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8 August 2017

Japan - EU Joint Research Programme: Development of New Materials for the Substitution of Critical Metals

The problem of natural resources is a big challenge for a sustainable society. Substitution of critical metals and the technology to reduce their use are important areas of research and cooperation. The importance of critical raw materials was underlined in the 6th EU-US-Japan Trilateral Conference on Critical Materials held in Brussels on 29 November 2016.

A call for collaborative research proposals between the EU and Japan was launched in this area which attracted 33 proposals. As a first step, the EU and Japan evaluated the proposals independently. Then, at a joint evaluation meeting with the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST) and the European Commission (EC), three collaborative research grants were awarded for projects which clearly reflect the objectives of the programme, in the areas of catalysis, magnetic materials and electronic materials.

These three projects are:

NOVACAM, Novel cheap and Abundant Materials for catalytic biomass conversion, has made great progress in the realisation of catalysts without critical metals. Its significance for catalysis and solid state science is very high. Conversion of biomass to useful chemical materials will have a great impact on industry, the environment and other societal issues. Having established a strong international research network is also very important.

HARFIR, Heusler Alloy Replacement For Iridium, has addressed the big challenge of developing antiferromagnetic materials without Iridium with applications in the area of hard disk drive storage. It has made remarkable improvements thanks to the complementary collaboration between Japan and the EU. The practical contribution to the development of magnetic materials without Iridium and pushing forward the state of the art was significant.

IRENA, Indium replacement by single-walled carbon nanotube thin films, has accumulated steady achievements from the start of the project and was evaluated highly for paving the way for single carbon nanotubes to be applied to electronic devices. It has achieved more than was expected which was greatly facilitated by the international collaboration. IRENA developed high performance semiconducting and metallic carbon nanotube thin films to eliminate the use of critical metals in electronic devices i.e. indium in transparent conducting thin films for touch screens and indium and gallium in thin film effect transistors. Results of this research are already planned initially for screens in automotive applications.

At the start of the projects, improvements in the research area were expected by complementary and functional collaboration between Japan and EU. All the teams have met these expectations. The programme encouraged dissemination in the international arena and the writing of joint papers. The programme also encouraged researcher exchange which was taken up by all the consortia and led to significant progress and unique opportunities for the development of young researchers.

16 December 2016

EU-Japan cooperation research and innovation project launched

The EU-Japan cooperation project, InRel-Npower, will focus on advanced materials for power electronics. Improvement in wide band gap material properties are expected to lead to a substantial improvement in device performance, reduced in-service degradation and lower maintenance needs and costs. The research consortium with nine European and two Japanese partners will start their research activities on 1 January 2017.

The European Commission launched a call for proposals to support research and innovation on advanced wide band gap materials for power electronics coordinated with co-funding for Japanese partners from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) services. This is the first time the co-funding scheme developed by JST in close cooperation with the European Commission is applied. The co-funding scheme was agreed in May 2015 by the third meeting of the EU-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation. The scheme is part of the 2011 Agreement between the European Union and the Government of Japan on Cooperation in Science and Technology.

In the first stage, the European Commission received 17 eligible proposals which were evaluated by independent experts. Out of these, six proposals were invited to submit a full proposal in stage 2. Five synchronised submissions were received by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) to co-fund the work of the Japanese partners. At the end of this process, the InRel-Npower project was selected to be co-funded by both the European Union and the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

InRel-Npower - Innovative Reliable Nitride based Power Devices and Applications – will be coordinated by Dr. Gaudenzio Meneghesso from the University of Padova, Italy.

The main objective of InRel-Npower is to develop reliable GaN-based power devices and systems for high and medium power electronics targeting industrial and automotive applications and bringing GaN power devices another step towards wide use in energy saving environments. The project also contains the development of novel device architecture (dual channel, substrate removal, e-mode), as well as the exploration of new material systems Aluminum Nitride (Al-based) devices.

This initiative is expected to lead to more robust European – Japanese research cooperation in the important area of wide band gap power electronic materials research. In order to assure such genuine EU-Japanese cooperation, the project includes strong integrated and coordinated research activities, including intensive exchange and training of researchers.

