On 11 May, a seminar entitled ��How universities support industrial innovation; studies from Japan and the U.K.,�� co-hosted by the University of Brighton and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, was held at the Embassy of Japan in London (Sponsored by the Japan Society. Supported by JSPS London, JETRO London, Japan Science and Technology Agency, and the Embassy of Japan in the UK).
Both universities have deepened their relationship since the outset of an intergovernmental agreement to promote cooperation between institutions of higher education in the two countries. The seminar is also one initiative being undertaken to promote cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation as agreed upon in the joint statement (��a Framework for the Future��) by the then two Prime Ministers in both countries in January 2007. Both universities have held a series of seminars concerning industry-university collaboration every year in the UK or Japan since 2007.
Aimed at promoting international university-industry cooperation between Japan and the UK, the seminar first examined the current state of interaction between higher educational institutions and businesses in the two countries. It then discussed the role of universities for creating innovation, introducing examples of industry collaboration and new technology development by the two universities. Altogether, some 90 people attended the seminar, from universities, government agencies and corporations including people representing such organizations as the Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills (now Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), the Higher Education Funding Council for England, The Royal Society, Research Councils.
A reception was held after the seminar, at which the participants engaged in convivial conversation and expanded their networks of contacts, which are indispensable for university-industry cooperation. Also, they enjoyed a performance of the University of Brighton orchestra, including a Japanese vibraphonist.
Exchange between Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the University of Brighton began with their participation in study visits in January 2005, which were held as part of a programme based on an intergovernmental agreement to promote cooperation between institutions of higher education in the two countries. In November 2006, the universities signed an agreement to carry out international university-industry cooperation, as they had coinciding strategies to develop international linkages in their working frameworks with local business communities.
One unique characteristic of this programme is the support the universities are to provide within their respective countries for advancing the activities of the counterpart university and of its affiliated small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), while evolving related research concepts. This inter-university partnership supports the growth of each side��s SMEs in wide overseas markets that span continents and provides paths for the introduction of new technologies into those markets. Both in this respect and as regards its potential for expanding the interface between the two sectors in developing new industries, this inter-university programme is unprecedented.