The moonshot programmes: the increased scientific collaboration between the European Union and Japan

An image to illustrate the increased cooperation between the European Union and Japan
© iStock/Oleksii Liskonih

The European Union and Japan are increasing their cooperation in science, including the high-profile moonshot projects and the ethics of artificial intelligence.

A bilateral summit was held recently, where the EU Research commissioner Carlos Moedas met Takuya Hirai, Japan’s Science Minister, in Brussels. They explored how to increase their scientific cooperation and research links.

Comments from the Japanese government

Is Japan is considering joining the EU’s Horizon Europe?

Fumikazu Sato, deputy director general of science, technology and innovation in the Japanese government, told Science|Business: “We are very keen on finding out what association to Horizon Europe [entails]. What is it?”

Sato added: “We are proposing a moonshot programme. The EU is proposing missions. They are both relevant for each other. We are very willing to have a European contribution [to our moonshots].”

The European Commission’s official statement

In an official statement, the European Commission said: “The EU is preparing to launch its new research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. The new Japanese Moonshot Research & Development Programme, at the same time, promotes R&D for disruptive innovation and targets solutions to ambitious social and economic challenges. With the introduction of these new programmes on both sides, we expect EU-Japan cooperation in science, technology and innovation to increase in areas of mutual interest, in line with last year’s EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement.”

“The European Union and Japan are like-minded partners, working together both bilaterally as well as in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations, the G7, and the G20…The European Union and Japan share the view that connectivity should be environmentally, economically, fiscally and socially sustainable. There is significant potential to find synergies between the European Union’s approach to connectivity, outlined by the Commission and the High Representative in September 2018 and Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Concept, with its focus on quality infrastructure.”

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