Caption: In November 2007 in Tsukuba, Japan, the President of the Japanese «National Institute for Materials Science» (NIMS) Teruo Kishi (left) und Empa-Director Louis Schlapbach signed a formal «Collaborative Agreement» for shared research projects.
Shaking hands, signing documents and smiling into the camera these are some of the recurring regular duties of Empa-Director Louis Schlapbach. But these are, as the director stressed, pleasant obligations, especially when done on the occasion of entering into cooperation agreements with renowned research establishments. In the past few months there were several such «celebrations».
End of October of last year, Empa-Director Schlapbach undertook a «short-sabbatical» at the Japanese «National Institute for Materials Science» (NIMS). There, the physicist and nano-expert wanted to breathe again for one month «laboratory air» – and at the same time explore possibilities for cooperation between the two materials research institutes. The result of this visit is at hand: a formal «Collaborative Agreement Empa – NIMS», signed ceremoniously by NIMS-President Teruo Kishi und Louis Schlapbach. Both institutions plan a more intensive cooperation in the future by performing shared research projects in the area of materials science, exchange of researchers and a shared use of research facilities and equipment.
Learning from each other on an international level
«Our goal is to learn from each other», stated Schlapbach as he was named to membership on the «NIMS Advisory Board» – an international advisory committee similar to Empa’s Research Commission of which NIMS-President Kishi is also a member. Only through an intensive exchange with the best experts worldwide, according to the Empa-Director, can specialized knowledge and know-how enable Empa as well as NIMS to maintain their «world class competitiveness».
Empa also established new partnerships in Switzerland with the universities of Zuerich and Berne. «A few years ago, we started to enlarge our research activities, and carried out common projects with the University of Basel. We would like to strengthen these and other cooperative efforts with other universities in the future», said Louis Schlapbach.