European Research Day 2018
29 September (Saturday) 10:00 -19:00
Italian Cultural Institute Tokyo
What is this event?
The European Research Day 2018 (ERD 2018) is the fourth edition of an event organised by EURAXESS Japan, which aims to bring together the European research community currently based in Japan to discuss research, careers and relation to Europe.
The 2018 edition is kindly supported by the Italian Cultural Institute Tokyo, which will host the whole event.
The ERD is a one-day workshop featuring presentations by researchers from the European research community of Japan, discussion panels on issues of relevance for Japan-Europe mobility and research cooperation & careers; while fostering networking among participants and representative of European countries participating in the European Research Area.
The ERD is a unique opportunity for European researchers and researchers from any nationality interested in Europe to network and discuss careers.
Speakers in the Researchers' Sessions (selected through a call for abstracts) can showcase their research, present their career path and expectations and provide insight on their relation to Europe; which attendees can learn a lot from.
Attendees can also learn from topic-oriented Special Sessions, focused on items of interest to international research careers and relation to Europe. This year, these sessions will be taken in charge by five associations of researchers: the Association of Italian Researchers in Japan, the JSPS Club (German), Sciencescope (French), ACEJapon (Spanish), and the Marie Curie alumni Association.
Both speakers and attendees may find new ideas for their research, increase their network for collaborative projects, and maybe even find their next lab or institution!
Organisers of Researchers Associations Sessions
Host and Support
Who can submit an abstract?
This event is for and by the European research community of Japan.
This includes researchers, citizens of any country covered by EURAXESS*; as well as researchers from other nationalities (including Japanese) who have had a long-term (one or more years) experience in Europe; or who have concrete plans to relocate to Europe at a short or mid-term.*[the EU-28 and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, FYRoMacedonia, Iceland, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey, for a total of 40 countries]
Applicants must be currently (i.e. at the time of the event) active in Japan at a recognised university or research institute/centre, public or private sector.
The call is open to researchers of all career levels from PhD students onwards (PhD students, postdocs, associate professors, professors, etc.) and from all scientific disciplines including social sciences and humanities. Note that researchers, professors, scientists, experts who do not hold a PhD but have a full-time research experience of at least 3 years can apply too.
Researchers who were selected for a contribution at the ERD 2017 cannot apply.
Finally, participants must be willing and able to participate to the ERD, that will be held in the form of a one-day event in Tokyo on 29 September 2018.
Apart from exceptional cases (students without dedicated budget for example), there will be no reimbursement for travel and accommodation fees.
Description of the call for abstracts
The abstract must contain three clearly defined parts:
The researcher’s own project (research work)
[one third of all content]
Feedback on the researcher’s career so far and particularly on his/her perception of the difference between Japan and Europe: his/her grant or employment conditions, working atmosphere, etc. Future career plans and reasons: industry in Japan or elsewhere? Academia in Europe? Etc. The hurdles and difficulties toward these plans, as well as some hints as to how to overcome these difficulties would be most welcome. This part must provide information that may be valuable to the European research community active in Japan.
[one third of all content]
The researcher’s current relation to Europe: are there ongoing cooperation projects with previous or other labs in Europe? Are there short or mid-term relocation plans to Europe? If yes, what kind of funding is used to implement ithe project(s)? If not, is there a special reason (lack of funding for example)? Would Europe be attractive --or not-- for a future position and why? Etc... (creativity welcome!)
[one third of all content]
These three parts are of equal importance. They will all be used by the organisers to select the speakers. Once (if) selected, the researcher will be provided with a 20 minutes slot for a talk, which will in turn reflect the contents of the abstract.
The abstract submission deadline is 29 August 20:00 Tokyo time.
How to submit?
