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Vision and Overview


At the URA Station we engage in activities with the mission of a “URA Station that leads Hokkaido University” in line with our university president’s vision of creating a “Shining a Light from Hokkaido Upon the World.” In addition to strengthening our research capabilities, the URA Station at Hokkaido University places importance on the planning, proposing, and implementing of initiatives that contribute to the administration of the university.

We initially developed our vision for 2050 and then worked back to create our vision for 2030. All members of the URA Station are working to achieve the following three operational goals.

  1. Serving as a hub for the university’s research information: knowledge of all research activities at the university
  2. Strengthening our capacity to gather information outside the university: knowledge of research trends elsewhere in Japan and overseas
  3. Promoting collaboration with local governments in Hokkaido: knowledge of the issues and needs of local governments

Through the “chemical reactions” that URAs generate by taking advantage of the knowledge and experience of individuals and teams, the URA Station promotes collaboration with researchers at Hokkaido University, elsewhere in Japan and overseas; proposes new projects; collaborates with local governments; and recommends application for appropriate competitive funds. Underpinning these activities are the four basic philosophies of Hokkaido University: frontier spirit, global perspectives, all-round education, and practical learning. We at the URA Station persevere to achieve our vision while cherishing the DNA that brought about the foundation of Sapporo Agricultural College, the forerunner of Hokkaido University, and upholding that lofty ambition.

We endeavor to strengthen the brand power of Hokkaido University, which attracts researchers brimming with the frontier spirit with its vast research (and practical learning) opportunities.

As the only comprehensive university in Hokkaido, we endeavor to realize the university president’s vision of creating a “one-of-a-kind university shining a light from Hokkaido upon the world” by proposing and implementing solutions to problems facing local governments in Hokkaido, an “advanced-in-challenges” region, and promoting human resource development through collaborative initiatives.

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Overview of the URA Station

The Hokkaido University URA Station comprises a body of experts in research administration and business management tasked with strategic planning and practical enhancement of the research capabilities at the university. University research administrators (URAs) with advanced levels of expertise are engaged in a wide variety of activities to enhance the overall strengths of the university, including research capabilities, in collaboration with organizations in- and outside the university. These activities include the proposal of research-centered university management strategies, support for the acquisition of external funds, planning and promotion of large-scale research projects, the creation of environments conducive to research development (including improved research promotion and support systems), collaboration with local governments and other external organizations, and the establishment of the Hokkaido University brand.

The URA Station was inaugurated in 2012 as an organization under the direct control of the university president that takes charge of strategic planning of university management and practical implementation of reforms, with funding by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under its Development of Systems to Cultivate and Secure University Research Administrators (URAs) project.

Once incorporated as a national university corporation, national universities in Japan are required to devise independent administration strategies as a university corporation and to cultivate the organizational power and human resources to perform different functions from the conventional administrative, research, and educational functions of a university. Hokkaido University has positioned URAs as professionals in research administration and business management and aims to become an independent Hokkaido University as a university corporation under the initiatives of the university president and the executive director in charge of research by having URAs promote research strategies across the boundaries of departments and administrative organizations within the university and advance important operations regarding university management. As a result, the URA Station has served as the driving force behind organizational and institutional reforms at Hokkaido University by playing a central role in applying for and implementing numerous organizational reform projects. Major examples of such projects include the Ministry of Education’s “Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities” and “Project for Promoting Public Utilization of Advanced Research Infrastructure,” JST’s “Center of Innovation Science and Technology based Radical Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (COI STREAM),” and JSPS’ “Top Global University Project” and “World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI).”

As it celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2026, Hokkaido University has put forth “Contributing Towards the Resolution of Global Issues” as its Future Strategy vision. To realize the university president’s vision that extends far beyond the 150th anniversary, creating a “Shining a Light from Hokkaido Upon the World”, the URA Station has developed its vision for 2030 and initiated activities toward the next decade with the mission of being a “URA Station that leads Hokkaido University. The URA Station will continue to serve as the university’s hub for all stakeholders involved in research administration and management strategies, conducting various activities under the governance of the university president in collaboration with the executive director in charge of research, administrative organizations, research departments and researchers, collaborating research institutions in Japan and overseas, private businesses, and funding agencies.