Since 2018, there has been an International Joint Lab at the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology at RUB, which was established within the framework of the Internal Joint Research Promotion Program of Osaka University. The Japanese research presence is conducting research here together with the German partners under the main topic "Structural analysis of the photosynthetic energy transduction for light-driven biohydrogen production by artificial cell".
The RUB Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology and the IPR of Osaka University officially signed a cooperation agreement in October 2017. It complements the cooperation between the two universities that has existed since 2010. In 2017, overall contacts with Osaka University intensified greatly and ended in a joint commitment. Prof. Dr. Uta Hohn, RUB's Vice Rector for Planning and Structure, reached an agreement with Prof. Dr. Yasushi Yagi, Vice President for Research, on the expansion of cooperations during her visit to Japan in September.
Under its university-wide cooperation agreement, RUB has five exchange places with Osaka University, which are in high demand. Students taking advantage of the exchange come from all subject areas. RUB also offers the LabExchange program to support research stays for Master's and Bachelor's students in order to promote student mobility and research-oriented learning and to enable students to develop intercultural skills. The targeted involvement of students in international research contexts is intended to initiate and consolidate lasting cooperation structures. In this context, the RUB research groups offer an eight-week exchange program with Osaka University in the field of protein biochemistry and structural biology. The block practical course is recognized with 15 CP for the M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees. It is also possible to sponsor Master and advanced Bachelor students from RUB partner universities, such as Osaka University. More details here.
Fuel cells can be used to efficiently utilize the energy content of hydrogen. Advances in electrode and redox polymer technology show that semi-artificial biofuel cells equipped with environmentally friendly biocatalysts (hydrogenases) can replace conventional chemical processes. By coupling them to flexible, enzyme-based consumer modules, not only electricity but also industrially relevant chemicals can be generated. To optimize these novel modules, knowledge of their microstructure is required. The Photobiotechnology Group at Ruhr University Bochum plans to establish a research laboratory at Osaka University's Institute of Protein Research, which will use the expertise there in state-of-the-art structure elucidation technologies to characterize and optimize biofuel cells. This project will establish a branch of the International Joint Lab in the field of hydrogen catalysis in Japan. To this end, infrastructural conditions for intensive networking of the groups with regard to their scientifically complementary methods and instruments are to be created in Osaka. The world's largest third-generation synchrotron as well as NMR and CryoEM equipment are available there. By using these technologies, German scientists can advance the development of biofuel cells at the highest level and develop cutting-edge technologies on the topic of "green hydrogen".
Since 2022, the scientific work of Prof. Happe, PD Dr. Hemschemeier and Prof. Dr. Nowaczyk in cooperation with Prof. Kurisu on the topic of sustainable hydrogen technology as affordable and clean energy has been funded between Europe and Japan within the European Interest Group CONCERT-Japan. The research funding is located in the joint project "Structure-based Metabolic Engineering of H2 Production by Algae (H2M)".