Aiming at Developing Students with “Intellectual Toughness” by a World Top-level Education and Research
President Tetsuo Asano
Graduate Schools as Foundations of an Affluent Society
Creation of a truly affluent society requires competent people with high levels of education and knowledge in science and technology. In other words, facing an unprecedented scale of changes today, we need competent leaders capable of solving new problems and creating new values for the development of the society. Graduate schools are expected to play a core role in developing such competent young people. JAIST was established more than a quarter century ago as an institute specializing in advanced graduate education and research, and it has continuously dealt with newly emerging problems caused by rapid changes in the society.
What is needed to cope with unknown problems is an ability to formulate new knowledge based on a wide range of basic knowledge. At the graduate-level education, it becomes particularly important for students to be able to apply methodologies in one academic field to other fields. Reflecting such needs, JAIST encourages students to be specialized in more than one field of study by combining the three schools into one to overcome barriers among them. JAIST aims at becoming a world top-level center of excellence in education and research and contributing to the development of our nation and the world through production of excellent students capable of meeting the needs of the time with broader perspective and knowledge.
World-class Advanced Research Activities
JAIST has carried out world-class research activities, taking advantage of our top-class faculty members and research facilities and equipment such as cutting edge IT technologies. Those activities have concretely resulted in various positive outcomes including adoption and execution of advanced research projects with competitive funds and grants from the government and other organizations. JAIST has always been among top universities in Japan in terms of the number and amount of funds of cooperative and contracted research per faculty member. To develop its excellence further, JAIST has built top-level research centers called Excellent Cores to carry out effective and intensive investment in research.
Environment of Diversity
At JAIST, students have great opportunities to develop themselves by experiencing diverse ideas, cultures and values that consist of a variety of students including those with job experiences, those with a background of researchers at industries and those from many other countries. Holding about 40 percent of students from different corners of the world activates interactions among students that help them acquire globalized senses and language proficiency. Students can enjoy and learn from diversity on campus as effectively as in the case of studying abroad. This feature is a JAIST advantage.
Developing Students with Intellectual Toughness
Intellectual toughness, in short, is a power of challenge to seek for much broader experience and knowledge. It also requires an ability of coping with any unknown situation and that of communicating with others regardless of any difference in cultural backgrounds. Intellectual toughness necessitates a strong will power not to give up in difficult situations too. Being a graduate institute without undergraduate program, all the JAIST students are from other universities like Japanese students from all over Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa and international students from 28 countries. This diversity provides an ideal environment for our students to develop their intellectual toughness.
Importance to Initiate Some Change
To become a matured scientist or engineer, it is important to initiate some change intentionally, which is also related to intellectual toughness. Whatever major students might have pursued, it is very important for them to expand their research interest beyond their specialized field. JAIST consists of three schools, two of which focus on fields of information science and materials science and the other on a new field of knowledge science. JAIST welcomes students who wish to challenge an additional field of study. The entrance examination takes a form of a 30-minute interview examination. We have rich selections of introductory courses for such students and our quarter system works in their favor enabling them to obtain necessary foundations in the new field in a relatively short time. Being familiar with more than one research area provides students a wider intellectual perspective and leads them to truly innovative ideas. Real innovations occur more often when accumulated methods in one research area are applied to a problem in another area than when researchers cling to one area all the time.
Promoting Industrial Collaboration
United Kingdom is one of the most successful countries in industry collaboration and Oxford and Cambridge are the leading universities in its collaboration. These universities are ranked in the first and second in the world ranking while heavily committing to promoting industrial collaboration. JAIST directs its efforts in activating industrial collaboration by adopting needs-oriented research. We also invite researchers as visiting professors from industries to our master students’ mid-term presentations and gain industrial perspectives to enhance student learning. We also organize an annual event called “Matching Hub” to provide an opportunity for both companies and universities to match their needs and seeds for new products and projects.
Education for Working Professionals
JAIST offers specialized education programs to working professionals and researchers to advance their carriers. The Tokyo Satellite is centering on students of working professionals and located at a convenient location, the vicinity of Shinagawa station. Many working professionals are taking programs of MOT (Management of Technology), and MOS (Management of Service), MSS (Medical Service Science). We also support exchanges between working professionals in Tokyo and Japanese and international students in Ishikawa.
We will keep enhancing the education for working professionals to develop world leaders in the field of science and technology, too.