The abstract submission is 100% online. Please prepare your abstract in advance and copy/paste it in our online form. Several items must be filled-in to complete the application:
1. Personal information
- Contact information
- Full name, affiliation & position
- Nationality (if non-European, years of experience in Europe)
2. The abstract itself
- Part A: pitch your research
[limited to 1000 characters including spaces (excluding citations)]
- Part B: showcase your career path & expectations
[limited to 1000 characters including spaces]
- Part C: discuss your relation to Europe
[limited to 1000 characters including spaces]
3. (optional) CV & personal projects
- Post a link to your online redacted CV (pdf), personal website, ResearchGate, LinkedIn or other platforms.
By submitting an abstract, the researcher engages himself/herself to come to Tokyo for the event on 4 December if he/she is selected.
These sessions will give way to various associations of European researchers in Japan, and to the Marie Curie Alumni Association.
Researchers Associations Session 1: Association of Italian Researchers in Japan
RIG, Ricercatori Italiani in Giappone, is an online community with a closed FB group page.
RIG is a community that aims to serve the Italian scientific and technological researchers in Japan, supporting adaptation and peer-to-peer collaborations through direct networking.
The community was founded in 2015 by a small group of long(ish)-term resident researchers and has been growing steadily in these 3 years from about 15 members to nearly 100. The community is growing in its scope as well as its presence in the social networking, thanks to its recent connection to RIE, the wider community of Italians Researchers around the world.
The idea is to make this community more formal and grow from a voluntary-based managed community to a formal and officially recognized non-profit association, similar in its scope and range of activities to the other associations of researchers. The upgrade to official association would bring the community to the next level, making it easier to organize special events and research activities, advertise and acquire more members, offer professional support and consulting for all problems a scientific researcher in Japan may face.
This session is divided in 3 parts:
1. "Researchers associations in Japan: Why are they important?"
Speaker: Sarah Cosentino, Associate Professor at Waseda University and admin of RIG.
2. “Enhanced possibilities through RIG”.
Speaker(s): direct experience of 1-2 researchers in Japan who increased their possibilities thanks to RIG networking.
3. Panel discussion: suggestions, wishes, proposals for a growing RIG community.
Moderator: Sarah Cosentino.
Researchers Associations Session 2: ACEJapon (association of Spanish researchers)
ACE Japón and RAICEX
ACE Japón, the Association of Spanish Researchers in Japan, is a non-profit organization that serves to the Spanish scientific community in Japan, facilitating the adaptation, offering networking and promoting collaborations between organizations.
The Association has been around for 4 years now and it has grown in its scope and activities, as well as its presence in the social networking and international relevance (RAICEX, a newly founded network of Spanish Researchers around the world).
During this session we will talk about 3 topics:
Update on our goals and activities.
Speaker: Ángela Ares, postdoctoral fellow at Marine Biophysics Unit in the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), and secretary of ACE Japón.
How do we reach the community and society? Our social networking tools.
Speaker: Ana San Gabriel, science communication general manager, Ajinomoto Inc., and community manager of ACE Japón.
RAICEX: Network of Associations of Spanish Researchers Abroad.
Speaker: Susana de Vega, senior researcher and assistant professor, Juntendo University, Tokyo, and chairwoman of ACE Japón.
Researchers Associations Session 3: JSPS Club (association of German speaking researchers)
The German JSPS Alumni Association is the oldest Alumni Association of scholars of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science on the globe, founded in 1995. It covers all German speaking areas in Europe and is also active in Japan. Currently is has about 500 members from all scientific disciplines, 60 of whom are working in Japan. Japanese members are also welcome, if they have studied in the German speaking area. The purpose of the association is the to support scientists in the respective regions and strengthen the bilateral scientific exchange. The association works as an internal labour market, is a platform for social contacts of the members and tries to inform and advise responsible political institutions.
This session will present talks from different members of the Association:
The knowledge of international law and the national law of foreign countries is of growing importance for Japan, which is an economic and political global player. In the important faculties and graduate schools of law in Japanese Universities therefore there are several chairs for especially French, German, Anglo-American Law and sometimes other jurisdictions like the EU. Some of these positions are filled with lawyers from the respective countries. The talk concentrates on their experiences and the necessity for the knowledge of foreign languages among Japanese students.
