PRIORITY TOPICS 2022

(1st slot) 

Ref No Title Details
22-0109 Circularizing the Japanese Fashion & Textile economy: current situation, future prospects and opportunities for business cooperation for European companies and SMEs in Japan Context: in line with a pressing global commitment to become more environmental-friendly, the fashion industry is expected to undergo radical change, including in Japan.

Work to do:this research will analyze Japan’s the current state of Circular Economy policies applied to the textile and fashion value chains, and document industry initiatives and best practices / projects which contribute to better sustainability. In a second step, the research will perform a gap analysis comparing Japan and the EU in order to identify opportunities (with concrete recommendations) for future industrial and business cooperation between European and Japanese players of the textile and fashion ecosystem.

22-0108 The automotive industry in the face of environmental, social and economic challenges: how can EU-Japan potential cooperation contribute to better technology regulation? Context: the imperative of the environmental transition, along with the challenges of inclusiveness (mobility for all), is leading a growing part of the population to turn away from the car as the main mode of transportation in developed countries. Moreover, changes in individual behaviors regarding work or consumption, especially since the pandemic, are challenging the importance of the car in our societies and thus the future of the automotive industry itself. The challenges of electrification, adaptation of vehicles for the elderly and disabled, anticipation of rising energy costs, and the deployment of autonomous vehicles are leading to new strategic positioning for both public players and manufacturers.

Work to do: research and find out how cooperation between Japan and the EU on the regulation, standardization and development of autonomous vehicles can help to better promote the manufacturers of these countries on international markets largely influenced by these standards.
22-0107 New mobility markets in emerging metropoles: opportunities for collaboration between Japanese and European manufacturers Context: daily mobility has been disrupted in recent years first by the digitalization and then by the COVID pandemic, which has itself contributed to the acceleration of the digital transition. New mobility players have emerged from digital technologies as Mobility Service Providers. This dynamic is leading to a new organization of urban transport and is revealing great potential in the metropolitan areas of emerging countries (e.g. South-East Asia, Africa), whose infrastructures are not adapted to a car-centric model.

Work to do: Japan and Europe share common features, in relation with a transportation sector based on large industrial groups, and a relative weakness in the field of digital companies, unlike North America and China, and the research will address how Japan and Europe can further cooperate to take advantage of their own industrial sectors while adapting to the challenges of new mobility through digital technology.
22-0106 Updated analysis of Japan’s SME internationalization priorities, strategy and industrial policy for cooperation with the EU Work to do: identify Japan’s updated strategies and priorities for supporting Japanese SMEs internationalization and assess possible alignments and opportunities for cooperation with EU instruments and tools for SME support overseas, including – but not limited to – partner search tools (business matching: Enterprise Europe Network Japan), innovation support (funding, licensing, etc..) and people-to-people exchanges (talent sharing, internships)..
22-0105 Analysis of highly regulated markets in Japan and regulatory implications for European companies trading in these areas Work to do: identify markets in Japan which are considered to be highly regulated (for instance within areas 10- 29 from website
http://www.customs.go.jp/english/tariff/2018_4/data/import.htm), and produce a sector-specific assessment and summary checklist of regulatory procedures for European companies.
For European companies working in these areas, identify additional points companies need to pay attention to, such as, Japanese partners with special importer licenses; Necessary registrations as foreign manufacturers; possible ways to deal with the restrictions. Research and benchmark ways other EU companies have approached the regulatory hurdles in the past.
22-0104 Analysis of digital transformation among Japanese SMEs and lessons learned for the European Industry Work to do: assess how Japanese small and medium enterprises are coping with the challenge of transformation of their business models and structure induced by adoption of new digital technologies. What actions are initiated by policymakers and public institutions to facilitate those changes? Survey successful Japanese digital transformation strategies, technology induced innovations and analyze the lessons learned that could specifically help European SMEs better prepare for this challenge.
22-0103 Analysis on how best to support European research organizations and SMEs, and to identify the most appealing technologies for Japanese companies interested in licensing opportunities from Europe Work to do:

1) Identify, and analyse the main categories of technologies that Japanese companies are interested in, especially in terms of licensing opportunities from foreign partners. This task will require desk activity and mostly interviews with Japanese stakeholders;

2) Follow up at the request of European organisations to identify potential partners and liaise with Japanese counterparts to initiate and develop contacts as appropriate also by leveraging the information acquired sub 1). Develop new contacts as necessary. In doing so, the candidate will devote part of the time by assisting the EU-Japan Technology Transfer Helpdesk (http://www.eu-jp-tthelpdesk.eu) in its daily activities (ie organization of seminars, webinars, webcasts, promotion of licensable technologies, etc.).

3) Produce an actionable report with concrete recommendations on licensing/tech transfer opportunities for managers of European organizations (corporations/academia) with an interest to license out their technologies to Japanese partners.

Desired MINERVA candidate profile: the position requires a candidate with a good understanding of the above mentioned areas (ie licensing, technology transfer, innovation, etc.). The ideal candidate will need to combine English language skills with some technology transfer background as well a good communication and presentation skills, in the context of facilitating partnerships between the EU and Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language would be a strong plus only if spoken at a business level.
22-0102 Analysis and profiling of certification-related specialized consultants and notified bodies based in Japan Context: in light of the recently signed EU-Japan EPA, notified bodies play an increasingly important role in helping firms and SMEs with various certification procedures, which are important steps when introducing technologies on both the Japanese and EU markets.

Work to do: the purpose of the research will be to analyze and precisely describe the areas of competence of various notified bodies in Japan which operate in delivering technical certification and approvals for imported products and technologies, in order to better support EU SMEs with their inquiries related to market entry in Japan (and vice versa, on inquiries from Japanese SMEs related to market entry in the EU). Since this topic is connected to the inquiries received in the Enterprise Europe Network Japan (EEN Japan, see https://www.een-japan.eu/) the selected candidate will work closely with the EEN Japan team based in Tokyo.
22-0101 Resilience of global supply chains: possible solutions from EU-Japan Industrial Cooperation Context: While global supply chains have evolved to keep current costs low and profitability high, they are not well equipped to deal with sudden disruption, be it on the supply or demand side. This has become more evident than ever with: a) the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted many supply chains at its outbreak, and the subsequent economic recovery, the strongest on record, led to enormous further strain on the global supply system; surging demand, coupled with shortages of workers, ships, containers, air cargo space and clogged ports, created a 'perfect storm'; b) the climate-related disruption with greater frequency and severity of climate hazards can create more disruptions in global supply chains—interrupting production, raising costs and prices, and hurting corporate revenues; and c) the war in Ukraine that Is further disrupting global supply chains. It is affecting industries ranging from semiconductors to cars to food.

Work to do: analyse how the EU and Japan could joint industry efforts towards diversifying international supply chains and pursuing international partnerships to increase resilience and the accelerated uptake of digital technologies and green transformation. This may include various aspects of EU-Japan industrial cooperation such as: a) tightening cooperation on standards and regulations; b) robustness of their supply chains and ways to jointly address their vulnerabilities; c) cybersecurity of supply chains, where the role of the public sector in setting industry standards, interoperability requirements and regulatory cooperation is also crucial; d) identifying common priority sectors, definitions and methodologies to feed the EU-Japan cooperation policies; e) boosting resilience by extending EU-Japan business cooperation in/with third countries such as Africa, ASEAN and Latin America to diversify markets and decrease dependencies; f) secure supply chains for improving resilience and security of supply in key sectors for the green and digital transition, with focus on semiconductors, clean energy, pharmaceuticals and critical materials; g) improving transparency of chains, mapping existing sectoral capabilities and information exchange.

 

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