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Kyoto Symposium will explore ways to prevent natural disasters

Centre news

Building better infrastructure to withstand earthquakes will be the core topic of discussion during a top-level international conference at Leeds next week.

The University of Leeds-Kyoto University International Symposium: Advanced Engineering for Natural Disaster Identification, Mitigation, Prevention and Response, takes place on campus between 17 and 19 September.

Both universities are part of the British Council-managed Research and Education Network for Knowledge Economy Initiatives (RENKEI) network for UK/Japan collaboration.

This strategic partnership has been enhanced during the past 12 months through a visit to Japan by Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International, Professor Hai-Sui Yu (pictured). Dr Raul Fuentes was part of the delegation, which included academics from Civil Engineering and Robotics, who visited the Universities of Kyoto and Nagoya – both RENKEI members – to further existing links in the field of earthquake engineering, and to develop new partnerships in the field of Robotics.

Dr Fuentes was invited to apply for an internal competition at Kyoto, and the successful result is the Leeds-Kyoto International Symposium.

Strategic international partnership

Dr Fuentes said: “This project will further cement the emerging strategic partnership between the Universities of Leeds and Kyoto in a field of research that is vital, not only for Japan, but in a number of countries around the world.

“This symposium will provide a forum for researchers from the UK, Europe and Japan to come together to develop solutions to the challenge of natural disaster resilience. This cross-disciplinary and international approach gives us the best possible chance of developing solutions to one of the world’s most pressing global challenges: resilience to natural disasters.

“We want this symposium to lead to academic outputs, including co-authored journal articles and applications to funding bodies, including the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Beyond the specific academic benefits, we will be able to demonstrate the value of international research collaboration and the variety of ways this can be sustained.”

The University of Kyoto is ranked joint 74th in the world and number one in Japan, according to the Times Higher Education magazine, and is 35th in the QS World University Rankings 2019. It is one of the world’s top research powerhouses and has committed a large delegation of at least 20 people to visit Leeds.

Professor Yu will deliver a welcome speech to open the symposium.

He said: “Kyoto is a very highly-ranked, world-class university and both institutions are committed to further developing this strategic partnership.”