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Otago strengthens links with top Japanese university

Clocktower.

Thursday, 18 May 2017 2:27pm

Hokkaido agreement image
Otago's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie and Hokkaido University President Toyoharu Nawa sign the MOU in Hokkaido this morning.

Students and staff at the University of Otago and Hokkaido University will benefit from agreements signed in Japan this morning and exchanged in front of Prime Minister Bill English.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie, and Hokkaido University President, Toyoharu Nawa, signed a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions and a student exchange agreement in Sapporo.

The agreements will encourage research collaboration in any subject area, as well as allow for academic and professional staff exchanges, and up to six student exchanges each semester.

Professor Blaikie says the signing cements relationships that have been growing between faculty members for years, some across many decades.

“Research and teaching collaborations are active across a number of areas of mutual interest, including geology, earthquake sciences, marine biology and fisheries. That reflects the common characteristics our two island nations share on the Pacific Rim.”

The agreement also aims to broaden relationships in other areas of shared strength and interest, including food science, agriculture, environmental sciences, psychology, medicine, business, arts and culture.

Regular student exchanges will allow deeper cultural understanding between the universities, Professor Blaikie says.

“Our two universities share common characteristics of size, age and ambition to promote excellence in all our endeavours.

“It is through the personal relationships that will develop with these student exchanges, as well as the sharing of teaching, research, cultural and sporting activities, that the intent of the agreement will be put to true effect.”

Hokkaido University, also known as Hokudai, was founded as an agricultural college in 1876. It is now one of the national universities of Japan and has about 18,000 students.

While in Sapporo, the Prime Minister will also witness the signing of the New Zealand-Hokkaido Partnership Agreement.

If you have further queries, please contact:

Jason Cushen
Deputy Director, International Student Services, University of Otago
Tel: 03 479 5670
Mobile: 021 991 628
Email: jason.cushen@otago.ac.nz

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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