Paris, 30 January 2012
Within the framework of its international cooperation policy, the European Commission has issued a call for tenders as part of the INCO-Lab program to establish European laboratories in China, India, Russia, Brazil, Japan and the US. To apply, a scientific institution from one of the EU member states must have an international laboratory in one of the above-mentioned countries and propose opening up its research activities to European partners. This is the case for CNRS, which has been cooperating with the University of Tokyo (UT) since 1995, through the Tokyo-based International Joint Unit, LIMMS (Laboratory for Integrated Micro Mechatronic Systems). Within the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), LIMMS hosts French and Japanese researchers who benefit from cutting-edge micro and nanotechnologies to carry out their research and develop engineering and biology applications. Since it was launched, LIMMS has already been home to over 100 scientists. During the past four years, more than 200 conference proceedings have been published and five patents filed by this international laboratory.
Building on this experience, CNRS and the University of Tokyo have proposed to open up LIMMS to EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland), IMTEK (Fribourg, Germany) and VTT (Finland), three institutions with which CNRS and the University of Tokyo were already in contact via the International Research Network NAMIS (4).
The EUJO-LIMMS proposal ( E urope- J apan O pening of LIMMS ) was ranked first for Japan and one of the best for all countries involved. Through this project, LIMMS/CNRS-IIS and its EUJO-LIMMS extension will become the European Commission's first international laboratory in Japan.
The EUJO-LIMMS scientific program (5) aims to push back the frontiers of research in micro and nano system technology by harnessing the complementary expertise of the University of Tokyo, CNRS and the three new European partners. For a period of four years, guest researchers will develop innovative miniature devices targeting new applications in flexible electronics, optics and molecular and cellular bioengineering.
A call for a fourth partner is scheduled after two years. Solely based on criteria of scientific excellence, it will be issued to all member states' research teams. Twenty European researchers are already expected. In addition to its research activity, EUJO-LIMMS will look at the extension of the LIMMS contractual framework to adapt it to European cooperation. This study will be based on existing agreements between CNRS and the University of Tokyo and on exchanges within the consortium.
The EUJO-LIMMS program thus targets significant enhancement of scientific relations between Europe and Japan. The research themes tie in perfectly, since they cover micro and nano systems, a booming area in which Japan is undoubtedly a world leader, and a promising one in terms of applications.
(1) Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
(2) Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany
(3) Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus, Technical Research Centre of Finland.
(4) International Research Network: GDRI NAMIS
(5) EUJO-LIMMS' scientific policy focuses on the new applications opened up by micro and nano-technologies. Research is highly exploratory and covers advanced micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (integration of sensors, actuators and electronics in functional microsystems), nanotechnology and BioMEMS (labs-on-a-chip and molecular and cellular biotechnologies). Research will be conducted through both thematic and multidisciplinary projects.
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