Japanese flock to UK for science

September 18, 1998

The United Kingdom has emerged as the most popular destination in Europe for visiting Japanese scientists and engineers, according to a study highlighting the strength of research links between the two countries.

Of the 65,170 Japanese researchers setting out for Europe in 1995, 30,070 (46 per cent) came to the UK. At the same time 2,162 British researchers and engineers went to Japan in 1995, accounting for 22 per cent of all European entries and the largest cohort among European countries.

The study, carried out for the British Council by Luke Georghiou of Manchester University's science and technology think tank PREST, also says there has been a "spectacular" growth in co-authored papers by British and Japanese researchers.

From just 82 such papers in 1980, the total grew to 725 in 1995 to draw level with Germany as Japan's second collaborator after the United States. Collaborative papers account for 1.32 per cent of all UK papers and 1.38 per cent of all Japanese papers. Co-authored papers are most frequent in engineering, clinical medicine, biomedical research, biology and earth and space sciences.

The UK is also a favoured destination among Japanese students, accounting for 41 per cent of the total studying in Europe. About 600 Japanese are studying science and engineering at British universities, half at undergraduate level and half at postgraduate level. Germany has the largest total of students in Japan at 233, closely followed by the UK at 219.

Oxford-based Sharp Laboratories of Europe is an example of industry-university links forged by Japanese companies in the UK. Collaborating universities include Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Cardiff.

Japanese car maker Nissan, meanwhile, has established a research centre at Cranfield University. The Nissan Technology Centre works closely with scientists, engineers and management experts on automotive engineering, production and car design.

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