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The University of Tokyo: leader in advancing innovation

Three collaborative platforms—a Center for Innovation (COI), a tripartite industry-academia group (DUCR, TLO and UTEC) and the Translational Research Initiative (TRI)—showcase the University of Tokyo’s commitment to the development and commercialization of new healthcare technologies. To download the full article, please sign in.

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The University of Tokyo

In Japan, the national universities, including the University of Tokyo, have long been at the forefront of scientific and technological research, but it was only with the passage of the National University Incorporation Law, in 2003, and the granting of independence to the national universities, in 2004, that the universities started developing strategic approaches to maximize the returns on their research investments. With great freedom and control over their intellectual capital also came increased pressure and opportunity for the universities to boost their role in shaping technological development through all sorts of collaborations with industry partners. The University of Tokyo was quick in setting itself apart by establishing a technology-transfer organization in 1998 and then University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC), a venture capital fund that invests in the university’s startups, in 2004 (the firm currently manages assets with a combined value of $250 million). Both organizations are headquartered at the University of Tokyo and work together with the Division of University Corporate Relations . But in addition to getting directly involved in advancing innovation through direct funding, the University of Tokyo has become a catalyst for early collaborations between academics and industry, as exemplified by its Translational Research Initiative (TRI), an interdisciplinary organization that facilitates drug development and is a key player in large, multicollaborator, long-term national research efforts such as the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Center of Innovation (COI) program, which brings together industry and academia to conduct challenging and high-risk basic research that is expected to lead to commercialization within 10 years. The University of Tokyo is committed to advancing innovation at all levels and offers a broad spectrum of opportunities for collaboration.