologies related to lithium ion batteries and plastics recycling.




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