Aarhus University Seal

Research and innovation activities are increasingly glocal

AIAS was represented at the meeting for University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS) in Japan last week. The meeting highlighted that research and innovation increasingly are part of a global policy agenda, and it opened specific research collaborations, particularly with Asia and Africa.

Members and representatives of the UBIAS global network for University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study in Nagoya, Japan, November 2023.
Representatives from WIAS and AIAS at the UBIAS Meeting, November 2023.

Research and innovation are increasingly part of a larger strategic and political landscape influenced not only by concrete business interests and perceived societal needs, but also by overarching geopolitical configurations. This is a global trend. Thus, a bilateral Japan-Kingdom of Denmark Joint Strategic Work Program (2023-2028)” was an important outcome of the recent Danish governmental visit to Japan, headed by PM Mette Frederiksen last week. It asked for future collaboration between the two countries on strategic topics such as quantum technology, green transition, and food and agriculture.

UBIAS, the association of University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study, is a global network of research hubs across countries and continents aiming at fostering collaboration and exchanges. Last week, representatives from 22 institutes in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe met in Nagoya, Japan, for the first in-person UBIAS meeting since the pandemic. AIAS was represented at the meeting as well.

Exchange with WIAS, Tokyo 

Following up on the Danish-Japanese Japan-Kingdom of Denmark Joint Strategic Work Program (2023-2028),” AIAS and Waseda Institute of Advanced Study (WIAS) at Waseda University in Tokyo have agreed to establish a novel research exchange program. The program allows fellows and affiliated researchers a research stay, typically for one to two months, hosted at the partner institute in close collaboration with a university-based researcher. Waseda University has close links with industry and with the political system, and it has historically strong research competences in the social sciences and policy development. Recently, a number of research groups at Waseda focus on green transition across all fields from energy infrastructure, policy, and design to human-nature relations. The first exchanges between AIAS and WIAS are expected to take place already in 2024, and a call open for researchers at Aarhus University will be published later this year.

UBIAS meeting: connecting Denmark glocally

The past years' crises, of the climate, pandemic, energy, war and conflicts, call for new forms of global contact between researchers and institutions across specific research fields. Across the world, the Institutes for Advanced Study host international fellows and foster focused basic research and interdisciplinary collaborations, in each their way complementing the organization and workflows at the 'parent' university.

The UBIAS meeting identified that local research landscapes increasingly have a global dimension, and that this glocal reality is a shared condition. This highlighted a need for establishing equal collaborations with a global reach, in particular with Africa, Asia and South America. As pointed out by Grace Dinah, the director of the Maria Sibylla Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa (MIASA) in Ghana: “It is he who wears the shoe who knows where it pinches the most.” Local challenges are often also global challenges, but solutions should be ‘glocal.’ 

The next in-person UBIAS meeting is scheduled for Ghana in the fall of 2025. In the meantime, UBIAS will develop shared theme-based research activities and specific point-to-point collaborations between relevant partners. Thus, the Institutes for Advanced Study offer possibilities for scientific collaboration and research diplomacy that is anchored locally at specific universities and global in reach.


Andreas RoepstorffAIAS director
E-mail: andreas.roepstorff@aias.au.dk

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, AIAS
Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B
DK-8000 Aarhus C