Construction of a top down-type landmark research center

Construction of a top down-type landmark research center

Overview

One of Hokkaido’s three strategies to strengthen its research capabilities is to “create and disseminate to cutting-edge research findings.” To this end, the Research Development Section is involved in the management of the Arctic Research Center, a new international initiative, and is designing another research hub that it hopes will be adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)’s World Premier International (WPI) Research Center Initiative.

Hokkaido University established the Arctic Research Center in 2015 to respond to environmental changes in the Arctic region. Since then, the university has been part of the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) project, in collaboration with the National Institute of Polar Research and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. The Japan Arctic Research Network Center (J-ARC Net), which was established by these three institutions in 2016, was the first Arctic research center to be designated by the MEXT as a collaborative, joint use and research center. The Research Development Section contributed to the center’s rapid establishment—research began only six months after the plan was conceived—and is directly involved in its management, including the posting of one URA as Assistant to the Center’s Director and coordinating the work of the three different institutions involved.

The Research Development Section is also focusing on disseminating research information and collaborating with the rest of the world. In 2017, Hokkaido University research collaboration projects with Russia and India were adopted by the MEXT’s Re-inventing Japan Project – Supporting the Formation of Inter-university Exchanges with Russia, India, etc. In addition, a member of the Research Development Section contributes to promoting the project as the member of the Task Force to Promote Exchange with Russia.

Relationships between the Arctic Research Center’s stakeholders

In addition, the Research Development Section is using research IR to gather information and conduct strategic planning in order to develop a MEXT’s WPI Research Center Initiative. Its goal is that these plans will be adopted in the next application period.

 

List of Activities

Support of the Arctic Research Center

The Arctic Research Center, which is expected to play a large role in Japan’s Arctic policy, is collaborating with the National Institute of Polar Research and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology to construct the Japan Arctic Research Network Center (J-ARC Net). It, along with Hokkaido University researchers from a variety of departments, also participates in ArCS, the national Arctic research project. URAs prepared and compiled self-inspection reports for the project’s interim evaluation, and they also completed the J-ARC Net annual report, together with the other two member institutions. They also planned and designed the “Arctic Research Center – Our ‘Coolest’ Current Research,” an integrated museum and exhibition space for presenting the Center’s research findings.
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WPI strategic planning

The Research Development Section hopes to utilize research IR to develop a new center that will be adopted by the MEXT’s World Premier International Research Center Program. To this end, the URAs are establishing research plans to set research targets and are conducting strategic planning, including constructing a research-organization structure. They are cooperating with the president, the executive, and administrative staff members and gathering information from MEXT and existing WPI centers. These plans include a possible reorganizing of existing structures and systems so Hokkaido University can use them to develop a world-class research center.
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Strategic planning for the new landmark research center

Hokkaido University is constructing a new research and education center that goes beyond national and regional boundaries to connect domestic and international researchers, governments, and businesses through joint research. As an example, the university is continuously working to develop specialist human resources contributing to economic cooperation between Japan and Russia, in partnership with Niigata University, which has independently promoted Russia-Japan exchange for over 25 years, and other universities, companies, local governments, and financial institutions. A URA is responsible for coordinating Japanese stakeholders, gathering information in both countries, and promoting exchanges; this same staff also collaborates on bilateral educational and research initiatives and towards increased cooperation between industry, academia, and government.
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Team members

Shingo Tanaka (Chief Officer)

Chief URA
Assistant to the Director, Arctic Research Center
Corporate Strategy Office member

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<Projects he manages>

Yuuki Komata

URA

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<Projects he manages>

 

Activity descriptions

Support of the Arctic Research Center

The Arctic Research Center, which is expected to play a large role in Japan’s Arctic policy, is collaborating with the National Institute of Polar Research and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology to construct the Japan Arctic Research Network Center (J-ARC Net). It, along with Hokkaido University researchers from a variety of departments, also participates in ArCS, the national Arctic research project. URAs prepared and compiled self-inspection reports for the project’s interim evaluation, and they also completed the J-ARC Net annual report, together with the other two member institutions. They also planned and designed the “Arctic Research Center – Our ‘Coolest’ Current Research,” an integrated museum and exhibition space for presenting the Center’s research findings.

<Examples of activities>

Collaborations with other institutions to conduct self-inspections and create annual report

The Japan Arctic Research Network Center (J-ARC Net) and the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS), an Arctic region research project, are facilitated through a collaboration between the Hokkaido University Arctic Research Center; Arctic Environment Research Center of the National Institute of Polar Research; and the Institute of Arctic Climate and Environment Change Research, part of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

These projects conduct vital research into the effects of climate change. Environmental change, such as the progressive reduction of ice caps in the Arctic Ocean, has negative effects on the climate and on ecosystems. However, it can also have positive economic effects, such as opening up the Arctic Ocean as a trade route and allowing for the development of natural resources. The goal of these projects is to determine how a balance can be struct between environmental destruction and the promotion of new industries and development of resources. The projects’ research findings are directly linked to Japan’s Arctic policy, and it is essential to properly allocate finite financial, human, and research resources to the project and to disseminate the findings both domestically and internationally.

