The URAs’ Self-Introductions

Member


Hiroshi ABE / Director

Career history

After completing a master’s degree at the Tsukuba University Graduate School of Technology and Science, Hiroshi Abe began working at a chemical manufacturing company. While employed there, he completed his doctoral degree in engineering at the Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Responsible for plastic materials, molding technologies, and product development, he was stationed in Europe, where he selected technical information and introduced in-house technologies to Europe. He was responsible for new businesses, from planning to promotion management, at an in-house think tank company, and was also responsible for finding research partners and venture companies, mainly in Europe and North America, and promoting internal development. In the Environmental Management Department, he conducted environmental management of the entire company and actively promoted ESG and SDGs.
He has served as an examiner at NEDO and JSPS and as a visiting professor at Tohoku University, Hiroshima University, and a temporary lecturer at Osaka University, etc.
He was appointed to his current position in October 2019 and has a special interest in manufacturing, technology promotion, and human resource development.
“My whole motivation is to be grateful for every moment and every day in my life. I enjoy cooking and having afternoon tea with my wife on weekends.”

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

Keeping in mind the Future Strategy for the 150th Anniversary of Hokkaido University of becoming “a university that contributes to the resolution of global issues,” as a URA, Dr. Abe would like to plan and propose new initiatives to the university. He intends to focus on university management, collaboration with the local government, and start-ups.

Personal statement

What I want to work on as a Hokkaido University URA

This is the only university in Hokkaido capable of fully exploring nature’s infinite possibilities. I want to make it a world-class hub that attracts both students and government-industry-academia collaboration from all over Japan, Asia, and the world.

My love for Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University gave me a new life after my company career as a professional, new possibilities, and challenginge opportunities. I’m grateful that I was proud to could become a member of Hokkaido University, and I want to do my best to contribute toward its progress everything.

My goal as a university management staff member

Since they were being implemented seven years ago, the Hokkaido University URAs are beginning have started to get proud results. My goal is to take this progress further and develop URA human resources that can contribute and succeed not only at Hokkaido University and in Hokkaido but also in Japan and throughout the world.


Taisuke NOSE / Vice Director

Career history

Taisuke Nose received his master’s degree from the Department of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, Keio University. His field is bioorganic chemistry.
He has worked for a chemical company in the private sector. While he was working at the Research Institute, he was awarded a PhD in Engineering from Yamagata University for his work in research and development of water treatment systems using pulsed discharge plasmas. He works mainly on the research and development of water treatment systems and the design and construction of these systems. In addition, when he was working in the environmental management department of his company, he was responsible for planning and managing company-wide programs for conserving biodiversity, including the programs in group companies. While working at his corporate job, he was seconded to the Marine Biotechnology Institute and to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
He assumed his position as a university research administrator (URA) in April 2020.
He is a Certified Specialist of Intellectual Property Management, 2nd Grade, Water Pollution Prevention Manager (First grade), and Level 1 Piping Construction Management Engineer.

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

I would like to utilize the experience I gained from working in industry, such as R&D, construction management, and conservation of biodiversity, in my current duties of winning and supporting large-scale projects, supporting the promotion of university-industry cooperation, and forging collaboration with municipalities and regions, to draft plans and proposals and to contribute to enhancing the research capabilities of Hokkaido University.

Personal statement

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

I had been working in the private sector for a long time, and I felt it was time to start something fresh and undergo a change of environment, so I began to look for a new challenge where I could make use of my experience up to now. I wanted to have challenging and fun work with some new colleagues.

The kind of work I want to do from now on as a Hokkaido University URA

Keeping Hokkaido University’s four basic philosophies in mind, and always being conscious of “Practical Learning” in particular, I would like to contribute to solving many social problems through the research capabilities of Hokkaido University.

Hobbies, interests, things I enjoy or that make life worthwhile, etc.

Through my corporate work in biodiversity conservation I became interested in plants and animals, especially butterflies and birds. I look forward to observing living animals in Hokkaido.


Shingo TANAKA / Vice Director

Career history

After graduating from Sapporo Nishi High School, Dr. Tanaka enrolled in the School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University. He entered graduate school at Kyoto University, where he completed his doctoral degree in the Division of Applied Biosciences, Graduate School of Agriculture. Today he holds a PhD in agriculture. He specializes in ecology, and his research focuses on using insects to understand changes (evolution) in the relationship between alien and native species. In 2008, he came to Hokkaido University, where he worked as the coordinator for a multilateral education program on sustainability science. Later, in 2012, he joined the Research Development Section as a URA. Since then, his work has focused on international collaboration initiatives, including the Arctic research program. Since 2018, he has participated in management as vice chief of the section.

