Scotland's Economy

Stronger Scottish and Japanese life sciences links

May 8, 2013 by No Comments | Category Exports, Investment

Professor Asada and Finance Secretary John Swinney at Kyoto life sciences seminar

Geographically the cities of Kyoto and Edinburgh are far removed. Intellectually, culturally and economically our two cities are becoming ever closer.

That proximity was further reinforced this week when Scotland’s Finance Secretary John Swinney met with key Japanese businesses working in the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine here in Kyoto.

The links between Kyoto and Edinburgh are not new. A friendship agreement between the two cities was signed in 1997. These long-standing relationship have led to innovative collaborations for the mutual benefit of both regions, particularly in life sciences.

In 2005 the University of Edinburgh and Kyoto University signed the first collaboration and research agreements between the cities.

In 2011 the University of Edinburgh’s Medical Research Council for Regenerative Medicine (MRC-CRM) and Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) Kyoto University signed an MoU for joint research collaborations which will contribute to advancement of regenerative medicine and innovations.

Having spent two years working in Edinburgh myself, at the Fujisawa Institute of Neuroscience in Edinburgh (FINE), and helping to organise many trade missions to Scotland for Japanese companies, I’m delighted that this collaboration will now become even more concrete.

In July, when Japanese businesses once again visit Edinburgh to strengthen our trade links, iCeMS will open the iCeMS Open Innovation Office at Edinburgh’s BioQuarter.

Kyoto stands at the centre of Japan’s life science industry with some 250 located businesses in the cities of Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto and is home to 37 institutes of higher education.

Through our growing collaboration with colleagues in Edinburgh and Scotland, our two countries are increasingly positioning themselves at the centre of a global industry.

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