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UK-Japan Young Scientists

UK-Japan Young Scientists

Watch Videos of the 2010 and 2012 Cambridge Workshops

Group of Japanese and British StudentsI suppose the most important thing that I took from this workshop is that … science is becoming more and more international, so being able to work with Japanese students has set us up well for the future. I can say I have taken a lot from this week. I have made new friends, seen new science, made new memories and had an absolutely wonderful time. UK student, 2010

[It] changed my career… I now study material engineering. I learned the attitude towards something unknown, working together with people from a different country to solve a problem. Every person who took part should realize how precious this experience is. Japanese university students who took part in 2006, reporting at the 2009 Workshop

I managed to do a written report and presentation on a subject I knew nothing about with people I did not know, and yet to enjoy myself at the same time. I feel so proud to have taken part. I will never forget it. UK student, 2001

That I was able to attend the Workshop is the greatest pleasure in my life. I had a really wonderful time for ten days and I felt myself developing naturally during the Workshop. Moreover, this was the opportunity for me to think about many things in global perspective. I think I have grown up as if I were a different person in these ten days. I really really thank you very much!!! Japanese student, 2008

It was amazing to watch the teams transform from two groups of students from Japan and UK into one group of bright, intelligent young people wrestling with a problem. The benefits of this are obvious. There is no better way for my students to learn that science is an international activity underpinned by collaboration. UK teacher, 2007

Our Aims

Young Scientist Partnerships open up to post-16 school students in both countries enlivening experiences of science and its application:

  • as a real life challenge where schoolwork is given meaning and context, answers are not known, questioning and debate are encouraged, and their achievements are valued;
  • as a cultural bridge where by working together they learn to value each others’ way of life and see their own lives in a global perspective.

Why this is so important

Britain and Japan face a common challenge.

  • In both countries, far too many young people are uninspired by their encounter with science in school and both countries share serious concerns that too few talented young people are attracted to science-related careers, particularly in the physical sciences and engineering.
  • Whether as scientists or as citizens, the science education they receive is not yet preparing them to be the science-literate questioning young people the 21st century demands.

Our work was also reported as an invited contribution in the proceedings of European Union Sixth Framework Programme “Form-it” conference in Vienna, March 2008, (and in the subsequent European Research Education Cooperation Report) as an excellent example of good practice in international collaboration in bridging the gap between research and science education. Report PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view More...

What Happens

School students from Britain and Japan live and work together for a week in small UK-Japanese teams guided by professional scientists on open ended cutting edge projects, and at the end of the week give public presentations of their achievements. Here “science” includes many related areas in engineering, medicine, etc.

Teachers accompany their students and observe but do not take part in the projects, and through the Teachers’ Programme they share their own experiences and take back the Workshop experience into their own schools, building up long term UK-Japan relationships.

All workshops are evaluated through detailed questionnaires completed at the end of the workshop by all participants, students, teachers, scientists and by reflections on the workshop from students and teachers on their return home, as well as by records of achievements during the workshop.

We know the Workshops often have profound impact on the students taking part, and lead to continuing linkages between students, teachers and schools in both countries. It is a transferrable model which works and has great potential for future development.

UK-Japan Young Scientist Track Record

The 2012 Workshop was hosted for the third time in Cambridge. Watch the videos...

The 2011 Workshop (ReportPDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view) was hosted for the second time in Cambridge. A total of 47 post-16 students and 17 teachers from 17 schools, equally split between Japan and England, took part. Of these 15 students and 6 teachers were from 6 Senior High Schools in Hitachi, Fukushima, Miyagi, Soma and Sendai, communities afflicted by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The Workshop was based as before at Murray Edwards College and the Kaetsu Centre, with activities taking place across the University and at the Babraham Institute, and with the final Celebratory Dinner hosted at Corpus Christi College. The students worked in small UK-Japanese teams with scientists and engineers in 9 research areas and at the end of the week gave concise team presentations of their achievements before an invited audience.

