Cooperation with Japan is a high priority for the EU. There is great potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas, including renewable energy, health, climate action and research infrastructures among others. Mobility schemes for researchers, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, are also seen as significant for enhancing research cooperation and are specifically mentioned in the roadmap for EU-Japan science and technology cooperation.
While applications from Japan to the programme have already been very successful, MSCAdvocacy visited various institutions in Tokyo to discuss current opportunities and challenges, and how to promote MSCA to more researchers and industrial and academic institutions. The discussions showed that Staff Exchanges are already acknowledged by Japanese institutions. However, Japanese organisations are encouraged to increase their participation in all Actions (especially in Doctoral Networks) and to involve more non-academic and industrial sectors in the programme.
Need to create cooperation mechanisms for effective international research collaboration
There is strong cooperation between the European funded institutions in Tokyo such as EURAXESS, the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation and the EU Delegation in support of MSCA. The National Contact Point (NCP) in Japan also supports the Actions in the country. However, closer contact with policy makers and key decision makers from academia, public and private sectors is needed to understand their current needs within MSCA. From the fruitful discussions, it became clear that more low-threshold digital promotional materials would be useful to address the main objective of MSCAdvocacy: to support the creation of cooperation mechanisms for effective international research collaboration.
During the meetings with industrial stakeholders, a strong interest in the MSCA was expressed, especially with regard to Staff Exchanges and Doctoral Networks. During the interviews it became clear that industrial stakeholders need support in finding the right contacts in Europe and information on mobility programmes.
Funding opportunities for Japanese organisations and researchers
As Japan is not associated with Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, MSCAdvocacy has focused on promoting co-funding opportunities through the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and the Japan Agency for Science and Technology (JST), both Japanese funding agencies with mobility programmes for Japanese researchers. Eligible programmes for mobility funding are:
Current funding opportunities for researchers
The calls for Staff Exchanges and COFUND are currently open. The deadlines are 28 February 2024 (Staff Exchanges) and 8 February 2024 (COFUND). For MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships, please wait for the next call in 2024. The fellowship programme provides opportunities for Japanese researchers to carry out postdoctoral research in Europe and for European researchers to be hosted by Japanese institutes.
Find all calls for funding in the MSCA actions here.
Japan is a key strategic partner for Europe, and bilateral research and innovation relations have developed steadily over the last two decades. Regular meetings of the EU-Japan Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation are held to discuss mobility programmes for both countries.
Teaser image: Downtown Tokyo, Timo Volz, Pexels