Speaker: Prof. Dr. jur. Heinrich Menkhaus, Chair of German Law, Faculty of Law & Graduate School of Law, Meiji University
The United Nations have proclaimed the sustainable development goals (SDG) as important guidelines for future and among them, higher education is most important to challenge the actions against climate change. On the other hand, more and more students enter in engineering, while the budget is shrinking, a phenomenon referred as “crisis of science.” When we started our university study, metals was a secure and booming subject, at that time it would have been unthinkable that people could get unemployed. After third-party funding, private universities have exploited students’ parents as new financial source, but that cannot be the solution. Looking closer there is an ethical problem, the contradiction between the creativity of a scientist and the professional ethics of organizations, which has created a lot of science management problems in the last decades. In the end, we will discuss future scenarios, what role can open innovation or citizen science could play.
Speaker: Wilfried Wunderlich, Prof.Dr., Tokai University, Fac.Engr., Dept. Material Science
Graduate students in Japan usually have to join a research laboratory to carry out their research for Master Thesis. I would like to illustrate that encouraging scientific debates among students is a challenging task in research laboratories, because hierarchical relationships between lab members and maintaining harmony are core values in such labs as well.
Speaker: Dr. Jacqueline Urakami, Assistant Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering and Economics
Anatomy and physiology differ little between the members of the human race, but the practice of medicine and the health systems vary widely. In a time of globalization with physicians being confronted with patients from various cultural backgrounds, early exposure to unfamiliar environments and communication in foreign languages stimulates students to reflect on their future careers and to work on their communication competence.
It also gives them the chance to compare various aspects of the medical systems and medical treatment between the host countries and Japan together with their peers from abroad. They are encouraged to forge relationships with their overseas acquaintances that many consider the highest benefit of their training program as these bonds may last for decades.
Speaker: Dr. med. Wolfgang R. Ade, Professor, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine
Researchers Associations Session 4: Sciencescope (association of French speaking researchers)
Sciencescope, the French Researchers and Students Organization in Japan, is a non-profit organization (association loi de 1901) established since 1993 in Japan. The main objectives are to enforce the relationships between the French-speaking research community in Japan from all disciplines and citizenships, and share meaningful information among the community. To this end, Sciencescope organizes research events throughout the year and especially the French Research Day since 1997, or the Seminar for French Researchers in Kansai since 2016. All these events intends to promote research discussions among researchers, students, engineers, officials, company representatives or any interested person and to present their activities in Japan.
For the European Research Day 2018, Sciencescope is organizing a session aiming to present its activities and offer some opportunities for partners to present their work :
1- Sciencescope : Presentation and overview of our activities
2- Hello Tomorrow! – Presentation of the Tokyo Hub and startup Challenge
Speaker: Jean-Dominique François (Hello Tomorrow!)
3- The Flying Octopus Stories: Research and Photography
Speaker: Cecile Laly - CREOPS and International Research Center for Japanese Studies)
“The Flying Octopus Stories” is a project focusing on the Japanese kite culture. Japanese Kites saw their golden age during the Edo period, but since the second half of the 20th century, their use and production have been continually decreasing. Today, only a few workshops around Japan are still producing them. The risk of disappearance is growing.
“The Flying Octopus Stories” project, which is both an academic and an artistic project with research performed in collaboration with an art-photographer, intends to highlight and preserve the history and diversity of Japanese Kites.
4- Sciencescope Round Table: Next Challenges for Sciencescope
Researchers Associations Session 5: Marie Curie Alumni Association
We will present the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), its Working Groups, and Chapters. We will discuss the opportunities and benefits of active membership, such as travel grants, awards, participation to the annual MCAA Conference and General Assembly, opportunities to participate in and shape science policy in Europe but also internationally, mentoring, and opportunities to interact with fellow minded researchers. We will also discuss the basic rules for establishing MCAA Chapters and the benefits of having such a Chapter.
