By Silvia Bolzani
AIRJ coordinator for JSPS
On the 4th and 5th of July 2023, we had the pleasure and the honour to organize two events in collaboration with the Human Technopole Institute, the University of Milano-Bicocca and the JSPS of Strasbourg. It was not only a great occasion for PhD students and researchers to become aware of several exchange opportunities, but it was also a unique opportunity to exchange views, gain knowledge and to meet in person other former JSPS fellows that decided to join us in AIRJ and in our purpose of creating a JSPS Alumni society.
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is well acknowledged as the main funding agency for research in Japan. Funding opportunities are available for all areas of research at all Japanese public universities and research institutions. During the two events, Ms. Tomoko Yamaguchi, Deputy Director of JSPS Strasbourg, and Ms. Ayano Harada, from the JSPS Strasbourg office, presented the activities and purposes of the JSPS, with particular emphasis on the actions carried out in Europe. Moreover, along with Kazuhiko Saigo, Director of JSPS Strasbourg, we had the chance to discuss the progress made up to this point and the actions that have to be taken in the near future.
Human Technopole, July 4th
The symposium held at Human Technopole Institute was aimed at early-stage researchers in STEM disciplines who wanted to learn more about scientific exchange opportunities in Japan, as well as scientists in this field. The event was opened by Dr Piero Carninci, Head of Functional Genomics Human Technopole, who provided an intriguing glimpse into his research and life between Italy and Japan. To paint us a picture of life as a JSPS fellow, we had the pleasure to listen to Dr Ylenia Capodanno, who gave not only an interesting presentation on her research project in Japan, but also an inspiring and impressive overview on everyday life there and the meaning of travelling and learning from other cultures.
University of Milano-Bicocca July 5th
At the University of Milano-Bicocca, we were kindly hosted by Professor Stefania Bandini, who opened the conference and offered an insight into our association followed by Prof. Stefano Sanguinetti, who provided detailed information about research and programs at the University of Milano-Bicocca. Unlike the other event, this one was a chance to talk about social sciences and humanities research. Three former JSPS fellows, Stefania Michelucci, University of Genoa, Pierluigi Digennaro, University of Milan, and Francesco Barbieri, University of Turin, presented interesting talks about personal and professional life in Japan, giving us different and impressive pictures of living and working abroad.
I also had the opportunity to talk about my JSPS and Japanese experience, but, above all, it was a great opportunity to present and give an overview on the steps taken so far and the activities organized by our association, with the intention of bringing together the JSPS Alumni and develop a stronger network between researchers in Italy and Japan.
Both events have been an incredible chance to meet in person other researchers, colleagues, and former JSPS fellows and to exchange scientific and personal experiences and views. Both conferences have been a great opportunity to discuss in depth with the JSPS Strasbourg delegation how to proceed and which direction to take.
From this fruitful conversation, important key points emerged that necessitate additional meetings and significant decisions to be taken.
Sharing our research experiences and feedback from our life in Japan was a great opportunity. The most valuable thing was finding the same firm determination and a shared interest in building a good network to maintain strong and stable collaboration between Japan and Italy. Finally, it served as a basis for successful future collaborations and strengthened relations between Italian researchers, the JSPS and Japan.