Reflections of collaboration between Stockholm trio and the University of Tokyo – Dr. Per Nilsson

The strategic partnership between Stockholm three major academic institutions, Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University, and the University of Tokyo has launched since 2017. The Stockholm Trio – University of Tokyo Partnership has successfully held workshops in 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021, and it unlocks opportunities for scholars in Stockholm to initiate new collaboration with Japan.

Dr Per Nilsson
Dr Per Nilsson Foto: N/A

New angles and perspectives

Dr. Per Nilsson, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Neurogeriatrics at KI, is one of the KI:s  researchers that has participated in the workshops since 2018. He thinks the workshops effectively open new avenues for obtaining new knowledges, and the nuanced ideas generated through sharing information are significantly valuable. “Japanese are good at neuroscience and cognitive studies, and collaboration with them brings new angles and perspectives,” says Nilsson.

Common challenges in Sweden and Japan

Dr. Nilsson sees great potential in the partnership with Japan. He indicates that Sweden and Japan have so much to learn from each other, especially since both countries are facing common challenges due to their ageing societies. He claims that the positive impact of the partnership is reciprocal.

It was interesting to visit the advanced instrumentation and laboratory in Japan. On the other hand, Japanese scholars showed interest in the Swedish elderly care system.

Dr. Nilsson

Longstanding and meaningful networks

The partnership aims to develop stronger ties between KI and Japan, and it allows the participants to have access to network they otherwise could not have.  After one of the workshops, PhD Students and post-docs from Nilsson’s team applied for funding and could then visit the laboratory of Professor Taisuke Tomita in the University of Tokyo. Ties with Japan has been fostered since the workshop and the network spreads. Nilsson does not only establish a closer connection with the University of Tokyo but also with Tohoku University in Japan. He states that the partnership has encouraged and deepened KI:s collaboration with Japan, and he knows many other participants from KI have also successfully established longstanding and meaningful networks in Sweden and Japan.

Visualize and promote the partnership

Nilsson looks forward to the partnership in the future, but to forge a deeper academic relationship between KI and Japan takes further efforts. He says, “We need to visualize and promote the partnership. Sweden is a small country, and our researchers need to build up networks.”

Due to the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, the workshops have been held digitally since 2020. Nilsson hopes that the upcoming workshops can be held physically as it can encourage conversation in smaller groups, especially for junior researchers, thereby strengthening a stronger connection among participants.

Further collaborations after the workshops:

  • Visit to the laboratory of Professor Taisuke Tomita in the University of Tokyo.
  • Sending post-doc in his teams to the University of Tokyo.
  • Closer connection with the University of Tokyo and Tohoku University
  • Apply for EU grants together with representatives from SU and KTH