After a quick introduction about MSCA by the S&T Section of the Delegation of the EU to Japan, a representative from MCAA as well as former MSCA grantees will participate in this session:
- Prof. Renaud Jolivet, CERN, Experimental Physics Department // MCAA, Board Member
- Dr. Shinya Shoda, Senior Researcher, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan // Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Archaeology, University of York, UK // MSCA IF Fellow 2014-2016, PONTE project, Department of Archaeology, University of York, UK
- Prof. Ichiro Minami, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden // MCA ITN Fellow (FP7), 2011-2012, Project MINILUBES, Austrian Center of Competence Tribology
- Dr. Yuichi Tamura, Director of Pulmonary Hypertension Center, International University of Health and Welfare Mita Hospital, Tokyo // MCA COFUND (FP7) Fellow, 2012, Project RESPIRE 2, Universite Paris-Sud, France
Researchers Session 1 speakers:
Post-doc, Next Generation Power Electronics Research Center, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Our society is approaching an ultra-modern-era based on complex systems driven by artificial intelligence, internet of things, and electrification of transportation all of which demand huge electrical energy consumption. Concomitantly there is a stringent need to reduce the C02 emissions through the use of a more efficient energy management of the power systems adopted. My research focuses on the design and fabrication of power transistors that can boost the energy efficiency up to 99% in power systems such as renewable energy converters (e.g photovoltaic, wind), wireless chargers, and inverters in electric vehicles. The technology I work on is based on a revolutionary design of a transistor based on a new material, Gallium Nitride. The unique properties of this material combined together with the novel design of my device enable the fabrication of ultra-light and reliable power circuits with energy efficiencies as high as 99%, thus reducing power consumption and C02 emission.Longobardi, G. "GaN for power devices: Benefits, applications, and normally-off technologies." Semiconductor Conference (CAS), 2017 International. IEEE, 2017.
In 2010 I started my Phd at Cambridge University in collaboration with NXP semiconductor (Belgium). In 2014 I received a grant from the UK government to further investigate the outcome of my research for possible commercial exploitation. In 2015 I was awarded a 4 year Research fellowship from Gonville &Caius College in Cambridge. In 2016 I have span out my own company based on my research and continued at the same time my academic path. IN 2017 I have spent 2 months in LAAS Toulouse (France) for establishing possible collaborative projects between Cambridge and LAAS. In 2018 I was awarded a JSPS fellowship to spend 1 year in Japan. I plan to continue with an academic career in Europe focusing on on exploitable research. The main challenge is obtaining funds to manage projects/students and establish my independence without a permanent position. It is much more difficult to obtain independence in Japan and also there is not the culture of exploiting research via a spin out route.
In November 2018 I plan to come back to Europe for pursuing my academic career. At the moment I am involved with Uk government funds but I would like to know more details on the opportunities of European fund for UK Universities. I have in the past applied for a H2020 project but although it received high score it was not funded so a better understanding of the evaluation process for European proposal would be very useful. I am also interested in ERC funds. Obtaining a permanent position in University will be strongly advantaged if I receive any grants from Europe.
Post-doc, Theoretical Molecular Science Laboratory, RIKEN
Investigation of the Hydration of the H channel in Bovine Heart Cytochrome c Oxidase.
Career Path: From Ph.D. in Denmark to Special Postdoctoral Researcher in Japan
I did my bachelors, masters and Ph.D. of Chemistry at Aarhus University studying molecular vibrations of medium sized molecules using quantum mechanical methods. In accordance with my Ph.D. program I went for an environment change to the laboratory I am currently working at.
At the time of my graduation I was suggested either doing a two-year postdoc position in Germany within my field, or a generous five-year postdoc in the lab I visited in Japan working within an unfamiliar field. I chose to go to Japan, and this allowed me to transfer through a two-year project on understanding water dynamics in polymer membranes to my current work in theoretical bioenergetics of Bovine Heart CcO.
I am currently contemplating my next career move. I will therefore give an account on why I chose the path I walked to far, and use that experience to suggest the next steps in my academic career.
Relation to Europe: It is complicated!
