Dear Prof. Saracco (Rector of Politecnico di Torino),
Dear Consul General Amamiya,
It is with extraordinary pleasure that I introduce the Italy-Japan Conversations on Science and Technology, curated by Prof. Cassatella of the Politecnico di Torino. My only regret is that I am not able to do it in person.
Italy and Japan have historical and long lasting good relationships, which bloomed in the last thirty years. However, since my arrival in Tokyo a year ago, I understood that for further consolidating this strong relationship the development of scientific collaborations at academic and industrial level was essential.
This is even more important and urgent in light of the need of accelerating economic recovery after the pandemic and, let me say unfortunately, in light of the recent international and economic instability caused by the Russian aggression of Ukraine.
Therefore, in our vision, promoting science, technology and innovation cooperation is the top priority of our agenda and we believe that this is a very timely moment to relaunch our bilateral collaboration in these sectors for two reasons.
First, Italy will have for the next 3 to 4 years an unprecedented amount of resources – around 30 billion Euros – for research, innovation, and education made available by the PNRR thanks to the Next Generation EU recovery package.
Secondly, Japan is seeing a renewed interest in international collaborations, to counteract the decrease in scientific productivity, both in quantity and quality.
Indeed, we are already seeing the initial signs of this combination of factors. Thanks to our scientific diplomacy and as a follow up of the visit to Japan of the former Ministry of University and Research in September, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) added Italy (and MUR as funding agency) as an eligible partner for the Advanced International Collaborative Research Program (AdCORP) Joint Call for Proposals. This is an extremely important sign because this is the first program implemented by JST with Italy.
But we are also seeing signs from Italy, and I am very glad to acknowledge the recent increase of interest towards Japan by Politecnico di Torino and other important Italian Universities.
Looking at the program of today’s “Conversations”, I am happy to notice that there are already many joint collaborations in fields like robotics, new materials, prevention of natural disasters, and planning of urban and rural areas and I am sure that these collaborations will further deepen and increase in the next few years.
Most of all, I am delighted to hear that the interest in further pursuing collaborations in academic exchanges and in research for technological transfer is leading PoliTo to open a hub in Japan in the near future. This is also an unprecedented initiative that we strongly support and I wish it the best success.
Let me sto here and I wish you a very fruitful discussion and a stimulating learning experience.