RENKEI brand mark

Defining Tomorrow
Strategic Collaboration between the UK and Japan in Academia and Industry

RENKEI is the Japanese word for ‘collaboration,’ and is an acronym for Research and Education Network for Knowledge Economy Initiatives.

RENKEI is a new platform for a dynamic partnership between the UK and Japan in industry and higher education.

RENKEI will promote the development of innovative solutions to the challenges facing knowledge-based economies by bringing together talented individuals from the respective nations and diverse backgrounds.

RENKEI will create an environment that will allow such individuals to share their knowledge, skills and experience towards shaping the future world.

What Gave Rise to RENKEI?

RENKEI was launched on 13th March 2012 to meet the challenges of living in a complex, rapidly changing and globalized twenty-first century. The spheres of higher education and business have undergone radical changes in recent years. It is intended that close collaboration between the UK and Japan in these two sectors will result in new levels of professionalism and innovative strategies that will help define the world of tomorrow.

The UK and Japan have a long history of partnership, and share common interests and concerns in the twenty-first century. The two economically driven countries are among the world’s very best producers of cutting-edge research. As such; enormous potential exists for the UK and Japan to learn from each other. They face similar demographic, political, social and industrial challenges, and thus are ideal partners in meeting these demands with innovative solutions.

As well as their commonalities, the UK and Japan are well matched in terms of their differences. They offer mutual geographical advantages in being located in contrasting regions of the world, and they have varying areas of relative strength both within academia and industry. RENKEI is an exciting opportunity to bring these very positive, complementary factors together in a unique form of constructive collaboration.

As this entirely new form of knowledge transfer and research collaboration develops, it will result in shared values, agendas and action points among the participating individuals, institutions and organizations. RENKEI programmes and projects will also lead to closer consultation with potential stakeholders, especially the British and Japanese governments. The long-term benefits of RENKEI will be a sustainable dialogue and strategic relationship that transcends academic disciplines, industrial sectors and national boundaries.

What RENKEI will do?

RENKEI aims to create a unique working framework for university-industry collaboration, particularly in the fields of science and technology, between the UK and Japan. A number of leading research-intensive universities in the UK and Japan are already participating in RENKEI, and various pilot programmes are under way. Initial steps in the scheme are based on existing links between higher education institutions and between universities and industry. However, RENKEI represents a departure from the traditional model of collaboration, which has tended to focus on individual ties between particular researchers and institutions. RENKEI will support personnel exchanges and encourage the building of networks in education and industry, leading to a system of close university-industry collaboration in the two countries.

The development of RENKEI is timely. Today’s universities are being increasingly requested to play a more central role in the economy and in society at large. It also required that they equip their graduates with the appropriate skills to succeed in the global marketplace. Accordingly, RENKEI will support the internationalization of universities in such areas as curriculum development and administration. RENKEI will provide a platform for problem solving and developing effective human resources that are able to meet the challenges of the modern age. RENKEI aims to promote joint research, personnel development and innovation in its efforts to meet the future needs of society.

RENKEI will encourage activities that demand collaborative efforts in finding adaptive solutions in higher education, industry and society. These endeavours will produce advantages not only for the UK and Japan, but also for global society as a whole. In contrast to traditional models of one-way communication between universities and the general public, RENKEI will emphasise the importance of public engagement in achieving positive social impact. This will involve the active participation of the general public in driving the direction of research through consultation.

RENKEI sees its purpose as forging links between industry and higher education towards nurturing the research leaders and other human resources that will shape the society of the future.

RENKEI member universities


Kyoto University
Kyushu University
Nagoya University
Osaka University
Ritsumeikan University
Tohoku University


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

RENKEI working groups

RENKEI member universities have been delivering working groups in cooperation with businesses in order to explore new and original forms of collaboration between industry and academia.

List of the working groups