On collaborations: Currently my only active collaboration within the EU is with the group I studied at during my time in Denmark. I am seeking to expand my network in Europe through conferences and connecting with researchers in my network, so far without great success.
On relocating to EU in the future: Relocating to another European country is a possibility, and with the favorable funding opportunities offered by the EU. Relocation back to Denmark, even outside of academia, however, seems increasingly difficult the longer I stay in Japan.
In the end: A strong connection with Europe is desirable for any researcher with an EU citizenship, however going back, or even maintaining connections, is difficult without good funding and a lot of effort. I will rely on lessons learned from my network in Japan, and experience with the Danish situation in particular, to explain the possible pitfalls when returning to the EU.
Professor, SIT Research Laboratories, Shibaura Institute of Technology
My research topic was focused at the beginning on superconducting materials, and then was expanded to thermoelectrics and materials for sustainable development. In detail, my research activity is related to the fabrication and characterization of nanostructured oxide superconductor and thermoelectric thin films with enhanced properties for efficient transport and conversion of energy. Essentially, the introduction and control of artificial defects on the nanoscale superconducting thin films like YBa2Cu3Ox allowed to transport huge amount of current (in the order of 10^6 A/cm2 at 77K, versus 10^2 of conventional copper wires), which is quite promising for practical applications also in presence of external magnetic field . The thermoelectric thin films of nanostructured oxides like ZnO are, on the contrary, at preliminary development stages but first results are quite promising in terms of direct and efficient conversion of waste heat to electricity . K. Matsumoto and P. Mele, Supercond. Sci. Technol. 23, 014001 (2010)
 P. Mele. S. Saini et al, Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 253903 (2013)
I started my path in Japan in 2003 as JSPS post-doctoral fellow (Tokyo), and then I became research associate in JST project (Kyoto), fellow of a “cluster” project (Kyushu), tenure-track lecturer (Hiroshima), associate professor (Muroran) and finally full professor (Tokyo again). Personally, I can say that the main difficulty is not “enter” in Japan as science or engineering researcher, since many fellowships are offered to foreigners and are in general attractive from any point of view. The level of difficulty to “keep staying” in Japan increases, but is still manageable. At least is my experience: growing my research network during the years, it was almost natural to find opportunities to extend my stay in Japan. The most difficult point for foreign researcher is “the language”: I found that the amount of documents in Japanese (especially in the application for research funding) dramatically increased with time of my stay.
I hope that, in the effort of internationalization of the academics, Japan universities, research agencies, and private foundations will improve the “English interface”. This will surely increase the number of European researchers choosing to keep stay in Japan. From my side, the plan is to contribute, as European researcher based in Japan, to build extensive EU-Japan network and submit bilateral research projects.
Post-doc, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University
My current postdoctoral research project addresses the design and evaluation of technology support systems (e.g., electronic clinical procedure library, ECPL) in medicine and healthcare to ensure quality. Clinical procedures require a continuous update and dissemination to optimize current practice with evidence-based procedures, because these tools are used for decision-making. The usability and procedure learnability of evidence-based interactive clinical systems are considered fundamental to design usable electronic support systems that allow health professionals to search, understand and execute updated clinical procedures in their daily practice and enhance clinical outcomes and patient safety. Goals include enhancing the usability and establish a framework for the ECPL co-design including user experience, contextual and cultural factors.
My current position is a postdoctoral fellowship at Osaka University, Japan, (in cooperation with the University of Agder, Norway) financed by JSPS with a focus on usable interactive systems for eHealth.
I hold a PhD on User-centred Design for mobile learning in higher education with a use case in sports education (skiing and snowboarding) at UiA (2014-2018), Norway. During this time, I was an exchange PhD student at Osaka University and had the opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture and work. For instance, I learned from the differences in the culture and the society how to keep a good balance between structure and flexibility, which is, by all means, not always easy to maintain.
After finishing my PhD, I worked as Assistant Professor for the University of Agder (UiA). I taught and developed courses in interaction design and gamification for eLearning. My background is in media computer science (M.Sc.) and scientific programming (B.Sc.) from Germany.
