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US & Japan launch $110m AI partnerships

Universities in Japan and the US have announced two AI research partnerships as well as a new $11m exchange program, The Mineta Ambassadors Program.
April 16 2024
2 Min Read

The US and Japan have announced two new artificial intelligence research partnerships between four higher education institutions to be funded by combined private sector investment totalling $110 million.

The partnerships, between the University of Washington and the University of Tsukuba and between Carnegie Mellon University and Keio University, were announced during prime minister Kishida’s state visit to Washington D.C. on April 9.

“Today’s announcement will build on president Biden and prime minister Kishida’s commitment to advance US-Japan science and technology cooperation to develop a talented global workforce and strengthen economic security in both countries,” said US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo.

The Carnegie Mellon and Keio University partnership concentrates on multimodal and multilingual learning, AI for robots, life sciences and AI for scientific discovery.

“AI is already impacting every sector of our economy – and government leaders need to lean into its innovation to adapt to the rapidly changing technology market ethically and responsibly,” said Josh Shapiro, governor of Carnegie’s home state of Pennsylvania.

The University of Washington and University of Tsukuba partnership capitalises on the universities’ locations in science and technology hubs, focussing on the nexus between AI research and workforce development.

AI corporation NVIDIA and Amazon are each investing $25m in the collaborations, combined with funding from Arm and Softbank Group, Microsoft and a consortium of nine Japanese companies.

Last year, the US and Japan signed a set of university-corporate partnerships in quantum computing and semiconductor engineering, backed by $210m funding from IBM, Google and Micron.

President Biden and prime minister Kishida also announced this month a new $11m exchange program for high school and university students from the US and Japan.

The Mineta Ambassadors Program, as it was coined, was named after the first Japanese American member of the US congress, who made strides in strengthening ties between the two countries.

“People-to-people exchanges are the most effective way to develop the future stewards of the US-Japan relationship.

“People-to-people exchanges are the most effective way to develop the future stewards of the US-Japan relationship”

“We announce our commitment to increase student mobility … for US and Japanese high school and university students who will “map” the future of the relationship,” the leaders wrote in a joint statement.

MAP, which focuses on underserved communities, will be sponsored by Apple, The BlackRock Foundation and The Toshizo Watanabe Foundation.

Biden and Kishida emphasised “the need to build a diverse pipeline of future US-Japan experts” and build on existing exchange programs such as Fulbright Japan, the Mansfield Fellowship and the Japan Exchange and Teaching program.

In 2022/23 there were 16,054 Japanese students studying in the US, a 19% increase from the previous year, according to IIE Open Doors data.

In 2021/22, there were 678 US students studying in Japan, up from 124 the previous year.

Last year, prime minister Kishida reinvigorated the country’s three decades-long policy of internationalisation, announcing ambitious new targets to increase the number of international students in Japan to 400,000, and to send 500,000 Japanese students abroad by 2033.

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