Third Robinson Research Institute and Kyoto University workshop a resounding success

A serene location at the top of New Zealand’s South Island with spectacular views of the Marlborough Sounds recently formed the venue for an international workshop on engineering and physics research.

A group of people stand for a photo in front of a picturesque backdrop

Hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, the workshop attracted almost 40 attendees from Japan, the United States (US) and the University to promote better research connections between VUW researchers and their counterparts at Kyoto University, and with other closely-aligned research organisations in Japan.

Jointly organised by Victoria University of Wellington’s Robinson Research Institute and the Graduate School of Engineering of Kyoto University, the third Kyoto University – Victoria University of Wellington workshop on Science, Engineering and Applications of Electric and Electronic Materials took place from November 10-12 at the Portage Hotel near Picton. The workshop featured over a dozen participants from Japan and the US, who joined researchers from the Robinson Research Institute, VUW’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences (SCPS), and School of Engineering and Computer Science, to give presentations on topics ranging from high-temperature superconductor (HTS) materials, magnets and systems to magnetic materials and spintronics and materials for solar energy, all topics of active research at VUW and Kyoto University.

Highlights included presentations on HTS magnets for space propulsion (Dr Stuart Wimbush - Robinson, VUW); energy-efficient superconducting computing (Prof. Nobuyuki Yoshikawa - Yokohama National University, and Dr Franck Natali - SCPS, VUW), HTS machines for electric trains and aircraft (Dr Rod Badcock, and Dr Jakub Glowacki – both Robinson, VUW) and improving solar cell efficiency (Dr Nate Davis – SCPS, VUW). Also included was a session on fusion energy research using HTS by Dr Joseph Minervini, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A global expert, Dr Minervini recently presented a public lecture in Wellington on the role of superconductors in clean energy.

This workshop is the third held since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2016 between the Graduate School of Engineering at Kyoto University and the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Architecture and Design (SEAD) of Victoria University of Wellington. The workshop served as a crucial platform for conversations about participants’ possible collaborations, as well as strengthening existing VUW-Kyoto University collaborations in HTS and spintronics.

Speaking about the conference, Nick Long, Director, Robinson Research Institute, said “It’s been an honour for us to host the third conference as part of the MoU with Kyoto University. There is a lot of synergy between the work we do at the Robinson Research Institute and what Professor Amemiya and his team in Kyoto are doing. One of the primary objectives of the MoU is to promote collaborations on education and scientific research, and, in that context, the conference has been a huge success.”

Professor Amemiya was also delighted with the conference outcomes. "The third KU-VUW event was fantastic. I am pleased to see research collaborations have been expanding since the signing of the MoU between the graduate school of KU and SEAD of VUW and the first workshop in 2016. I hope future workshops can lead to more fruitful collaborations and eventually result in a university-level agreement."

The next conference to be held under the MoU is expected to take place in Japan in early 2021. The organisers hope to broaden the scope of the workshop to include researchers from other subject areas within VUW who may benefit from a connection to Kyoto University. If you have existing or potential research connections to Kyoto University, please contact one of the workshop co-organisers: Dr Simon Granville, Dr Zhenan Jiang or Dr Nick Long.