The e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) was formally inaugurated on the 28th June 2012. Today, exactly one year since the Program was launched thanks to the will and enthusiasm of everyone involved, I would like to once again sincerely thank each and every one of our member institutions.
The concept of the e-ASIA JRP was born in 2011 as a scheme for multilateral joint research in South-East Asia. Based on a philosophy of innovation, it was envisioned as a mechanism for equal partnership towards the resolution of shared challenges and development of young researcher potential. In the 2 years since that time, our 11 member institutions representing 10 countries have been highly active in supporting joint research and holding several events to promote researcher exchange. In the past year since the inauguration, as well as holding several symposia and workshops, calls for joint research proposals have also been launched in the prioritised cooperation fields of 'Nanotechnology and Materials', 'Biomass and Plant Sciences' and 'Infectious Diseases', and several selected projects are already receiving our support.
There are still so many global challenges that we must resolve, and I am certain that our cooperative endevours to tackle such problems will lead to prosperity for our region. As the e-ASIA JRP enters its second year and we once again appreciate its importance, I fully expect that we will continue to increase our membership and to engage in discussion to further improve the Program. Moreover, Japan hopes to contribute significantly to the realisation of concrete research outcomes from the e-ASIA JRP.
In recent years, Asian countries have boasted blooming populations and vigorous economic activity accompanying a trend of rapid urbanization, and have thereby become a driving force for growth central to development of the global economy. However, in order to sustainably maintain that growth, it is essential that we resolve common regional challenges, such as those presented by infectious diseases, and cooperation in science and technology for that purpose is becoming much more important. Against this background of tremendous growth and development in Asia, Japan will continue to play a leading role in various fields, not only economically but also in terms of scientific, technological, cultural and personal exchange.
In this context, the e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) is currently celebrating its 1 year anniversary since it was inaugurated with the intention to spark innovation, to raise the level of science and technology potential, and to foster young research talent in the region. Once again, we would like to sincerely thank all of the member institutions for their valuable support to this endeavor.
To raise the potential for science and technology in the region, it is essential that we nurture the development of the young researchers who will lead efforts for science and technology innovation in the future. For that purpose, Japan is now actively promoting programs to attract students from Asia and further afield. Within the e-ASIA JRP also, a special framework for awarding Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarships has been set up to support such human resource development.
In order to further increase the appeal of the e-ASIA JRP in the future, in addition to expanding our membership it is vital that we continue to support actual research activities as much as possible. In that respect, Japan also hopes to make a significant contribution to the achievement of research results in the e-ASIA JRP that will lead to innovation.