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

  • Top Global University Project
    As a member of the joint faculty countermeasure team formed by directors, faculty, and administrators, he has participated in everything from proposing ideas and preparing application documents to conducting interviews. His proposals were accepted, and his team was given the President’s Prize.
  • Promoting Arctic research
    He led the establishment of the Arctic Research Center. After it was established, he obtained accreditation for the center as a MEXT Joint Usage/Research Center in collaboration with external research organizations.
  • World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI)
    This was adopted after four requests spanning a period of about 10 years. He handled everything from collecting information in advance to proposing ideas, managing internal coordination, and preparing application documents.

Personal statement

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

When I attended an introductory seminar on the tasks of URA, I thought it was just another everyday job. The tenure positions were attractive.

The kind of work I want to do from now on as a URA at Hokkaido University

At my previous job, I was also involved with educational programs and became interested in graduate school education. I want to be able to discuss research and education while looking past any barriers that might separate them.

Open-ended personal statement

My international work has extended from the Arctic to tropical regions and deserts. Since I was originally a field researcher, I have been known as a person who can withstand relatively extreme environments. If you need a URA who is an expert in survival, call on me.


Naosuke OKADA / Senior Research Manager

Career history

Dr. Okada graduated in geophysics from the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University. Then, after completing the course requirements in the Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, he completed his PhD in environmental earth science. He specializes in the analysis of numerical experiments performed by computers to study ocean currents and climate change. He obtained his degree in 2003 based on research on the convection process accompanying the formation of sea ice. Beginning that year, he did postdoctoral work at the National Institute for Environmental Studies on “research on the prediction of global warming using a high-resolution atmosphere-ocean coupled climate model,” which is part of the Project for Sustainable Coexistence of Humans, Nature, and Earth by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). In 2007, he joined the Faculty of Environmental Earth Science at Hokkaido University as a postdoctoral researcher. Since 2008, he has worked on the “Establishment of a Center for Integrated Field Environmental Science,” a Global COE program of MEXT. He received a special appointment as an assistant professor in 2009. For about two and a half years, he oversaw the administration of the program and worked as a liaison between faculty and the administrative division. He was appointed as a URA in 2012.
Details: https://researchmap.jp/read0107629/?lang=english

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

  • Analyze the university’s research capabilities (e.g., citations of its published papers)
  • Supervise the application to MEXT for the Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities; he has operated the program since its adoption
  • Plan for researcher support programs

Personal statement

My aims as a university administration and management professional

By taking advantage of my past work experience, I aim to help realize Hokkaido University’s vision as an institution that contributes to resolving global problems. I aim to support researchers by further advancing educational and research activities, securing the required resources, and creating the necessary mechanisms for advancement.


Masaki KATO / Senior Research Manager

Career history

Dr. Kato received his PhD in biological science from the Graduate School of Biological Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology. Prior to his current position, he worked on the NEDO project as part of the Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (RIKEN BSI) as a specially appointed assistant professor in the GCOE Program of Keio University and as a FIRST program researcher at the RIKEN BSI. He specializes in molecular biology and neuroethology.
Keywords: comprehensive gene expression analysis, language-related genes, vocal communications, Bengalese finch, common marmoset
Details: http://researchmap.jp/makatou07/

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

He is active in the program for promoting the enhancement of research universities, the URA Post Establishment Study WG, the WISE Program (Doctoral Program for World-Leading Innovative & Smart Education), EDGE-NEXT, and the Doctoral Program for Data-Related InnoVation Experts (D-DRIVE). He also provides support for grant proposals, conducts research performance analyses, and serves as an assistant department manager.

Personal statement

My goal as a university administration and management professional

I aim to be a capable resource who can understand the university as a whole and manage the organization in a way that maximizes functions.