The "Usability and Procedure Learnability of Evidence-based Interactive Clinical Systems" is a postdoctoral research project hosted by Osaka University (Japan) and University of Agder (Norway). It combines competences in eHealth, human-centred design (HCD), learning theories and big data to improve clinical outcomes through enhanced usability in decision support systems and workflow for health professionals in their practice and education. The funding call was announced by the Norwegian Research Council and the project is funded by JSPS.
In addition, having studied in Germany and Norway gave me an insight into different European education and research systems. In the future, I would like to continue to work in a highly interdisciplinary and international environment, since I believe that we all learn from each other and grow together.
Researchers Session 2 speakers:
Post-doc, Graduate School of Engineering and Design (Major in Architecture), Hosei University
My research investigated multiple aspects of “archaeological areas”, which in the Mediterranean context constitute the primitive form of an “open air museum”.These studies have ranged from the analysis and graphical reconstruction of the ancient buildings, to possible restorations of structures today preserved in ruins, through to museographic and design solutions involving the entire site. A comparative analysis of Mediterranean archaeological areas and the most ancient Japanese monumental sites, although not significant in chronological terms, is instead extremely interesting in terms of the conservation, restoration and integration works carried out on the architectures and, above all, on a theoretical level, for what concerns the “Culture of Protection”. This comparison takes on a fundamental role in the context of an increasing globalization of the protection of cultural heritage, now notoriously heritage of humanity and not only of the countries that physically host these assets.
Graduated with honors in Architecture at Polytechnic of Bari (IT), I obtained with honors the title of Specialized Architect in Cultural Heritage and Landscape at Post Graduated School in “Restoration of Monuments” of Sapienza University of Rome (IT, 2 years, with Scholarship). Then I obtained my Ph. D in History of Architecture at Polytechnic of Bari. In the period November 2017-April 2018 I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the JSPS Standard Program at Hosei University in Tokyo, with the research theme "Cultural Contexts" such as "Open-air Museums", comparative study between Mediterranean and Japanese area. The fellowship finished in advance, because after winning a National Competition (at 6th position) I am actually permanent-employed at Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (MIBAC). However, I am pursuing my scientific activity research on this topic and I hope that there may be renewed opportunities for future long-term or permanent periods of research in Japan.
My major in History and Restoration of Ancient Architecture carried me all around the Mediterranean Area (Italy, Greece, Albania, Turkey), for numerous archaeological campaigns. Historically, Italy retained a primacy in the field of the Conservation of Monuments. My Ph.D. gave me the opportunity to compare the Italian theories with the different ones applied in all the Mediterranean, from Europe to western Asia. The JSPS Fellowship was the opportunity to extend the research to the Japanese context. To date, the Japanese culture of protection of cultural heritage has not been given much attention in the panorama of Italian academic studies, since these are heavily focused on Western contexts. The research hoped to strengthen the relationship, already successfully started, of scientific cooperation between Italy and Japan relating to the cultural heritage of the two nations and to encourage the Italian academic interest towards the Japanese cultural panorama and vice versa.
Associate Professor in International Relations,Tokyo International University
My research lies at the intersection of International Political Economy and Sociology. I am interested in the everyday practices of the global economy. I look at the social consequences of global competitiveness discourses and the promotional politics of states. I am currently writing a monograph on the everyday politics of economic competitiveness in the Republic of Korea. I show that Korea’s infamously competitive society is not a cultural peculiarity but rather the outcome of a political project that dates back to the 1960s and is linked to Korea’s rapid industrialization. Competitiveness was reinforced as a hegemonic national imaginary with Korea’s integration in the global economy in the early 1990s and has served as an instrument to resolve the national crisis of accumulation experienced with the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. I plan to expand this research on narratives of national competitiveness by looking at several case studies in crisis-stricken European states.
