Trade mission to Asia sparks new interest in research collaborations with Princeton

Written by
Daniel Day for Princeton Research/CEFR
Nov. 14, 2023

Trade mission to Asia sparks new interest in research collaborations with Princeton

      Representatives of Princeton University spent more than a week traveling in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan on a New Jersey economic development trade mission led by Gov. Phil Murphy, strengthening ties and seeking new research collaborations with companies on the other side of the globe.

      Back home, Princeton officials are already arranging visits to campus from six of the companies that they visited or whose representatives they met during the journey.

      “In order to help solve the greatest societal challenges, we must directly engage with the regional, national and global communities,” said Craig Arnold, Princeton’s vice dean for innovation.

       One of the highlights of the trip was Princeton agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with Seoul-based CJ Corp. to explore potential research collaborations in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and computer and information sciences.

        Arnold, who is also the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton, signed the agreement with Lee Chi-hoon, the chief digital officer and head of CJ AI Center for CJ Corp. Murphy signed as a witness.

Gov. Murphy and Princeton Vice Dean for Innovation Craig Arnold pose for a photo with top officials from CJ Corp.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (left) and Princeton Vice Dean for Innovation Craig Arnold (center right) pose with CJ Corp. Chief Digital Officer and Head of CJ AI Center Lee Chi-hoon (center left) and the chairman of CJ Group, Sohn Kyung-Shik, after the company and university signed a memorandum of understanding for research. (Photo courtesy of CJ Corp.)



        Arnold called the trade mission “an excellent opportunity for the state of New Jersey, and Princeton specifically, to engage more broadly with the global research and innovation community, creating new opportunities for economic development in our region and around the world.

     “Today, in corporate and university laboratories throughout the state, we are developing ways to solve critical problems and to improve the lives of people in New Jersey and around the world,” Arnold said. “This outreach to Asia led by Gov. Murphy will build bridges strengthening collaborations and creating new partnerships for the mutual benefit of all.”

     The trip, from Oct. 14-22, was organized by the non-profit economic development agency Choose New Jersey.

     Besides Arnold, representing Princeton were Coleen Burrus, executive director of Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations (CEFR), and Sacha Patera, senior associate director of CEFR.

      Burrus had previously accompanied Murphy and New Jersey delegations on trade missions to India, Israel and Ireland. On the Asia trip, Burrus and Patera visited Toyota, IHI, Furakawa Electric and other companies plus the University of Tokyo, one of Princeton’s strategic global research partners.

     “These trips are so beneficial in letting international companies know that Princeton’s faculty members are eager to collaborate,” Burrus said. “We look forward to hosting many international visitors on campus over the coming months.

     “The trade missions,” Burrus added, “are proof that Princeton is committed to doing its part to drive expansion of the New Jersey innovation ecosystem. We’re grateful for the leadership of Gov. Murphy and our colleagues at Choose New Jersey.”

     At the end of the trip, a reporter from ROI NJ asked Murphy for his biggest takeaway from the trade mission. Murphy said the state’s education system, feeding a pipeline of educated workers, got the biggest reaction.

     “Unquestionably, the sector that resonated the most was education, the quality of our workforce and our workforce pipeline,” Murphy said. “Talent dwarfed everything else. That isn’t to say that other stuff wasn’t important, but it wasn’t even close.

     “We got that everywhere.”