Etsuko NAKANO / Senior Research Manager

Career history

Ms. Nakano completed the doctoral course at the Graduate School of Law, Osaka City University (specializing in European political and diplomatic history—modern German political history). Previously, she worked for the German subsidiary of a Japanese trading company specializing in automobile components, the Jidaigeki Renaissance Project (in charge of German-language activities) at Toei Kyoto Studio Co., and the Research Center for Buddhist Cultures in Asia at Ryukoku University. In April 2015, she was appointed as a URA in the Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University. She was appointed to her present post in October 2018. She received qualification as a National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter (German).

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

During her years as a URA in the Hokkaido University School of Letters, she has been responsible for providing research funding—especially Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kaken-hi)—and she continues to be in charge of the Research Development Section (URA Station). In the School of Letters, support tailored to each instructor’s aspirations has been prioritized, but there is a need for an all-encompassing university-level support system. She is now working hard to meet this need. It was her work as an interviewer in the Humanities Café (https://www.let.hokudai.ac.jp/research/cafe/) that left the most vivid memories of her activities in the School of Letters. She savored the joy of close contact with top-level researchers while constantly facing the challenges associated with linking the researchers who spoke at the Café with the audience.

Personal statement

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

While working in my previous position, I saw a call for a URA in the School of Letters at Hokkaido University. Humanities URAs are rarely recruited. While I wanted to apply, I was hesitant about moving to an unfamiliar region. When I consulted with the director of the research center, he simply said, “If you don’t apply, nothing will happen.” I made up my mind to apply, and, to my surprise, I was selected. Thinking it must have been fate, I left Kyoto for Sapporo.

The kind of work I want to do from now on as a Hokkaido University URA

While I learn about administrating and managing a university as a member of the URA Station, as a humanities and social science URA, I want to strive to improve the performance of humanities and social science research at Hokkaido University.

Interests, things I enjoy or that make life worthwhile, etc.

I used to enjoy movies, reading, and travel, but I now enjoy playing with my son every day.


Yoshiyuki ABE / Research Manager

Career history

Yoshiyuki Abe graduated from the dDepartment of Marine Biology and Sciences of the Faculty School of Fisheries Sciences inat Hokkaido University and completed his doctoral Ph.D. degree at the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences (JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists DC1), specializing in marine bioecology fisheries sciences . Prior to assuming his present post, he was a Hokkaido University Postdoctoral Fellow (Arctic Challenge for Sustainability) and worked at the Alfred Wegener Institute (in Germany) and the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo (JSPS Research Fellowship for Young Scientists PD). He has been engaged in research on the ecology of marine plankton collected by shipsresearch vessels through oceanographic observation of the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ooceans (e.g., and the elucidation evaluation of marine plankton phylogeography using haplotype analyses)using genes.
Details: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yoshiyuki_Abe3

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

  • Promotion of Global Facility Center (GFC) projects
  • KAKENHIakenhi-related projects
  • Work related to regional collaborative research
  • Young researchers support projects

Personal statement

Because I have liked fishing and winter sports since I was a child, I fell in love with Hokkaido. As a Hokkaido University URA, I want to try many different things with a pioneering spirit and work hard to contribute as much as possible to Hokkaido University, an institution that has been key to my professional growth.


Fumi ISHIMURA / Research Manager

Career history

Fumi is a graduate of International Christian University in Tokyo. She holds an M.A. in Archaeology from Meiji University, where she specialized in North American archaeology with a focus on ceramic analysis. She worked for the University of Tokyo and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) before joining the URA station in July, 2020. She participates in an ongoing archaeological fieldwork in Oketo, Hokkaido, every summer. She is also interested in learning and practicing museum education as a form of science communication.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

She will be providing pre-award support to Principal Investigators proposing for funding through KAKENHI. She hopes to bring together her experiences and knowledge from previous jobs and her own research activity in order to assist Hokudai in enhancing its academic uniqueness and strength.

Personal statement

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

She has always been feeling uncomfortable about how “work” and “life outside of work” are treated as if they have no link with each other. She believes that her “life outside of work” can always bring valuable insight into “work” and vice versa. She sees that URA is designed to connect one’s lifelong learning directly to the job and therefore finds the integration very appealing as she pursues her career. She also loves the beautiful Hokudai campus and different faces of nature it brings as seasons progress.

The kind of work I want to do from now on as a URA at Hokkaido University

Through her work, she hopes to create programs and events that can put various communities with different perspectives inside and outside of the university together. She is also excited to learn more about Hokkaido and its history during her time in Hokudai.

