Tuesday 13 March 2012



“RENKEI” will enable higher education institutions to engage more fully with economy and society; twelve leading research-intensive universities from UK and Japan to strengthen links with industry via knowledge transfer and research collaboration

London (March 13, 2012)
Twelve leading universities from both the UK and Japan have been involved in forming a new partnership scheme to encourage knowledge transfer and research collaboration not only between the two countries but between higher education and industry as a whole.

The launch of the Japan-UK Research and Education Network for Knowledge Economy Initiatives, or RENKEI (meaning “collaboration” in Japanese), announced at a press conference today, sets an example during a time when higher education institutions are being asked to play a more central role in the economy and wider society, as well as equip graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in a global marketplace. For the past two years, the British Council in Japan has been bringing together university representatives from Japan and the UK to discuss the nature of successful partnerships and to identify effective models for international university-industry collaboration. The formal announcement was made ahead of the British Council’s annual Going Global international higher education conference being held in London from 13 March to 15 March.
“The UK and Japan have a long history of collaboration,” said Professor Shinichi Ago, Vice President and Director for the International Student Center, Kyushu University. “This scheme will allow us to define new areas to work on through active and structured debate.”

With universities increasingly redefining their role in society and industry focused on maintaining an innovative edge, a closer relationship between the higher education sector and business has become a priority for Japan and the UK, two of the world’s major knowledge economies.

“Both countries have much to gain through working together,” said Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost, University College London and a Higher Education Advisor to the British Council. “We have a special fit that promises to result in exciting new partnership projects that show how universities can work creatively and effectively with industry, government and the civic society across national boundaries.”

By creating a new connecting body through this scheme, collaboration which used to be of a disparate nature can be more holistically derived and sustained, resulting in greater impact on not only universities and industry, but society as a whole.

“This is unlike other schemes where universities have signed up to something established,” said Jeff Streeter, Director Japan, British Council. “What is so powerful about RENKEI is that it has been developed collaboratively through the motivation and goodwill of the participating universities on both sides.”

The participating universities in RENKEI are forming pilot projects for collaboration in three main areas: technology and knowledge exchange with industry, student mobility, and universities’ social engagement. Among the pilot projects are summer schools for postgraduates and early career researchers, and a bilateral skills development programme for PhD students.

The following is a list of the twelve universities which have been involved in the formation of this new scheme.

University of Bristol
University of Leeds 
University of Liverpool 
Newcastle University 
University of Southampton 
UCL (University College London)

Kyoto University
Kyushu University 
Nagoya University
Ritsumeikan University
University of Tokyo
University of Tohoku