Associate Professor, Division of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Professor Patchell is a two-time recipient of the Japan Foundation Fellowship. Both in 1989-90 and 1994-95, he was based out of Kyoto but travelled throughout Japan for both research and leisure.
On my first fellowship, as a Ph.D. student, I investigated interfirm relations in the Japanese robot industry. On the second, I looked at the competition and cooperation among firms and suppliers in the evolving electric vehicle industry and also looked at the co-evolution between large pre-fabricated home builders like Daiwa and small local contractors. Investigating Japanese interfirm relations gave me a deep understanding of the balance between competition and cooperation that I have extended to other industry sectors and geographies.
The fellowships have been among the most important rungs on my career ladder. The first fellowship enabled me to extend my research beyond what I would have been able to do on my Monbusho scholarship. The second, gained after taking a university position, enabled me to deepen my research base and broaden my knowledge of Japan.
I was very fortunate to take both my fellowships in Kyoto, a city that allows you to live through the rich texture of dozens of generations. I was more fortunate to be mentored by ASANUMA Banri of Kyoto’s economics department and to live with a very special family for a couple of years. Their generosity and love are my most indelible link to Japan.
The Japan Foundation Fellowship is a very special opportunity because of the confidence it places in the scholar and the latitude it gives scholars to pursue their projects. With high expectations, but few shackles, a scholar can use it to generate their best ideas and research.