Interests, things I enjoy or that make life worthwhile, etc.

She loves to play tennis and run marathons. She is particularly interested in running ultramarathons, which she trains for daily. The physical strength she gains from training is extremely beneficial when in the field of archaeological dig. She is also keen to try some winter sports.


Wang Ge / Research Manager

Career history

After graduating from university in China, Wang Ge worked as a public servant and at a Japan-related company before coming to Japan as an international student. She pursued doctoral studies in social psychology at the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences of Ochanomizu University and withdrew after obtaining the credits for the latter period of doctoral study. In Japan, before assuming her present role in August 2020, she has worked in such university-related roles as researcher for university projects, part-time lecturer in psychology, education research support staff, and research staff responsible for allocation of public research funds. Since 2014, her major work has been to study how transdisciplinary research (or the science of team science) works to solve real-world social issues by creating partnerships of people involved in related fields and sectors who work together to identify and resolve these issues as well as to research and draft policies to support and promote this work.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

Her main responsibilities are in human resources development and international cooperation. URAs are expected to initiate their own specific projects based on an understanding of evidence, such as the mission of the university, and to brainstorm to craft plans and manage the execution of these plans. She is currently working hard to meet these expectations.

Personal statement

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

There were two reasons for me taking this position. The first was that I wanted to do URA-type work and was looking for this kind of position. The other reason was that I felt a closeness to and curiosity about Hokkaido.

The kind of work I want to do from now on as a Hokkaido University URA

・I would like to embody the mission of URA Station by conducting daily tasks with my colleagues efficiently and effectively, while hoping more and more people from Hokkaido University with confidence and open minds playing active roles all over the world.
・In my opinion, the job of a URA is similar to supporting and executing Transdisciplinary Research (or the Science of Team Science), which is my focus, as was mentioned above. In the future, I would like to share my understanding of Transdisciplinary Research in my daily work.

Something about myself

Lately, as a newcomer to Sapporo, in my spare time, I have been curious about how to lead a healthy and joyful life in the upcoming winter. As I am extremely sensitive to the cold temperatures, protecting myself from catching a cold will be my top priority this year.


Masayo OGI / Research Manager

Career history

Science, Hokkaido University. She specializes in climatology and meteorology. Prior to her present position, she was at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), University of Washington (US), and University of Manitoba (Canada). She has participated in weather observations in the Sea of Okhotsk, on the Amur River, in the Arctic Ocean, and in Greenland. Her first research work studied the relationship between sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk and the discharge of the Amur River. She has also studied atmospheric circulation over the Arctic Ocean, the change of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, and the mechanisms of abnormal weather.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

Through university administration and management, she strives to transfer knowledge held at Hokkaido University to the regional society and promote state-of-the-art research and education around the world.

Personal statement

As someone born and raised in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, I always wanted to someday return and make contributions to Hokkaido. I think that for someone like me, who aspired to work as a URA at Hokkaido University, it is like some kind of divine guidance or fate that I’ve received this opportunity. I will work as hard as I can to serve my alma mater, Hokkaido University!


Kosui HORIUCHI / Research Manager

Career history

In March 2008, Dr. Horiuchi graduated from Asahigaoka High School in Sapporo, Hokkaido. In March 2012, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences (macromolecules) from the School of Science, Hokkaido University. Then, in March 2014, he earned his master’s degree from the School of Engineering, Osaka University, where he specialized in advanced biotechnology. Finally, in March 2018, he earned his doctoral degree from the School of Medicine, Hokkaido University. His specialties are cell biology and optical microscopy. Since May 2018 he has worked as a URA at Hokkaido University (he is now the only newly graduated person employed at the URA Station).

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

He supports the operation of the Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery (ICReDD), launched as part of the World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI). He also promotes the work of the Global Facility Center (GFC) and performs IR-related work.

Personal statement

What I keep in mind as a URA at Hokkaido University

I aim to understand the ideas and cultures of research in fields other than biology. I try to maximize the performance of existing frameworks without limitations.

Times I am troubled as a URA at Hokkaido University

It is an environment in which I can work with a high degree of autonomy and can implement various ideas. However, I feel a sense of difficulty when I cannot put an idea into practice.

Interests, things I enjoy or that make life worthwhile, etc.

I am interested in the theater, mainly as a spectator, though I have occasionally been a performer. I also enjoy eating or preparing sweets.


