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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Research Overview

Innovation Activities and Regional Med-Tech Partnerships in Japan:

English, PDF (2 MB)

Technical Innovation and Research Collaboration / Clusters: Biomedical Engineering in Japan

 September 2016 - March 2022

Although Japan has been one of the leading markets for medical products, most medical devices are imported to the country. Addressing this circumstance, the Japanese government launched a national STI strategy mentioning biomedical engineering as one focus area to achieve a “healthy and active ageing society as a top-runner in the world” through “reinforcing industrial competitiveness in the areas of pharmaceuticals and medical devices”. Despite the decline in innovation activities since the 1990s, Japan currently experiences a rise of ikō renkei (med-tech partnerships) at the interface between academia, industry and hospitals. This development is strongly supported by the newly established Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and various prefectural governments. By employing a multiple-actor research perspective on (biomedical) research collaborations and regional clusters in Japan, this research aims at exploring the organisation of med-tech partnerships and content of innovation activities as well as their institutional and socioeconomic context. This research is divided into two sub-projects:

  • Biomedical Engineering in Japan: Innovation Governance and the institutional embeddedness of research collaborations
  • Innovation activities in regional med-tech clusters / partnerships: Between demographic change and economic revitalisation

Completed Projects

Humans and Devices in Medical Contexts in Japan (book project)


March 31, 2017
Humans & Machines in Medical Contexts: Case Studies from Japan


Susanne Brucksch (until March 2022)
Social Science
Innovation Studies, Science & Technology Studies (STS)