University of Tokyo

Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has a long-standing partnership with the University of Tokyo in general and their Graduate School of Engineering in particular. Over the course of several years, the management at KTH has been working to establish a strategic partnership as part of the University’s objective of achieving more in-depth cooperation with a number of leading international universities. In conjunction with Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm University, KTH is a joint partner with the University of Tokyo.

University of Tokyo in brief

Founded in 1877, the University of Tokyo is Japan’s oldest national university. The University is situated on five different campuses in Tokyo, bringing together more than 30,000 students. The University conducts research and education in a range of subject areas, from economics and law to technology and science. The University of Tokyo is Japan’s highest ranking university and is among the top 50 in the world. The faculty boasts nine recipients of the Nobel-prize, five of whom have been awarded the prize since the year 2000. Thirteen of the University’s alumni are chief executive officers (CEO) at one of the world’s 500 largest companies, within which regard the University ranks second in the world, after Harvard University and ahead of Stanford University.

History of the partnership

Japan is a major power in the world of research, accounting for approximately 15% of the world’s research activities. As the largest recipient of Japan’s Ministry of Education’s funding for research within science and technology, the University of Tokyo holds a very central position within Japan’s university sector. Many of Japan’s professors and researchers have their background at the University of Tokyo. A strategically prioritised collaboration is expected to be beneficial to KTH in a variety of ways.

Conditions in Japan and Sweden are quite similar and the two countries are faced with similar future challenges: a developed economy, strong technology sector, high targets for environmental and security issues, and the problems presented by an ageing population. The Japanese state is currently investing considerable resources in the internationalisation of education and research in the country, with the aim of promoting 30 universities to leading international positions. The University of Tokyo’s objective as part of this investment is to identify ten universities for strategic partnerships. The combined partnership with KTH, KI and SU constitutes one of these 10 strategic partnerships. In July 2016, a Letter of Intent was signed by the four universities as a first step towards a more formalised collaboration. The development of the collaboration will take place within three broad fields:

  1. Research collaboration: Areas of interest for joint research activities will be identified. Existing contacts will be mapped. In September 2017, the first major workshop took place. The workshop on Active Ageing was devoted to the challenges presented by an ageing population. Researchers took part from different areas at the collaborating universities.
  2. Exchange of researchers and students: The exchange of researchers and students should be substantially increased. Obstacles and opportunities need to be identified.
  3. Faculty development: KTH sees that the development of e-learning and various globalisation processes is propelling the need for the development of tuition. Comparing and exchanging ideas with leading international universities is regarded as one of the components of KTH’s development work in this area.

The parnership’s steering group consists of Professor Peter Gudmundson of KTH, Professor Maria Masucci (Vice Chancellor for International Affairs at KI) and Professor Anders Karlhede (Dean at Stockholm University). The steering group also includes three administrators: Torkel Werge (of KTH’s Department for International Relations), Elisabeth Idermark (of Stockholm University’s Department of Research Support) and Lotta Lundqvist (of KI’s Faculty Office and International Relations).

Educational partnerships

KTH and the University of Tokyo have a considerably widespread scheme for student exchanges. Each year, KTH accepts 5-14 students from the University of Tokyo who study in Stockholm for one semester, and provides the same number of KTH students with the opportunity to study for one semester in Tokyo. This makes the University of Tokyo KTH’s biggest partner for student exchanges in Japan.

In addition to traditional student exchanges, students of mechanical engineering are given the chance to participate in Global Mechanical Engineering (GME), which is a collaborative project between École polytechnique federal de Lausanne (EPFL), KTH and the University of Tokyo.


KTH and the University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering also work together within the Deans’ Forum university network, which also includes such institutions as ETH Zürich, Imperial College London, UC Berkeley, MIT and École polytechnique. The primary purpose of this network is to develop joint research, to develop engineering courses and to collaborate with industry.

Find out more about the Deans’ Forum

Activities to develop the partnership

Call for applications for visits for research and/or teaching at University of Tokyo

Granted applicants who should be faculty of KTH will receive a standard support of 50 KSEK per month for visits between one and four months duration. Young researchers have priority. Seven staff-members were selected in the first year. Application for the second year, that is visits during academic year 2018/19, has just been published.

Applications should be submitted to Torkel Werge,, at latest on May 31st, 2018.

Call for research stays at UTokyo 2018/19 (pdf 133 kB)

Previous activities

  • September 2017: A workshop on the ageing population – Active Ageing – took place on September 20-22. The workshop was attended by representatives of KI-KTH-Stockholm University and the University of Tokyo. Close to 100 researchers from different disciplines met in Stockholm for a truly multi-disciplinary approach. Responsible from KTH was Professor Erik Lindahl and Torkel Werge from the Department for International Relations. Website for the Workshop on Active Ageing - Living longer and healthier in an ageing world
  • March 2017: Workshop in Tokyo to develop the exchange of researchers and students. Under the direction of Professor Peter Gudmundson, a group of eleven people will travel to Tokyo in order to identify common interests together with students and staff at the University of Tokyo with the aim of increasing exchanges between the educational institutions. The person responsible from KTH is lecturer Atsuto Maki.
  • July 2016: Lena Gumaelius – now the Dean of the ECE school – visited the University of Tokyo for the discussion of faculty development and for lectures on educational methods and gender equality policy at KTH.
  • June 2016: Seminar on the syllabus in Japanese for engineers with five members of the Deans’ Forum, including the University of Tokyo.
  • October 2015: KTH’s President Peter Gudmundson visited the University of Tokyo’s President Gonokami together with Professor Gustav Amberg and Torkel Werge of KTH’s Department for International Relations in order to discuss future forms of cooperation.
  • March 2015: Workshop at the University of Tokyo for faculty development. KTH was represented by lecturers Anna-Karin Högfeldt, Fredrik Lundell and Johan Fridell, together with Yoko Takau Drobin, who teaches Japanese and Japanese culture.
  • September 2014: Visit to KTH by 20 engineering students from the Master’s programme at the University of Tokyo. The visit was coordinated by Yoko Takau Drobin, who teaches Japanese and Japanese culture at KTH.
  • March 2014: Workshop at KTH in educational development. Professor Michael Handford from the School of Engineering led a group of young teachers in the discussion of educational methods with colleagues from KTH.


Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Jan 31, 2018