More detailed information on this project is available on CORDIS. Information on the co-funded Japanese project will be found on the JST website.

The EU contribution for InRel-NPower is € 7.19 million and a budget of € 0.5 million is provided by the JST. The duration of the project is 36 months.

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More News about Japan


Policy Background

Japan is a key strategic partner for Europe and research and innovation relations between the EU and Japan have developed steadily over the past two decades. The main intention is to promote research excellence, and to increase growth and industrial competitiveness.


  • March 2011: Agreement on cooperation in Science and Technology (S&T) between the European Community and the Government of Japan enters into force.
  • June 2011, Tokyo: 1st meeting of the Joint S&T Committee provides a new impetus to the S&T policy dialogue. It allows both sides to take stock of the state of cooperation, identify roadblocks, and agree on a first joint EU-Japan S&T Road Map for 2011-2013.
  • June 2013, Tokyo: 2nd meeting of the Joint S&T Committee discusses strategic areas of common interest. The focus is on three jointly defined "flagship" priorities - critical raw materials, aeronautics and ICTs - and to assess cooperation in these three fields and in energy.
  • Since September 2014: A roadmap for the cooperation between the EU and Japan provides medium term priorities for the future cooperation. It reflects the current state of agreement in the EU-Japan policy dialogue. (The roadmap is part of the "Report on the Implementation of the Strategy for International Cooperation" from September 2014).
  • May 2014, the aim for a new EU-Japan strategic partnership in Research and Innovation is expressed by the leaders of the 22nd EU-Japan Summit.
  • May 2015, Brussels: 3rd meeting of the Joint S&T Committee assesses the progress achieved and adopts a joint vision on a new EU-Japan strategic partnership in Research and Innovation. The new strategic partnership aims at deepening the strategic cooperation and foresees frequent consultations at multiple levels. Main topics are:
    • promoting joint research activities in key thematic areas which includes:
      • continuing the cooperation in ICT, aeronautics and materials (including critical raw materials), and
      • increasing the cooperation in health/medical research, environment, energy and high-energy physics
    • establishing a mechanism for joint funding of research projects
    • developing measures enhancing the mobility of researchers such as the ERC-JSPS cooperation arrangement
    • closer consultation and collaboration on Science, Technology and Innovation policies such as Open Science
    • promoting public engagement to give further visibility to the EU-Japan cooperation in research and innovation
  • 29 May 2015, endorsement of the joint vision for the new EU-Japan strategic partnership in Research and Innovation at the 23rd Japan-EU Summit Projects.



JEUPISTE (2013-2016)

In September 2013, a new BILAT project, Japan-EU Partnership in Innovation, Science and Technology (JEUPISTE) was launched. JEUPISTE will further enhance the level of Europe-Japan cooperation with richer activities, including contribution to the EU-Japan STI policy dialogues, implementation of bilateral information services, active network building through academic/innovation workshops, operation of help desk and organisation of training courses.


EUJO-LIMMS (2011-2016)

EUrope-Japan opening of LIMMS (EUJO-LIMMS) aims to reinforce research collaboration between Europe and Japan to tackle new challenges in micro and nano technologies. The strategy consists in opening the activity of an international laboratory, the Laboratory for Integrated Micro Mechatronic Systems (LIMMS) located in Tokyo, to European partners. LIMMS is a Joint Unit between the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. The scientific challenge of EUJO-LIMMS is to push the frontiers of micro and nano systems technology in capitalising the complementary expertise of the University of Tokyo and European partners.

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European Commission
DG Research and Innovation
Anne Haglund Morrissey
Policy Officer - R&I Relations with Japan
Unit RTD C1 - Policy Coordination, EFTA and Enlargement countries, Russia, Asia and Pacific
Tel: (+32) 229 80062
Delegation of the European Union to Japan
Leonidas Karapiperis
Minister-Counsellor, Head of Science & Technology
Europa House, 4-6-28 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku
Tokyo 106-0047, Japan
Telephone: (+81) 3 5422 6001
Fax: (+81) 3 5420 5544