ECEU Good Practice Award
mundus eacea jasso


Embedded within well-established long-term research collaborations, the Ausmip, Ausmip R&DaR and AUSMIP+ programs consist of  13 partners and 11 associated partners in the EU, Japan, Korea, Australia and New-Zealand.

The bilateral EU-Japan Ausmip and Ausmip R&DaR programs involve 8-month exchanges at the master level, and short-term faculty exchanges, AUSMIP+ is an Erasmus Mundus multilateral partnership enabling long-term mobility (6 to 12 months) of PhD's, Post-Doc's and faculty, aims to stimulate innovative research and the transfer of know-how and expertise in the field of Urban Planning and Architecture in a context of global demographic transitions.

Ausmip, a short overview.


The different Ausmip partnerships long-term ambitions are to develop into global incubators, creating pedagogic excellence, new fields of expertise and know-how crossing the boundaries of conventional research focusing on practicability and entrepreneurship.
The 24 partners cover a broad range of expertise and research interests; exchanges are primarily envisioned as complementary to the established fields of know-how, research and expertise available at the home-institutions.

Mobility & Timeframe

The EACEA-ICI-JASSO Ausmip program ran from 2002 till 2009, and generated about 260 master exchanges, it is extended through the Ausmip R&DaR program until 2013, involving 96 long-term student and 24 short-term exchanges for faculty.
The Erasmus Mundus AUSMIP+ runs from July 2011 till July 2015 and includes 91 exchanges from the EU to Japan, Korea, Australia and New-Zealand, and 49 exchanges from those countries to the EU.

The making of Ausmip

The Ausmip, Ausmip R&DaR and AUSMIP+ programs find their roots in an impressive number of preceding exchanges, research, and projects, mainly related to the University of Tokyo.
Covering a wide spectrum of research within the disciplines of Architecture, Urban Planning and related specialized scientific fields, the different areas of specialization of all the main European and Japanese coordinators of this program were formally joined a first time in 2002, when the EACEA-ICI and JASSO launched a first pilot project for a European-Japanese Mobility Program, based on the experience of the Erasmus program.

Marc BOURDIER, of the Paris La Villette school of Architecture who lived for many years in Japan and obtained his PhD at the University of Tokyo immediately contacted his Japanese counterpart prof. MATSUMURA at the GSE, or Graduate school of Engineering at Tokyo University to see if it was possible to jointly submit an application.
Though already many exchanges existed between La Villette and Japan and the GSE and Europe, the ICI-JASSO framework offered a unique chance to organize a structured exchanged with sufficient funding and this for a first time on the master level.
Soon after, the Paris-Tokyo network was expanded through incorporating Thomas BOCK and Prof KIKUCHI and ANDO from the Technical University of Munich, Kyushu University and Chiba University, a partnership was in the making...
However, simultaneously OHNO Hidetoshi and Bruno PEETERS, who had just returned from Japan after a research at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Frontier Science (GSFS) were equally interested to submit an application and looking which partners to incorporate.
When, at a faculty meeting in Tokyo both Prof. MATSUMURA and OHNO discussed their interest, the obvious conclusion was to join both networks. A meeting followed in Paris between Marc BOURDIER and Bruno PEETERS, excitement over this unique pedagogic experiment was certainly mutual,... the Ausmip Partnership was born. Coordinated by Marc BOURDIER and prof. MATSUMURA, the Ausmip partnership successfully secured funding for a bilateral exchange of 2 years, involving 40 European and 40 Japanese master students.

A unique pedagogic experiment

The first Ausmip programme focused on the exchange of Master students, with as the main pedagogic theme alternative Architectural & Urban Design strategies within the changing urban contexts of both Japan and the EU, generated by rapidly changing demographics.

Addressing those issues, roughly speaking three important strands of research methodology and design education were represented within the first Ausmip network. On the one hand, the more conventional strands originating from the former Uchida laboratory at the Graduate School of Engineering, incorporating both an engineering and humanities tradition covering a wide range of specializations, each related to 'Building Systems'.

Be it in terms of Historic Social Housing Planning (Marc Bourdier), Building Robotics, (Thomas Bock), or Building Systems Design (Matsumura Shuichi & Ando Masao), each of those Ausmip partners' research was embedded within a more traditional scientific methodology.

Also the specializations of both Prof. Ando, now at Chiba University (Rational Building Systems), and Prof. Kikuchi, now at Kyushu University (Architectural History), both graduates from the University of Tokyo, can be situated within this tradition.

On the other hand, the Ohno Laboratory has a very strong inclination towards research generated design, often referred to as 'Design by Research', an approach also shared with Bruno Peeters, now at the Department of Architecture in Brussels.

Interestingly, these different research 'strands' still represent quite a distinctive rift among many departments teaching Architecture or Urban planning, usually originating from either engineering oriented faculties or departments devolving from a Beaux Arts, or design oriented tradition.

Origins Ausmip

The Ausmip network or 'loop'

Ausmip's diversity of partners, educational systems and research approaches evolved into its most successful and innovative feature. It allows Master students of both the EU and Japan to complete their masters not only through participating to the main research theme of the program, but also by experiencing different modes of research and pedagogy applied at each department.

Within these different frameworks and educational configurations, typically Japanese students are without exception fully integrated in the EU Master 1 design studios. Students were thus immersed in a pedagogic and educational environment deeply ingrained by local research and expertise, resulting in many cross-over dissertations on the Japanese side.

In Japan, EU Master 2 students were incorporated within the Japanese Kenkyushitsu, or research laboratories, where, apart from participation to the design-studios they were also engaged in research.

The continued master program exchanges, now ongoing for almost a decade generated a very high level of mutual trust, and appreciation of each Department's strengths and academic potentials.

Whereas at the beginning of the Ausmip Masters' exchange, the partnership was characterized by two strong clusters, originating at the 'Uchida' and 'Ohno' laboratories, with Lisbon as a 'third' party, now Ausmip truly functions as an exchange 'loop', efficiently distributing students among the partners depending on their research skills and interests.


Ausmip, a long-term commitment

Though subsidized for only two years by the EACEA the Ausmip exchange program was continued between all partners unilaterally funded by JASSO, while both the Centers of Excellence of Tokyo and Kyushu University generously supported a limited of European students to come to Japan.

Still counting...

To this date, this resulted in an impressive number of over 275 exchanged master students, evenly distributed between all departments, each concluding their Masters for 7 to 8 months in either Europe or Japan.

To many EU students such exposure to high level research on the master level is quite a novelty, stimulating many EU students to continue their careers into research, which triggered to advance the Ausmip partnership into AUSMIP+.
Within this perspective, an Erasmus Mundus application was first discussed between the Ausmip partners in Lisbon in 2005, however at that time, nor the Mundus programs, nor the partnership were adapted or ready for such a next step. Then, in 2009, the Ausmip master program was renewed, now under the acronym Ausmip R&DaR, introducing many challenging features, further intensifying the bonds and institutional collaborations between the partners, secured by a three year funding by the AECEA-ICI and JASSO.