IN the wake of the Japanese earthquake disaster two years ago, a number of Pacific Rim countries have now shifted focus to the sustainability sector to provide solutions to the on-going problems of power for the most densely populated places in the world.
Recently the Second International Symposium on Expertise in Sustainable Society was held with guest lectures from leading figures in the industry including Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of South Eastern Regional College (SERC).
The conference was organised by Toyama Technical College, Japan. Both Toyama and SERC have close links with an international partnership which has now been extended by a further three years in order to continue the work of sharing knowledge and best practice from either side of the world
Speaking on the signing of the new partnership, Ken Webb said: “This partnership has been a huge success over the past number of years, our staff and students have benefited from the close links. We are extremely proud to be the only College in the UK with this type of link to a Japanese college and we hope that this will lead to further opportunities for our students as they have a chance to see how the third largest economy in the world up-skill their workforce to meet global challenges.”
Membership with the partnership has now been extended to include Nagaoka University of Technology, a leading university in Japan. Nagaoka have joined the partnership as they see the potential for collaborative exchanges and research projects which could help the region as it continues to look for technological solution to the regions energy problems.
During the signing ceremony Ken Webb awarded Dr Nause, Vice President of Toyama Technical College, with a visiting professor status from South Eastern Regional College as recognition of the signing. This honour is widely seen as the highest recognition between the partners as a symbol of the collaborative nature of the project.
The project has been funded through the Connected Programme, which promotes collaboration between the six FE Colleges and two universities in Northern Ireland. Its aim is to help businesses improve their performance by providing access to a broad portfolio of knowledge and technology support services.
Lynn Connaughton, from Colleges NI said: “The Connected project has been supporting SERC in developing their linkages with Japan over the past number of years. These links have now been enhanced by the HE/FE collaborations fostered by the Connected programme. The Connected delegations input to the symposium attracted interest from a number of international universities who were in attendance including Hawaii, Korea, and Malaysia. This level of international interest, couple with the commitment from Nagaoka University of Technology holds the potential for some very interesting international collaborative exchanges and research opportunities”.
The future plans for the international partnership is to bring the next International Symposium to Northern Ireland next year. This highlights the commitment of the Japanese partners in Northern Ireland being selected to host this event which will aim to highlight the research and work which has been carried out the sustainability industry.