My employment conditions in Japan are satisfactory: I am a lecturer (equivalent to assistant professor) with a tenure-track contract. While tenure conditions are not transparent, the university seems to grant tenure easily. I receive an annual research fund. My teaching load is heavy (7 courses/year). But research-wise I feel very isolated. The university clearly discourages, through bureaucratic hurdles, the organisation of research events. The research funding opportunities are limited by this isolation. I haven’t been able to meet colleagues working on similar projects in other institutions in Japan. I plan to move to an academic position in Europe. The main difficulties are the limited availability of positions (in particular with stable employment conditions), the transdisciplinary and Asia-focused character of my research. These could be resolved by an ERC grant, and possibilities to rebuild my network in Europe (through visiting fellowships etc.).
I have completed a short-term project with the University of Warwick. I am currently building a research project with a colleague at Stockholm University. I am part of a research network on labour and development that mostly connects researchers based in EU/UK institutions. I have long-term relocation plans to Europe. I am currently applying for positions as assistant professor in Political Science/International Relations/Sociology in various European institutions. I cannot apply for an ERG grant yet (I completed my PhD in 2017), but I participated to EURAXESS Japan’s ERC grant proposal writing workshop. Europe would be attractive as it would provide me with a more stimulating research environment (research in my field in Asia being dominated by American methodologies and theories) and easy access to research events and networking opportunities (conferences/workshops). In addition, I would like to conduct anthropological field research in Europe.
Post-doc, Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University
The ultimate goal of synthetic organic chemistry is to synthesise complex molecules with a defined chirality in high yields and as few steps as possible. The synthetic reactions we use should ideally use non-toxic and inexpensive catalysts and reagents. Unfortunately, the currently most used reaction methods rely on the very expensive and non-benign catalytic metal palladium.
I am working on the development of novel reaction methods that make use of iron as a catalytic metal. Being an abundant, thus inexpensive, environmentally benign and virtually non-toxic metal, iron shows great potential as a novel, greener catalytic metal for the future of synthetic organic chemistry. In detail, my project concerns the carbometalation of C – C double bonds in an enantioselective manner. This provides rapid and convenient access to natural products such as epibatidine, a powerful analgesic agent isolated from E. anthonyi.
I studied chemistry and biochemistry at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and the University of Helsinki. In 2012, I joined the group of M. Kalesse at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig where I received my PhD in 2017 from the Leibniz-University Hannover working on the total synthesis of the natural product chondrochloren. From 2017, I joined the Nakamura group at Kyoto University’s Institute for Chemical Research as a postdoctoral fellow.
I very much enjoy working in this group as I have good relations to my coworkers and seniors. However, funding is a consistent problem as my position is renegotiated every February. I have applied for a JSPS fellowship to hopefully ease that pressure.
I intend to remain in academic research. I am aware that obtaining a position is difficult everywhere; however, I also know of a number of grants aiming at researchers beginning their independent career while returning to Europe.
Much more than German, I consider myself European. I received education in three different EU countries and have friends all over the continent thanks to the EU’s initiatives such as Free Movement, the Schengen open borders system and Erasmus university exchanges. Scientifically, my connections are much less strong, mainly because I am still at a very early phase of my career. However, my group has an ongoing collaboration including the regular exchange of PhD students with the Bedford lab at Bristol University.
As hinted above, I would like to pursue my independent career in Europe after gaining postdoctoral experience in Japan; mainly because I love the continent, consider it home and welcome its variety and opportunities. Europe is much more attractive than Japan in the long run as I perceive Japanese academia to be a very closed, hierarchical and traditional environment while European academia is open to new ideas, people and concepts.
Translator (freelance) & Lecturer/PhD candidate in European Union Law, Kobe University
For the last 5 years, I have been trying to develop my own research in an interdisciplinary way that links legal studies to area studies. In the beginning, I chose to focus on comparative labor law (especially dismissal rules) because I believe that comparing is the best way to experiment different legal solutions to similar issues. After coming to Japan, I have started developing the concept of legal resilience meant as the capacity of a legal system to adapt to change (1). I have therefore published a few writings connected to legal change as a response to social change, specifically on the integration of migrant workers in the EU (2) (6) and the introduction of labor law in Japan (3). More recently, I have started focusing on the stimulation of change through legal means, such as anti-discrimination legislation (4) and Industry 4.0 policies (5). In the next years, I plan to elaborate on the topic of legal culture in connection to change, also across the borders of countries.
