Four new innovation partnerships have been signed today between New Zealand and Japanese entities including developing bio-fuels from microalgae, and AI and robotics research.
Hirojiren and Cawthron Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise Mazda's commitment to building a research and development partnership focused on biofuels from microalgae.
Hirojiren is a Hiroshima-based collaboration between the automotive industry, academia and government.
The University of Auckland and AIST have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance research capacity including AI, renewable energy, medical technologies and robotics.
AIST - the National Institute for Advance Science and Technology - is one of Japan's largest public funded research agencies.
AgResearch and Shiratori Pharma have entered into a joint research partnership to develop functional foods and health supplements based on an AgResearch discovered and owned probiotic bacterium.
Shiratori Pharma aims to have probiotic products in the market during 2020.
Meanwhile, Ngāi Tahu and Kataoka Corporation/Sankou Foods have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to turn New Zealand's invasive Undaria seaweed into a high-value food product for Japan.
This partnership will contribute to conservation efforts and generate jobs in the East Otago region.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the signing of the four partnerships after speaking at a business luncheon in Tokyo aimed at increasing investment in New Zealand.
The event was hosted by the Japan New Zealand Business Council and the Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
"Japan and New Zealand have a long history of research driven collaboration where innovators leverage each other's complementary capabilities," Ms Ardern said.
New Zealand and Japan are economically linked, she said, with two-way trade between the countries valued at $8.8 billion for the year to June.
"Today's announcements allow us to further share our respective innovative expertise to the benefit of both countries. These sorts of partnerships will help to grow jobs and our economy for the benefit of all New Zealanders," Ms Ardern said.
"The solutions and technologies New Zealand and Japanese innovators are working on have the potential to have significant global impact."
The four partnerships in biofuels, renewable energy, artificial intelligence, medical technologies and robotics will help with the transition to a clean and modern economy, she said.
"These partnerships all have the potential to deliver global solutions and in the process bring our science and business communities closer together," the prime minister said.