To conduct an interim evaluation of the ArCS, Hokkaido University URA gathered information from researchers and helped prepare self-inspection reports. As members of the project’s Administration Bureau, the URA are also responsible for coordinating these reports. As a result of this work, in 2017, they published the Japan Arctic Research Network Center’s first annual report. To accomplish this, Hokkaido University URA established a system for writing reports within the Arctic Research Center and initiated a division of labor in both the National Institute of Polar Research and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

Support for the International Permafrost Association Conference

The International Permafrost Association (IPA), which consists of scientists who study permafrost in polar and highland regions, holds its major conference every four to five years. The goal of these conferences is to understand environmental changes in the polar regions, where the effects of global warming are most evident. As global permafrost research has become increasingly active over the past several years, the IPA has also held regional conferences about once a year (according to the Second Asian Conference on Permafrost website).

The URA provided support for all aspects of the planning and management of the Second Asian Conference on Permafrost, which was held in July 2017 at Hokkaido University. This was the first international conference on permafrost in Japan, and it was attended by 178 researchers from 17 countries.

Attendees and Staffs of The Second Asian Conference on Permafrost

Support for the J-ARC Net open seminars

The J-ARC Net has provided updated information on Arctic region for relevant stakeholders, including companies and government agencies, since it began in 2016. Moreover, with the aim of stimulating demand for new stakeholders, it has planned and held four open seminars on the Arctic region. The most recent seminar was held in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on Thursday, December 14, 2017 and centered around international governance relating to the Arctic region.
Click here for information on the Arctic region open seminars

  • First seminar: Tuesday, January 17, 2017, Hokkaido University
    Theme: The Arctic Ocean sea route, shipping and logistics, the development of advanced and applied technologies, the interest of the Hokkaido Government Office, and the future of the Arctic region
    No. of participants: 87
  • Second seminar, Friday, March 17, 2017, Kanda, Tokyo
    Theme: The utilization of and prospects for the Arctic Ocean sea route
    No. of participants: 62
  • Third seminar: Monday, July 24, 2017, Hokkaido University
    Theme: The utilization of the Arctic region and possibilities for industry
    No. of participants: 126

 

WPI strategic planning

The Research Development Section hopes to utilize research IR to develop a new center that will be adopted by the MEXT’s World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) Program. To this end, the URAs are establishing research plans to set research targets and are conducting strategic planning, including constructing a research-organization structure. They are cooperating with the president, the executive, and administrative staff members and gathering information from MEXT and existing WPI centers. These plans include a possible reorganizing of existing structures and systems so Hokkaido University can use them to develop a world-class research center.

<Examples of activities>

Hoping to be adopted in 2017 as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s WPI (World Premier International Research Center), the URA worked with the president, executive, and administration to prepare a WPI commitment proposal. They prepared the application form for the first and second round of review, prepared materials for the third hearing review, and compiled all of the materials. They also conducted interviews with responsible persons in the advanced centers and in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the interview materials reflected these results.

While it has not been adopted in the current fiscal year, a WPI Measures Office has been established for the next fiscal year to oversee the public subscription of applications. Two URA, members of this office, are continuing to collect information and organize the application.

 

Strategic planning for the new landmark research center

Hokkaido University is constructing a new research and education center that goes beyond national and regional boundaries to connect domestic and international researchers, governments, and businesses through joint research. As an example, the university is continuously working to develop specialist human resources contributing to economic cooperation between Japan and Russia, in partnership with Niigata University, which has independently promoted Russia-Japan exchange for over 25 years, and other universities, companies, local governments, and financial institutions. A URA is responsible for coordinating Japanese stakeholders, gathering information in both countries, and promoting exchanges; this same staff also collaborates on bilateral educational and research initiatives and towards increased cooperation between industry, academia, and government.

<Project examples>

Contributing to the establishment of the Japan-Russia Joint Expert Education Organization (provisional name)

Hokkaido University promotes industry-academia collaboration and staff education and development of in cold region research, mainly in Russia, through the Slavic Eurasian Research Center and the Arctic Research Center. After the 2014 adoption of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Re-inventing Japan Project (Russia), the university started the East Russia-Japan Expert Education (RJE3) Program, which trains experts to play leading roles in bringing about a sustainable environment, culture, and development in the Far East and Arctic.

Based on this track record, Hokkaido University, together with Niigata University, which has a history of exchange and cooperation with universities in Siberia and the Far East stretching back a quarter of a century, has formulated a plan to construct a platform that gathers and utilizes information from and experiences of Japan and Russia inter-university exchanges. In 2017, the university applied to be part of the Re-inventing Japan Project (Russia) platform construction program, and it was adopted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017.

According to the project proposal, the objectives of Hokkaido University and Niigata University are to further develop and evolve:

  1. The track record of a wide range of educational and research exchanges with Russia
  2. The independent network covering the whole of Russia, including the Far East
  3. Strong links with local governments and the business world

In the same way, the two universities are also advocating for the formation of a consortium that includes universities promoting Japan-Russia exchanges and various regional stakeholders. By organically linking these collaborations and with the participation of universities in both Japan and Russia, the aim is to construct the Japan-Russia Joint Expert Education Organization (provisional name), focused around Hokkaido University and Niigata University, by fiscal year 2022.

Relationships between platform stakeholders

Hokkaido University URA, who were involved in applying for this program in fiscal year 2014, provided the expertise and peripheral information they acquired during the previous application. They have also helped to form the developmental concept based on Hokkaido University measures. In addition to working with faculty members and other parties to prepare hearing materials, the URA liaise and coordinate collaboration with companies, local governments, and financial institutions that will form the core of the program and gather information from them and from Niigata University URA in order to build a local platform. In the future, our intention is to gather information and acquire external funds as necessary in order to form a network with Russia and continue to strengthen the collaboration between industry, academia, and government.

 


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