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UK renews tech and science deal with Japan

Deal focuses on innovation and will see countries collaborate on networking and investment, joint R&D programmes, and exchange schemes

The UK has signed a science and technology agreement with Japan, which will see the two countries collaborate on innovation and “game-changing technologies”.

The deal, which was signed by science minister George Freeman in Tokyo, is a renewal of the countries’ longstanding Science and Technology Agreement for the 21st century.

The government hopes the deal, which is part of the UK’s plan to become a global science superpower, will open up opportunities to bring new technologies to market, including in areas such as semiconductors and clean tech.

Commenting on the deal, Freeman said that “Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and a science and technology powerhouse”.

“Bringing Japan’s unique strengths even closer together with the UK’s world-class science and research expertise is a massive opportunity for both our countries, to pool our skills and expertise as we tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world, all whilst growing our economies and creating jobs,” he said.

“This deal is just another demonstration of the UK’s ambition to become a truly global science superpower, by deepening collaboration on the science and technology of tomorrow with like-minded nations like Japan, as well as the rest of the G7, to secure our collective future, drive economic growth and improve lives.”

As part of the agreement, the UK and Japan will join forces on research and development programmes, and will launch academic and industrial exchange schemes between the two countries.

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The governments in the respective countries will also encourage collaboration between companies in the UK and Japan through networking and investment opportunities, as well as working to ensure science governance and standards are aligned. The government also hopes it will bring closer connections between public bodies such as UK Research and Innovation and Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization.

In March 2023, the government launched a 10-year UK science and technology framework as part of its plans to be internationally recognised as a tech superpower by 2030.

The framework will act as a “strategic anchor that government policy will deliver against, and which the government will hold itself accountable to”.

The UK Science and Technology Framework includes a new investment of about £370m “to boost investment in innovation, bring the world’s best talent to the UK and seize the potential of groundbreaking new technologies like AI [artificial intelligence]”, according to the government.

In November 2022, the UK government signed another collaboration deal with Japan, aiming to strengthen its own transformation. The deal intended to establish links between the Government Digital Service and Japan’s Digital Agency, and will see the two organisations work together on knowledge and strategies for implementing digital government initiatives across the public sector.

The agreement came after the two countries announced in May 2022 that they were committed to deepening their collaboration on digital and data. The digital collaboration covers all of the UK government’s digital priorities, including infrastructure, data, regulation and standards, as well as digital transformation.

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