German-Japanese University Consortium Signs Joint Statement

Press Release No. 78/2012
4 April 2012
Representatives of the six partner institutions met in Kyoto for a two-day conference

With the signing of a joint statement, Heidelberg University, Göttingen University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have further intensified their transnational cooperation with Kyoto University, Osaka University and Tohoku University in Japan. In the framework of the German-Japanese University Consortium HeKKSaGOn the rectors and presidents of the institutions involved were meeting up in Kyoto for the “2nd Japanese-German Presidents’ Conference”. During the event, researchers from various disciplines discussed research fields of major importance for the future and carried on with the planning for existing cooperation projects. The next joint conference is scheduled to take place in September 2013 at Göttingen University.

The six partners established the University Consortium in 2010. HeKKSaGOn stands for Heidelberg – Kyoto – Karlsruhe – Sendai – Göttingen – Osaka – network. Funding for the two-day event in Japan comes from the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

At the opening of the conference there were speeches by former Japanese ambassador to Germany, Dr. Takahiro Shinyo, and consul-general Dr. Alexander Olbrich of the German Consulate General Osaka-Kobe. Dieter Berg, chairman of the Robert Bosch Foundation’s board of management, and Dr. Yuichiro Ansai, president of JSPS, were also taking the podium. The various work groups were discussing not only the general issue of policy developments and reforms in higher education, but also the specifics of academic work in fields like the social sciences, cultural studies, environmental sciences, neurosciences and scientific computing. Over the past few months promising joint research projects have been planned and scholars and scientists have indicated a heightened interest in research sojourns and periods as visiting professors or lecturers. With the aid of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation, Heidelberg University is also setting up an exchange programme for doctoral students with the three Japanese partner universities.

The delegation from Heidelberg University was headed by rector Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel and included Heidelberg scholars and scientists from the life sciences, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, medicine, Japanese studies and the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. Representatives of the university’s Research Division and International Affairs Division were also taking part in the meeting. In July 2010 in Heidelberg, the rectors and presidents of Heidelberg University, Göttingen University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and three of the leading Japanese universities – Kyoto University, Osaka University and Tohoku University – signed a declaration establishing the German-Japanese University Consortium. The aim of the consortium is to step up collaboration in research and teaching, initiate joint research projects and graduate programmes and support the exchange of scholars, scientists, doctoral candidates and students.

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