Facing the Pandemic Together: Canada-Japan Science and Technology Cooperation

  • 25 Feb 2021
  • 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
  • Webinar

Registration: Eventbrite

Presented by CIPS and the Asian Studies Network (ASN)

The last few years have seen a remarkable increase in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) cooperation between Canada and Japan. COVID-19 has brought challenges in Japan-Canada STI cooperation, making in-person exchanges among researchers impossible. But the rapid introduction of digitalized exchanges has enabled continued cooperation. Today, Japanese and Canadian research institutes closely cooperate in various research projects including research related to the fight against COVID-19. This webinar will be the first webinar to discuss STI cooperation between Japan and Canada in the COVID-19 era. It will aim to provide an overview of cooperation among research institutes and beyond including public, private and academic cooperation in the post-COVID-19 era. With this webinar as a starting point, we expect that more discussion on Japan-Canada STI cooperation will follow in various venues and levels in coming years.


His Excellency Ambassador KAWAMURA Yasuhisa has served as Ambassador of Japan to Canada since November 2019. Before being posted to Canada, he was Ambassador/Deputy Representative of Japan to the United Nations between 2017 and 2019. He previously served as Press Secretary, Director-General for Press and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2015 and 2017. In addition, Ambassador Kawamura previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in India (2013-2015), Deputy Consul General of Japan in New York City (2010-2013), Deputy Press Secretary for the Foreign Minister (2008-2010), Representative in Tokyo for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2004-2008). Ambassador Kawamura also served in various important positions in Japan and abroad including at the Embassy of Japan in the United States, the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia and the Mission of Japan to the European Union. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Kawamura served in the International Press Division, Second International Organization Division, the Second Southeast Asia Division and Second North America Division. Ambassador Kawamura holds degrees from Hitotsubashi Unviersity (1981) and Amherst College in the United States (1984).

Ms. Melanie Cullins is currently the Executive Director of the International Innovation Office at the National Research Council Canada. Prior to her current role, Ms. Cullins served as Director of International Partnerships and Programs with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, Director of International Relations for the NRC, and as a Business Development Officer with a focus on intellectual property management, licensing, collaboration, and commercialization. Ms. Cullins holds an MA in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, an MBA from Queen’s University, and an Honours Degree in Commerce, focused on international business. She is a Certified Management Accountant.

Dr. HARAYAMA Yuko received her Ph.D. in Education Science in 1996 and Ph.D. in Economics in 1997,  both from the University of Geneva. Dr. HARAYAMA is an Executive Director charged of international affairs at RIKEN. Prior to RIKEN,  she has a broad range of experience that encompasses work as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Economy at  the University of Geneva, a Fellow at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, and a Professor in the Management of Science and Technology Department at the Graduate School of Engineering of Tohoku University. Her research interests include technology policies, innovation systems, cluster policy, and higher education system. She served as a Member of the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) from 2006 to2008, as the Deputy Director of the  Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation at OECD from 2010 to 2012, and as the Executive Member of CSTP, Cabinet  Office, Japan from 2013 to 2018.  She received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour – Chevalier (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur – Chevalier) in  2011.

Dr. Ichiro Taniuchi (M.D., Ph.D) is the team leader of the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences Laboratory for Transcriptional Regulation. He summarizes his research as follows: Gene regulation by transcription factors networks plays a central role in development of multi-cellular organisms. The aim of research in the laboratory is to understand how the genetic program that governs immune cell development is controlled and evolved from the view of transcriptional regulation. In particular, the research focuses on mechanisms of silencer-mediated gene repression and functions of Runx transcription factor family. Finally, the aim is to use the findings to develop new technology that will be applied to control human diseases.

Professor Mark Lathrop is the Scientific Director of the McGill University Genome Centre. Pr. Lathrop research interests are in the application of genomics and statistical/mathematical methods to understand the molecular basis of human disease. He was a founding member of the CEPH, the organised which pioneered the international scientific collaboration on the human genome. Prior to joining McGill, Pr. Lathrop co-founded and first scientific director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, an institute created to apply genomic approaches to understanding the molecular basis of human disease. At the request of the French government he later founded the centre National de Génotypage which he developed into the principal national infrastructure for human genetic studies in France. In Canada, he helped to create the Canadian Genomics Enterprise (CGEn) which is the country’s major national genomic sciences initiative. CGEn is tasked by the federal government to implement the nation-wide program on host genetics in COVID-19. Amongst other honours, Pr. Lathrop has been awarded the French Order of Merit and the French Legion of Honor for his contributions to science. 



Prof. Howard Alper is currently spearheading the initiative by the former Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, to enhance global recognition for Canadian research excellence. He is Chair of the Canvassing Committee for the initiative. He is also Distinguished University Professor at the University of Ottawa. The basic research Alper has been pursuing spans organic and inorganic chemistry, with potential applications in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and commodity chemical industries. In 2004, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Research Society of India, in 2006, an Honorary Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, and in March 2013, was made an Honorary Foreign Member of the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ), the first Canadian ever to be so honoured by the CSJ. In 2020, Alper was designated as “Companion of the Order of Canada”, the highest award to a civilian Canadian citizen, for his significant contributions to organometallic chemistry, and for his internationally recognized leadership in science research and policy.


Introduction by:

Prof. Scott Simon, Full Professor in the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at the University of Ottawa. His research interests in Taiwan, Japan, and Micronesia include Indigenous rights, the social and historical relations between these peoples of the Indo-Pacific, and onto-genesis amidst the entanglements of life.



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