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My second international study visit and, at the same time, my first research internship were focused on establishing research cooperation by jointly conducting pilot research with researchers from the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) at Kyushu University in southern Japan (Fukuoka Prefecture).

This research’s main objective was to evaluate the impact of Fukuoka and Yamanashi prefecture policies, strategies, and actions on the regional energy transition in the energy and transport sectors in the context of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The supervisor of the internship was prof. Andrew Chapman, whose knowledge and experience enabled me to carry out my research tasks, including:

  • review and analysis of prefectural policies, strategies, and actions for the development of innovative clusters and infrastructural projects related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the years 2000-2022,
  • case studies of cluster structures and infrastructural projects in Fukuoka and Yamanashi prefecture, including Kitakyushu Eco-Town, HYDROGENIUS research institute, and the business incubator and R&D center of the International Research Center for Hydrogen Energy,
  • and substantive methodological consultations on future joint activities with researchers at Kyushu University, as well as with representatives of public institutions and local innovative hydrogen clusters (i.e., Hy-Life Project and Yamanashi Fuel Cell Valley).

I am incredibly grateful to my office colleagues who have continuously supported me in my activities, especially Dr. Tomoaki Nakaishi, Mrs. Maki Warren, and Mrs. Takako Mochida.

As a result of the research internship and visit, I identified local limitations and opportunities that might affect the implementation of a long-term research project (described and submitted as a research concept under the NCN PRELUDIUM competition in June 2022, which is to ensure long-term cooperation with I2CNER).

The visit to Japan was also an opportunity for cultural exchange and a time to discover cultural differences intensively. An invaluable guide around Tokyo (during a one-day stay on the way to Yamanashi Fuel Cell Valley) was my academic TopMinds mentor prof. Beata Bochorodycz, who at the same time carried out the annual scholarship of the Japan Foundation at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. During my stay in the Yokohama area, I met my colleague from the Department of International Economic Relations, Dr. Szymon Mazurek, whose experience from previous visits to Japan also allowed me to understand the cultural context of the research better.

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