Diversities in a globalized world

I have just left South Africa, heading home to Sweden. Travelling enables you to reflect on the diversities that we encounter in this “globalized” world.

Last week I attended the Science and Technology Forum in Kyoto, Japan. The meeting was an interesting mixture of people from all continents, ranging from ministers of different governments including our own Minister Helene Hellmark Knutsson, University Presidents, researchers, funding agencies, NGO:s, and so forth, discussing themes relating to science and technology in a broad sense.  Not surprisingly Climate change, smart cities, gender issues and other globally addressed issues were discussed.

The high level discussions in the sessions were followed by more informal meetings in between, perhaps the best way of making things move forward.   I talked a little bit with the some Japanese Presidents and with Japanese funding agencies about where Japan is standing. There is a strong indication from the Ministry of Research and Education (MEXT) that Japan is setting clear targets for the internationalization of academic work, especially in certain fields, both for research and education. I think the strong incentives from the Japanese Government opens up opportunities for our Swedish Universities to strengthen collaboration with the top 13 Universities indicated by MEXT as leading universities having the potential to aim for the top 100 in the world. Japan has been very good at research, but when it comes to internationalization of their education they indicate that this can improve, and the universities now seek for strategic partnerships in an unprecedented way. Lund University already has strong links with many of these.

A very positive appearance at the STS Forum were the Future Leaders 2015, from the Universities attending the Forum. For these young researchers to participate in the meetings is a good opportunity of mingling with researchers, governmental and funding bodies as well as University presidents. The initiative was sponsored by the Japanese MEXT. I spoke a bit with the Swedish Future Leaders who seemed to enjoy the meeting. Here is a picture of them!

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While in Japan Viktor Öwall, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and I took the opportunity to visit some universities in order to discuss our collaboration, namely Waseda University, Keio University, and last but not least the University of Tokyo on the very day they received a new Nobel Laureate in Physics, Prof. Takaaki Kajita, whose work on neutrinos was rewarded, together with Prof. Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University, Canada! Exciting!


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