Leading Japanese corporations explore collaboration opportunities at Imperial


Japanese businesses meet with Imperial researchers and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and explore collaboration opportunities

Some of Japan’s most innovative companies visited White City to share collaboration opportunities and explore Imperial’s enterprising ecosystem

Japanese companies seeking global collaboration with startups and scientists were welcomed to Imperial’s White City Campus on last Tuesday to meet and exchange ideas with a group of Imperial academic researchers and entrepreneurs.

Following a tour of the world-leading deeptech innovation campus and an opportunity to meet businesses in Imperial’s White City Incubator, delegates heard about the partnership and collaboration support offered by Imperial Enterprise, and an overview of Undaunted, an innovation community supporting climate-tech startups, whose alumni companies have raised over $1 billion in equity and grant funding.

Prior to a networking session, delegates had the opportunity to pitch areas of potential convergence and collaboration to Imperial academics and startup companies. Among the companies presenting were East Japan Railway Company London Office, ITOCHU Europe PLC, Kikkoman Europe R&D Laboratory B.V., Mitsubishi Corporation London Branch and Yokogawa Innovation Switzerland GmbH. These are all companies which are currently active globally.

The event was organised by Japan External Trade Organisation London (JETRO London) and Imperial Enterprise. JETRO is a Japanese Governmental organisation tasked with promoting trade and innovation overseas.

Masahide Sakishige, Deputy Director General of JETRO London, noted that, in recent years, facilitating innovation has become a key concern of Japanese businesses. JETRO works to promote open innovation, support overseas startups in Japan, and support Japanese startups in the rest of the world. Through their initiative, J-Bridge, JETRO aims to grow collaboration between Japanese companies and overseas partners, through match-making and exchange events. This event is a part of the above activities and JETRO will use this to strengthen the Japan-UK innovation ecosystem by facilitating networking between Japanese business and UK academia.

Speaking in his role as Associate Dean for Industrial Partnerships (Faculty of Engineering), Professor Ricardo Martinez-Botas welcomed JETRO and the business delegates. He highlighted three pillars that make Imperial attractive to global partners:

  • The high quality and large extent of research and development work undertaken across Imperial’s network of campuses;
  • The astonishing entrepreneurial verve of Imperial’s student community, supported by programmes, facilities and formal education; and
  • Environments like the White City Campus that bring in companies and individuals from outside to participate in the ecosystem, use facilities, and work with Imperial’s people.

Professor Martinez-Botas went on to note the strong and growing links between Japan and Imperial, which include more than £10 million worth of research projects with 25 corporations in the past decade.

Professor Martinez-Botas said: “I myself have worked for many years withProfessor Ricardo Martinez-Botas addressing an audience of businesses, academics and startup founders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and having recently returned from a visit to their facilities in Japan, I am reminded of the excitement and energy that industry collaboration can bring to research.”

The event closed with a collaboration networking session in which Imperial researchers and entrepreneurs had the opportunity to explore areas of potential connection with the aim of developing research partnerships, startup collaboration and other forms of technology exchange.

Jing Pang, Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation Senior Executive, Faculty of Engineering, said: “This event provided a fantastic opportunity for our innovative research and entrepreneurial community to hear directly from a group of major businesses about their areas of interest, with a view to finding collaboration and exchange opportunities. I’m grateful to JETRO London and the business delegates for their time and look forward to working together in the future.”

Members of the Imperial community who are interested in exploring links with Japan, either developing industrial partnerships or startup collaboration, should contact Imperial Enterprise who can facilitate the process.


Gavin Reed

Gavin Reed

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6551
Email: g.reed@imperial.ac.uk

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Enterprise, White-City-Incubator, White-City-Campus, Entrepreneurship
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