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Photos: S. Rausch/ Y. Ando/ F. Hasenstab

Outstanding research in Cologne

Focus on Japan 

The University of Cologne fosters a long and lively exchange with Japan. Each year, many exchange students from renowned partner universities on the islands seek a place at the University of Cologne. But Japan is above all also a popular and traditionally loyal research partner. Whether strategic partnership, excellent research project or the appointment of outstanding scholars: the island country is an important partner in the University’s links to Asia.

A report by Svenja Rausch


Excellent new physics laboratory at the University of Cologne

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  • Renowned Professor Yoichi Ando from Osaka University in Tokio teaches and carries out his research on Physics at the University. Foto: Y. Ando
  • Ando's research group in Physics. Photo: Physikalisches Institut, Universität zu Köln

Professor Dr. Yoichi Ando from Osaka University is physics professor at the Institute of Physics II of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The appointment in 2015 of this leading scholar from Tokyo was a great success in the international competition for the brightest minds.

Ando is investigating the field of topological materials. The object of his research work is questions such as why copper conducts electricity, quite the contrary to glass, or why iron can be magnetized and used as a compass. In this area, researchers are constantly discovering new materials with new properties which will make it possible to build better machines and infrastructures in the future. Ando’s specialization is the investigation of very exotic types of material, which are referred to in expert circles as “topological insulators”. These are expected to revolutionize IT in the future. The University has built a completely new building for my research and upgraded our resources so that I have at my disposal excellent conditions which enable me to make an important contribution to the information technologies of tomorrow”,explains Professor Dr. Ando.

Strategic alliances in research projects

Dr. Junko Maruyama carries out her research for her research project at the Global South Studies Center. Photo: S. Rausch

The Global South Studies Center (GSSC) in Cologne is a partner renowned in Japan too for its contribution to African Studies, as young researcher Dr. Junko Maruyama of Kyoto University explains: “I am conducting research at the Center for African Area Studies of Kyoto University and currently spending three months here in Cologne at the GSSC, since with experts such as Professor Michael Bollig, Dr. Clemens Greiner, Professor Michaela  Pelican, and Professor Thomas Widlok the University of Cologne is extremely well positioned in the field of African Studies.” The researchers from Japan and Cologne are currently engaged in a research project acquired by Kyoto University on “Network formation for reconstructing the paradigm of African Area Studies in a globalized world”, together with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Cape Town in South Africa  as well as other partner universities in Africa. In order to advance research work together and not just exchange thoughts and ideas on paper and in numerous emails, young scholars will conduct their research work on site.  In this context, Clemens Greiner visited Kyoto to hold a lecture entitled “Overcoming divides: African Studies and the Global South Studies Center at the University of Cologne”.  After Dr. Maruyama, another scholar will come to Cologne for a professional and cultural exchange with local colleagues.


More than just an exchange: Global Network Partner Keio University

Keio University in Tokyo. Photo: Keio University

Alongside the Chinese Sun Yat-sen University as a partner university in the network of “Global Network Partners”, Keio University is the second Asian partner university and since 1982 an important partner in the international network. After the University of Tokyo, this private elite university is the island country’s most distinguished educational institution and also the oldest, having having offered education since 1890. As Global Network Partner, the University of Cologne in Germany is the most important partner university for Keio University. Exchange activities in the network include, for example, the Faculty Exchange Programme and the exchange of students, which has been taking place since 2010. In addition, an exchange of doctoral researchers in the field of law and the setting up of a double Masters programme in the area of business administration as well as closer cooperation in the field of dermatology in the framework of Collaborative Research Centre 829 have been agreed.

Keio Global Shaping History, Shaping Tomorrow. By courtesy of Keio University.


Students, researchers, and partners in Cologne

The University of Cologne is present on several student fairs in Japan over the year to attract students and young researchers. Here the UoC is represented at the European Higher Education Fair in Kyoto, right to left: Dr. Johannes Müller (University of Cologne International Office), Mayor of Kyoto Daisaku Kadokawa, Dr. Ursula Toyka (DAAD Tokyo), German Deputy Consul General Florian Jäger Photo: F. Hasenstab

Not only already existing and productive partnerships and projects are fostered. The International Office of the University of Cologne goes to great lengths to build up new relationships for the University in the area of research and teaching. In June 2016, the University had a stand at the European Higher Education Fair in Tokyo and Kyoto and was represented by Dr. Johannes Mueller, Head of the International Science Department at the International Office and responsible for partnerships with Japan, together with Frank Hasenstab, Japan and social media expert at the International Office. 



Photo: Privat

Fotos: F.Hasenstab