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30 Jun 2010

Québec and Japan sign nanotechnology agreements

Left to right: Louise Dandurand, Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, Concordia University; Michel Pigeon, MNA for Charlesbourg and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports; Hiroaki Isobe, Consul General of Japan in Montréal; Joseph Hubert, Vice-Rector, Research and International Relations, University of Montréal; and Robert Crawhall, CEO, NanoQuébec.

The signing of three new agreements by three Québec educational institutions and Shinshu University (Nagano Prefecture) provides further confirmation that the nanotechnology sector is one of the most active in terms of Québec-Japan relations and high-tech research.

The Québec signatories are the CTT Group (Saint Hyacinthe CEGEP’s Centre of Excellence for Textile Technologies, Geosynthetics and Flexible Materials), the University of Montréal and Concordia University. The agreements were announced on June 29 at a ceremony attended by NanoQuébec’s CEO, Robert Crawhall, and Michel Pigeon, MNA for Charlesbourg and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, together with representatives of the Québec and Japanese governments, the academic community and industry.

The agreements follow on from two framework agreements signed by NanoQuébec with Japanese partners in 2007 and in 2009. Over the past four years, Québec and Japanese nanotechnology researchers have met annually to strengthen existing links and develop opportunities for research and innovation cooperation. “Pooling international knowledge is key since it allows us to consolidate our position among the world’s nanotechnology leaders. This is a future growth area that touches on various economic sectors,” said Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade.

During his official visit to Japan in September 2009, Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, became aware of Japan’s interest in developing research partnerships with Québec. He subsequently called on Québec’s research community to join forces in taking advantage of the opportunities provided. Expressing his satisfaction with the latest developments, Mr. Arcand noted: “Québec Government Office in Tokyo is playing a major role in identifying potential partners and fostering partnerships, working closely with NanoQuébec.”

Commenting on efforts to facilitate networking between researchers in Québec and Japan, NanoQuébec CEO Robert Crawhall said: “The fact that the most important nanotube conference is being held in Montréal this year points to the crucial role played by Québec’s research community. We are proud to be collaborating with our partners at Shinshu University, who are recognized as nanotube pioneers. Working together, we are seeking to speed the pace of development in the areas of nanoelectronics, nanomaterials and high value-added textiles, bringing benefits to Québec and Japanese companies alike.”

Québec and Japan have signed a total of five cooperation agreements aimed at developing and promoting nanotechnology. Japan ranks among the leading countries in terms of R&D, with related investments (private industry and government combined) accounting for nearly 4% of GDP.

Québec Government Office in Tokyo
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