Today, KU Leuven is organizing a seminar on science and innovation at the Belgian Embassy in Tokyo. Special attention is given to the historical ties between KU Leuven and Japan. The event is part of a visit from KU Leuven representatives to Japan and China.
It is the third time that KU Leuven, together with its Japanese alumni chapter and the embassy, is organizing a seminar in Japan. At the event, Rector Luc Sels and Ms. Roxane de Bilderling, ambassador of Belgium to Japan, will welcome businesspeople, Japanese universities and research institutions, and alumni of KU Leuven.
Attendees will learn about different artificial intelligence research projects from KU Leuven. The programme includes talks about self-driving cars, digital health applications and technology transfer at KU Leuven.
The second part of the seminar links technology and culture and focuses on how the Alamire Foundation at KU Leuven uses artificial intelligence to bring old Flemish polyphonic music into the digital age. This second part also discusses the historically important donation of 14,000 books that Japan made to the university in 1920. To celebrate the centenary of that special donation, KU Leuven, in collaboration with UCLouvain, is planning an exhibition on these works in 2020. In this context, a fundraising campaign will be launched in Japan.
The programme closes with a unique concert by the Sollazzo Ensemble. The musicians will play from the Leuven Chansonnier, a recently discovered songbook digitized by the Alamire Digital Lab.
Rector Luc Sels: "Japan is at the top in terms of technological infrastructure and research. As Europe's most innovative university, we, on our side, also have a great deal of expertise to offer to Japanese companies and research institutions. We can build on a rich tradition of intense collaboration with universities such as Hitotsubashi, Waseda, Keio, and others. During this mission, we will also discuss new strategic research partnerships with the University of Kyoto."
Last month, the KU Leuven already strengthened its ties with the Japanese community in Belgium during a visit organized by Leuven MindGate and the BJA.
Picture taken during the Leuven MindGate-BJA event
The KU Leuven delegation will be in Japan all week to strengthen relations with local universities and alumni. The program includes visits to various universities with which KU Leuven collaborates.
Rector Sels will also visit Beijing University and Tsinghua University in China. KU Leuven has been working closely with these institutions for many years. "KU Leuven and Peking University want to join forces in multiple disciplines and domains, from philosophy and language and regional studies, to artificial intelligence and technology transfer," explains Rector Sels. "We want to discuss how we can jointly invest in research and exchange projects for students and academics." At Tsinghua University, the universities will reconfirm their student mobility agreement. The rector will also attend a seminar on intellectual property rights.
Every year, about ninety Japanese people study at KU Leuven. Japan is also one of the thirteen countries where the university maintains an alumni network. In China, there are already two alumni networks: in Shanghai and Beijing. There are more than a thousand Chinese students at KU Leuven.