Researchers attend RENKEI Winter School

Prof James Cooper, Dr. Sharon Zytynska, Dr Yuan Shi, Mr Mohammad Meidiansyah at the Renkei Winter School

From l to r: Prof James Cooper, Dr Sharon Zytynska, Dr Yuan Shi, Mr Mohammad Meidiansyah

University of Liverpool researchers attended a special climate-focused Winter School at Kyoto University, Japan as part of the Japan-UK Research and Education Network for Knowledge Economy Initiatives (RENKEI) 10th anniversary.

The RENKEI network is a British Council funded partnership between 12 leading research-intensive universities in Japan and the UK that aims to further knowledge exchange and research collaboration between the two nations.

The week-long Winter School featured workshops, presentations and posters to inspire and connect researchers, in particular early career researchers (ECRs), and to support collaborative opportunities in order to address the global research challenge of climate resilience.

Four researchers from the University, including one PhD student, participated in the RENKEI Winter School.

Dr Yuan Shi (pictured below), from the University’s Department of Geography and Planning, attended as one of the RENKEI Anniversary Climate Adaptation & Resilience Early Career Researcher Fellowships.

He said: “It was great to have the chance to have conversations with global scholars in the broader and interdisciplinary context. The 5-day programme was really intensive and fruitful. A total of five key themes have been covered by a comprehensive array of activities, including keynote lectures, presentations and group discussions among ECRs in multiple sessions. Through these activities, I established several solid and promising collaborative research plans with scholars from Universities in Japan and other Universities in the UK.”

Mr Mohammad Meidiansyah (below) is a PhD student with the University’s Department of Geography & Planning, His area of research is participatory budgeting mechanisms at the village level to increase rural climate resilience.

Attending the RENKEI Winter School he met other climate adaptation and mitigation experts from Japan and the United Kingdom as well as learning more about other areas of academic research and connecting with multidisciplinary colleagues from several universities.

Mr Mohammad Meidiansyah standing by a poster at RENKEI Wner school

Dr Sharon Zytynska, from the University’s Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, was a mentor to ECRs from universities in Japan.

She said: “As a terrestrial community ecologist (soils, plants, insects) my work aligns to many issues relating to climate change adaptation. The RENKEI workshop allowed me to meet a great cohort of ECRs and mentors from very different disciplines and discuss how our work can complement one another’s. The week in Kyoto allowed for some stimulating discussions set in a beautiful city with time to learn about Japanese culture (and sample the wonderful food). Initial ideas are hopefully developing into fruitful collaborations and funding proposals, linking my crop protection work with economists and geographers.”

Professor James Cooper, Director of PGR in the University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, added: “The Winter School in Kyoto was a fitting way to celebrate 10 years of thehighly successful RENKEI network. It brought together early career researchers, with the support of RENKEI network mentors, to develop new collaborations to address the global research challenge of climate resilience.

“I was very pleased that Liverpool was successful in securing British Council funding for a project on sustainable agricultural development, bringing together expertise in climate-related machine-learning, financial analysis and agriculture from UK and Japan. The highlights were understanding how Japan is tackling the climate crisis, seeing the ECR’s flourish and come together to produce great projects, and of course, experiencing the fantastic culture and hospitality of Japan.”

For more details about RENKEI ( )

For funding opportunities with collaborations in Japan (Postdoctoral Fellowships for Research in Japan (Short-term Program) | Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (

For the interesting of international collaboration with Universities in Japan please contact Dr Xiaofeng Wu @ (