International Mission

Clust-ER Health in Japan: a collective European mission

After three years, a long break also due to the pandemic, Clust-ER Health has returned to Japan to explore opportunities for collaboration and innovation, in view of Osaka 2025.

The institutional mission with European actors took place from 14 to 18 November, in which Clust-ER Health also took part together with a delegation made up of representatives of various European Regions, such as Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Catalonia, Emillia-Romagna, Euskadi Basque Region, Ljubljana Urban Region, Val d’Oise Future Schedule, with their representatives of regional governments, development agencies and some thematic clusters in line with the themes of the mission. For the health area, together with Clust-ER Health of Emilia-Romagna, BIOCAT, an organization that coordinates and promotes the health and life sciences sector in Catalonia, also participated.

A tight and very dense agenda allowed the Cluster Manager Sauro Vicini to visit the three prefectures of Osaka, Oita and Kyoto and the excellence in the Japanese innovation scene.


The visit to the realities of Osaka prefecture began with the meeting of representatives of the Prefectural Government at the Sakishima Building, which offered a view of the artificial island on which the pavilions of the states that will participate in the Osaka Expo 2025 , the main subject of the meeting, are being created. The Osaka International Exhibition will certainly represent, as it was for the Dubai edition in 2021-2022, an opportunity to present, within the initiatives proposed by the Emilia-Romagna Region, regional excellence in the fields of Life Sciences and Biotechnology. In these years it will therefore be important to create relationships aimed at enhancing the regional assets that can find, in Japan, important partnerships, both in terms of commercial development, but also and above all of scientific collaboration.

On the other hand, visits to the Northern Osaka Health and Biomedical Innovation Town (KENTO), the region’s main hub for innovation in the health sector, and a visit to the Open Innovation Center (OIC) of the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center (NCVC), were on the subject of health. The theme of regenerative medicine is certainly one of the points of greatest convergence between the strategies for enhancing the excellence of Japan and Emilia-Romagna in the life sciences sector. The collaboration with Japanese research centers promises to be extremely valuable and with important potential. 

Before leaving Osaka, the visit to Kansai International Airport (KIX), which plans to become a “hydrogen airport” by 2030, also allowed us to deepen the issues related to energy supply.


In Oita, a well-known hot spring resort in southern Japan, the meeting with representatives of the local government took place, where the European regions presented their specificities and their areas of innovation, linked to their respective regional S3 strategies.

The visit to the Oita Prefectural Government Disaster Information Platform: Earth Disaster Intelligent System & Operational Network (EDiSON), also allowed to show the technological implementations that a country like Japan, characterized by a high seismic risk, has put in place for the prevention of disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

Finally, we also visited DENKEN, which produces robots for telepresence, also used in the medical sector as well as in hospitality, and which has plans for use in the aerospace sector. Also in this prefecture, moreover, we had the opportunity to visit the first plant for the production of green hydrogen from geothermal energy, which Oita can put in place thanks to the peculiarities of the geological conformation of its territory.


After moving to Kyoto, the first appointment was the meeting with the Government of Kyoto Prefecture in which representatives of the European Regions met Governor Takatoshi Nishiwaki.

On the last day, finally, we visited the Keihanna Science City, with presentations by the Keihanna R&D Innovation Consortium, the Research Promotion Council of Keihanna, the Info-Communication Open Laboratory – Keihanna Research Complex Promotion Counci, and the CHA Experience Park Fukujuen.

The mission ended with a visit to the Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International (ATR ) and the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT) with the Restitution Meeting with representatives of the European regions and the Kyoto Government and with the heads of the European Commission, Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of Research and Innovation for the European Commission and Cesar Moreno, Programme Manager Foreign Policy Instruments of the Delegation of the European Union in Japan.

The IURC project, of which this initiative was part, foresees that in 2023 representatives of Japanese governments and research centers will visit European regions; in fact, the first debates are already underway to plan the mission in October 2023.

For further information:

EU-Japan Region-to-Region Innovation Cooperation: Six EU Regions conducted the First Study Visit to Japan

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The Clust-ERs are financed by the European Funds of the Emilia-Romagna Region - ERDF ROP 2014-2020