The 2010 Workshop (Report PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view- Videos) was hosted for the first time in Cambridge with projects led by scientists from the University of Cambridge, the Babraham Institute and Hitachi Cambridge Laboratories. 55 students and 19 teachers from 12 schools in England and Japan were based at Murray Edwards College and the adjoining Kaetsu Centre, and worked in 9 small UK-Japanese teams on a wide range of projects in laboratories across Cambridge. At the end of the week they gave team presentations of their achievements before an invited audience which included Lord Rees of Ludlow, President of the Royal Society, Dr Richard Pike, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Mr Hans-Jeorg Hinkel of Mitsubishi Electric Europe, as well as Prof Kozo Hiramatsu and Mr Takeschi Sekiguchi, Director and Deputy Director JSPS London, and Mr Tomohiko Arai, First Secretary (Science and Technology) Embassy of Japan. The Workshop was supported by grants and charitable donations from the Department for Education, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Mitsubishi Electric Europe, Toshiba Research Europe and in Japan by the Japan Science and Technology Agency; also in kind by the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory who ran one of the projects.

Further information (in English) in the Embassy of Japan web newsletter, on the University of Cambridge website, and (in Japanese) on the Asahi Shimbun website, and on the Rikkyo School in England website.

The 2009 Workshop (Report PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view) was hosted at the Kyoto University of Education with support from the Department for Education, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and Mrs Mary-Grace Browning, and in Japan from the Japan Science and Technology Agency. British and Japanese school students lived together and worked in six project areas under the guidance of Japanese scientists and engineers from the Kyoto University of Education, Kyoto University and the Kataoka Corporation in such fields as immunology, plasma physics, stirling engine construction and performance, the behaviour of alloys-phase diagrams and metal recycling, and lasers and at the end of the week gave presentations of their achievements.

Group photo of the 2008 WorkshopThe 2008 Workshop (Report PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view) hosted at, and in informal partnership with, the University of Surrey was supported by a Daiwa Foundation Award from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Department of Children Schools and Families (through the Joint International Unit), Mitsubishi Electric Europe and the Japan Science and Techology Agency, and the Japan Society and involved projects in sleep research, global monitoring by satellite, nanotechnology, video compression (with Mitsubishi Electric), “Water for Life” (water resources), and fuel cell technology. The workshop was endorsed as a Japan-UK 150 Festival Event, marking the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Britain and Japan.

The 2007 Workshop (Report PDF format - requires Acrobat Reader to view) hosted at the Kyoto University of Education, was supported by a Daiwa Foundation Award from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, the Japan Science and Technology Agency Super Science High School programme and involved projects in plasma physics, immunology, the chemistry of natural waters, the microfauna of streams and soils, and on stirling engine design.

The 2006 Workshop was hosted at the University of Surrey and was supported by and involved projects on global warming, clock gene research, nanotechnology, and monitoring the earth by satellite.

The 2005 Workshop planned in England was postponed owing to concern from Japan following the London bombings.

The 2004 Workshop (Report) was hosted at the Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto. A film diary of the Workshop produced by the Japan Science and Technology Agency was broadcast on the Japanese TV Science Channel as two 30 min programmes Jan 2005, and also circulated by as a DVD to all Japanese Super Science High Schools.

In 2003-2004, the Embassy of Japan funded the Trust to run a UK-Japan Young Scientist Pilot Programme with scientists from Imperial College and University of Surrey, with two British and two Japanese schools in Britain. (Report available)

The 2001 Workshop (Report) hosted at the University of Bristol was the first ever to involve students from the two countries working together in science. Ten projects were involved in aeronautics, archaeology, chemistry, earthquake engineering, environment, ethics in medicine, science communication through theatre, space science, vulcanology and wildlife conservation. The Workshop was part of the Japan 2001 Festival and was supported by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan 2001 and the Chemical Society of Japan.

This programme builds on the UK-Japan Science, Creativity and the Young Mind Workshops we ran with Japanese colleagues in Bristol in 1994 and 1996 and in Tokyo in 1998, enabling teachers and scientists in both countries to share grass-roots experience and good practice in enlivening school science.