Published: 03-04-2024 09:47 | Updated: 03-04-2024 09:47

Exploring Research Spaces and Cultural Exchange: Insights from a Karolinska Institutet Visit

In January 2024, a delegation from the Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at the University of Tokyo had the privilege of visiting Karolinska Institutet. During this short but invaluable experience, they engaged with the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology's administrative staff, gaining insights into the administrative procedures and organizational structure.

We asked Yukari Iikura and Ami Iizuka what they thought about their visit "We usually work as University Research Administrators at the Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (IQB), The University of Tokyo (UTokyo). This time, we had the honor of visiting Karolinska Institutet (KI) to meet the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) administrative staff. They gave us an overview of KI its administrative organization, and the administrative procedures at the CMB, and we were able to exchange some opinions about the differences between the CMB and the IQB. It was a short but very valuable experience.

During our stay, we also had the opportunity to have a tour of the Biomedicum building. The glass-walled corridors, the spacious laboratories, the desks with a view, the offices shared by several departments, and the tight security were all impressive. IQB is currently renovating our main building to make it more functional. This visit gave us an idea of the large research spaces shared by several laboratories and the shared lounges on each floor. These made us rethink what an optimal environment for researchers should be, and whether there is any hardware support to encourage international exchange.

The Swedish "fika" culture was unfamiliar in Japan, but I found it to be a wonderful way to relax with coffee and sweets between work hours and an opportunity to socialize with others, says Ami Iizuka.

We felt that the culture of Swedish people valuing interaction with others may have led to initiatives such as sharing large spaces with several people, spacious lounges and many meeting spaces in the building.

We expect that exchanges between Karolinska Institutet and UTokyo under the LINK program will increase from now on. In fact, a program for short-term visits of students and researchers from UTokyo to Karolinska Institutet is planned for April this year. We would like to use this experience to create a framework for our collaboration".