(1) Riminucci Michela. “Resilient Japan: Legal Adaptability and Migration.” In Biopolitica dell’immigrazione [Bio-politics of Migration], edited by Marco Calabrò, Luigi Ferrara, Matthias Theodor Vogt. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang (2016) [peer-reviewed]
(2) Riminucci Michela. “A New Path to Integration: Re-thinking Citizenship in the European Union.” Kobe University Law Review International Edition 49 (2015): 209-218
(3) Riminucci Michela. “L’introduzione del diritto del lavoro in Giappone: profili storici e giuridici” [The Introduction of Labor Law in Japan: Historical and Legal Aspects]. In Riflessioni sul Giappone antico e moderno - vol. III [Thoughts on ancient and modern Japan, vol. 3], Collana di Studi Giapponesi [Japanese Studies Series], edited by Paolo Villani, Luca Capponcelli, Naomi Hayashi. Roma: Aracne editrice (2018) [peer-reviewed]
(4) Riminucci Michela. “Il diritto del lavoro e le riforme possibili: due esempi dal Giappone” [Labor Law and Possible Reforms: Two Examples from Japan]. In Orizzonti giapponesi: ricerche, idee, prospettive [Japanese Horizons: Research, Ideas, Perspectives], Collana di Studi Giapponesi [Japanese Studies Series], edited by Matteo Cestari, Gianluca Coci, Daniela Moro, Anna Specchio. Roma: Aracne editrice (forthcoming 2018) [peer-reviewed]
(5) Riminucci Michela. “Industry 4.0 and Human Resources Development: A View from Japan.” In E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies 7 (2018) [peer-reviewed]
(6) Riminucci Michela. “EU no kaifukuryoku” [Resilient Europe]. In EU no yuragi [The EU in Turmoil], edited by Noriyuki Inoue and Masahiko Yoshii. Tōkyō: Keisō Shobō (2018)
I have followed a rather unorthodox career path. I graduated in Japanese studies (Bachelor’s degree) and then in law (Bachelor and Master’s degree) while working as a Japanese comic books translator. In my last year as a Master student I started working as a legal consultant for an international law firm, but I decided to move to Japan for a few years after graduation when my application to become a lecturer of European Union law and comparative law for an innovative European studies programme in Kobe University was accepted. In Japan, I was hired as a full-time lecturer, so I received all the support that I needed (by the university and my colleagues) for my academic career in terms of training and financing, although I sometimes felt overwhelmed by the weight of paperwork. Moreover, I believe in the importance of a professional life outside the university (which is not possible in Japan). I am therefore planning to return to Italy and have a double career (lawyer and professor).
In Kobe University, I received a specific training on EU funding (I was personally involved in the drafting of the proposal that made Kobe University a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence) and I was regularly consulted during the negotiations of new exchange agreements with Italian Universities. I have also visited EU institutions on behalf of Kobe University. I have therefore kept a strong connection to Europe and I now have a mid-term relocation plan to Italy that will hopefully be facilitated by specific Italian legislation and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding. In my opinion, Europe is attractive, but there are some issues when trying to apply for this kind of EU funding from abroad, which I will explain better in my presentation. Moreover, a great deal of flexibility is required (which might however be considered intrinsic to the academic career), since future career prospects are not always clear.
10:00 Welcome remarks
10:15 Researchers Associations Session 1
11:00 Researchers Session 1
12:20 Lunch break
13:30 Researchers Associations Session 2
14:15 Researchers Associations Session 3
15:00 Coffee break
15:30 Researchers Session 2
16:50 Researchers Associations Session 4
17:35 Short break
17:50 Researchers Associations Session 5 (partly via videoconference)
18:45 Closure & networking buffet