Ayako WADA / Research Manager

Career history

Ayako Wada received her master’s degree from the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science. Her field is analytical chemistry. She worked for an internal venture arm of a chemical manufacturer in the startup working on the development and mass-production organization and commercialization (market launch) of soil analyzers. After that, she moved to the corporate division in internal recruiting and was responsible for human resource development and personnel. She is a nationally certified career consultant. She returned to her native Hokkaido and assumed her position as a university research administrator (URA) in September 2014. She temporarily left her position due to a life event but came back to work as a URA in April 2020 after working in the human resource training headquarters.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

• Business applications and operations support (Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Program on Open Innovation Platform with Enterprises, Research Institute and Academia/The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Tenure-Track Development and Retention Program/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) WISE Program (Doctoral Program for World-leading Innovative & Smart Education)/MEXT Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities/MEXT URA Program)
• Researching independent internal financial resources for the university (support for general museum projects (revenue simulation, internal university surveys, and surveys of other universities) and team leader of university branding study project)
• Surveys of policies for training and production of PhDs (survey of policies for training and production of PhDs in the Research University (RU) 11 consortium and surveys of student advancement using marketing methods)

Personal statement

What I enjoy about working as a URA at Hokkaido University

What attracts me to my work at as a URA at Hokkaido University is the opportunity to be involved with a variety of people and things. I have the privilege of spending time with passionate researchers, students with bright futures, and reliable colleagues. On campus, I can enjoy squirrels, red foxes, and, on extremely rare occasions, deer running around!

My role as a Hokkaido University URA

Compared to the other URA who are highly specialized, I have to say that I am a jack-of-all trades who has done a little bit of a variety of things. However, at a time when so much is changing, I would like to be a resource that can adapt flexibly to change.

My hobbies and interests

I grew up in the country, so I have a pretty detailed knowledge of edible grasses and fruits. Plus, I love to snuggle with my cat every day. You might say I am wearing a cat instead of a mask. Plus, I really love dogs!


Yumiko TAKEUCHI / Specialist

Career history

After graduating from university, Yumiko Takeuchi passed the judicial scrivener examination, the administrative scrivener examination other qualifications. Through her work running a shiho-shoshi lawyer office and as a branch manager of a large shiho-shoshi law firm and an administrative scrivener office, she has experience with many areas of the law, including corporate, real estate, personal, and international law. She is the author of several books, including Zeimu kara mita kaisha gijirokusakusei no pointo to bunrei (Points Regarding the Preparation of Company Meeting Minutes from the Standpoint of Taxation; Shinnippon Hoki Shuppan K.K.), Kigyo jimu rinjizokango kaisha no homu, somu, jinji no shigoto jiten (Corporate Practice Extra Edition Encyclopedia of Corporate Legal, General Affairs, and Human Resources; Nippon Jitsugyo Publishing).
 Additionally, after passing the EIKEN Test in Practical English Proficiency Grade 1 and receiving the Encouragement Prize, she worked as a professional translator. She has translated many documents, including contracts, business correspondence, manuals, and programming training videos for Python and other programs from English into Japanese and from Japanese into English. She is the recipient of an Honorable Mention at the Alc Translation Awards.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

I analyze the results of university rankings and create plans based on the analysis. Soon after I started working at URA Station, Hokkaido University became number one in Japan in the “THE University Impact Ranking,” leaving me with the impression that the work was worthwhile even though it was very time-consuming. In the future, I aim to improve Hokkaido University’s rankings and to broaden the scope of my work relating to university rankings by utilizing analytical strategies such as using SDGs and Python for thesis data analysis.

Personal statement

Hobbies, interests, things I enjoy or that make life worthwhile, etc.

My hobby is learning new information and skills. I enjoy the process of planning, executing the plan, and achieving success. Currently I am focusing on learning languages other than programming and English. I tend to develop sudden interests in things, and I myself do not know what I will be interested in next. I enjoy playing with children and working as a volunteer tutor as well.

Something about myself

Just when I thought I would like to experience a completely different kind of work from what I had done before, I was fortunate to be hired at URA Station. I think that I will be able to create something new by combining the knowledge and experience from my previous work with the knowledge that I will gain in this new position.


Gautam, Pitambar / Associate Professor, Creative Research Institution

Career history

Coming soon.


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