Japan’s Shimizu Corporation partnering with Finland’s University of Oulu to drive innovation that will make society more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable

The University of Oulu in Finland and Japan’s leading Architectural/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C) company – Shimizu Corporation – have agreed to partnering and jointly exploring new possibilities emerging through the evolution of information and communication technologies including 5G/6G. Both parties agreed to start with a co-funded Idea Contest focused on exploring new possibilities using 5G/6G technologies in making society more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable.

The Idea Contest participants – primarily the students from the University of Oulu – are expected to understand current challenges and future opportunities of 5G/6G, create ideas showing paths to the future of learning, working, healthy lifestyle, and beyond. The participants are also expected to co-create prototypes of products and services that could be applicable in the near future. This industry-academia collaboration is also expected to contribute to the areas of education, energy, logistics, and personal well-being. Both parties – the University of Oulu and Shimizu Corporation – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Tokyo on August 31, 2022.

Wireless communication and disruptive technologies beyond 5G/6G are expected to come into play around 2030, revolutionizing many fields of business, including A/E/C industry. Many researchers and practitioners across the globe are exploring new possibilities in both 5G/6G related technologies and implementation of such evolutionary technologies in practices well in advance. In this collaboration, the brightest minds will be encouraged to imagine a better world and generate important and world-changing ideas that can help making better future for all. This Idea Contest will be conducted in conjunction with a radical innovation course uniquely designed by the University of Oulu. The Idea Contest entries will be judged by both parties, with the cooperation of Professor Akihiro Nakao of the Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. And the winner(s) of the Idea Contest will be invited to Japan in July 2023 with the support from the Business Innovation Unit (BIU) of Shimizu Corporation and potential partners in Japan and beyond where they will share and demonstrate their innovative ideas and prototypes.

“As part of the international science community, we produce new science-based solutions and train future pioneers to build a more sustainable and intelligent world. We have high expectations for a fruitful, long-term collaboration with Japan’s leading A/E/C company, Shimizu Corporation”, says Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu.

Recently, Japan and Finland have intensified collaboration in ICT. Finland has been at the forefront of 6G research and development globally since the world’s first large-scale 6G research program 6G Flagship was launched at the University of Oulu in 2018.

“The world is facing many great challenges, and the A/E/C industry must be part of the solution. As we work towards a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable society, we are thrilled to be harnessing the power of the talented minds at the University of Oulu and beyond, in our ongoing efforts to co-create value for all members of the community”, says Kazuyuki Inoue, President of Shimizu Corporation.

The University of Oulu – Shimizu Corporation Idea Contest and the radical innovation courses will be managed by the Industrial Engineering and Management Research Unit at the University of Oulu led by Professor Harri Haapasalo. The students will be able to utilize Smart Campus Innovation engines and 5G/6G resources. They will be encouraged to engage in multidisciplinary activities guided by their mentors from both industry and academia. The participants are expected to co-create prototypes which could be realized in both the near and longer term (3 to 5 years).

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