CH-JP Workshop on Innovation Parks and Citizen Science

The Swiss delegation to STS forum enjoyed an opportunity to exchange with counterparts at the CH-JP Workshop on “Innovation Parks” and “Citizen Science.” Approximately 30 participants from industry, government and academia joined the discussions on the two topics which are both relatively new yet important for the future of science and innovation in this rapidly changing world.

Prof. Gian-Luca Bona, CEO of the Swiss Laboratories of Materials Science (Empa) led the session on innovation parks. His opening statement outlining the Swiss Innovation Park projects was followed by introductory presentations by Prof. Prof. Kurt N. Clausen, Vice-Director, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Dr. Alessandro Curioni, Director and Vice President, IBM Research Zurich and Prof. Manuel Peitsch who spoke not only as Chief Scientific Officer of Philip Morris International R&D but also Chairman of the Board of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB). The final introductory presentation of the session was given by Dr. Yamamoto, Director, Department of Advanced Medical Technology Development, Research & Development Initiative Center, National Cerebral & Cardiovascular Center which is leading the “Northern Osaka Health and Biomedical Innovation Town” in Japan.

The second session on citizen science was led by Prof. Michael Hengartner, President of the University of Zurich. The introductory presentations in this session were made by Prof. Heinz Gutscher, President, Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Ulrich W. Suter, President, Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW, Dr. Matthias Kaiserswerth, Managing Director, Hasler Stiftung and Dr. Hiromi Kobori, Distinguished Professor of the Tokyo City University and President of the Biodiversity Academy. Prof. Kobori has been asked to become a member of the reflection group for a joint project by the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva on standards and policy recommendations for citizen science projects.

The discussions proceeded in a casual, but nonetheless serious atmosphere. Mr. Satoru Ohtake, principal fellow of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) was the most outspoken among the Japanese guests, providing insights and comments on both topics. New interests were “excavated” with Prof. Dr. Rik Eggen, Deputy Director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) asking questions on a citizen science project on the sewage system given as a Japanese example by Prof. Kobori that she leads for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MLIT).

Prof. Christian Schwarzenegger, Vice President of the University of Zurich gave the kampai speech –in Japanese and English– for the networking dinner hosted by the Swiss Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Mr. Urs Bucher. The Swiss delegation, despite after a long day of travelling from Kyoto making visits along the way, exchanged ideas and questions energetically with their Japanese and Swiss counterparts.

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