The URAs’ Self-Introductions

Member


Yasuhiro HASEGAWA

Career history

Mr. Hasegawa was born in Asahikawa City, Hokkaido, in 1961. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Hokkai Gakuen University. In April 1984, he was appointed as an administrative official of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) (then a civil service appointment) and posted to Hokkaido University. For most of the next 30 years, he worked at Hokkaido University. He worked mainly in budget-related work as head of the Research Collaboration Division of the Research Promotion Department and then as head of the Planning Division of the General Affairs and Planning Department. In April 2018, he was appointed head of the Research Promotion Department (his present position), serving concurrently as chief of the Research Development Section, Office for Enhancing Institutional Capacity.

His responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

He is an administrator at Hokkaido University who has also been deeply involved with the Research Development Section since it was established. His activities as a URA have included applying for funds to build the Global Research Center for Food & Medical Innovation in 2013 (probably the first time a URA applied for a subsidy) and applying for a subsidy for the MEXT Top Global University Project in 2014. Both applications were accepted thanks to the efforts of URAs and various faculty. As head of the Research Promotion Department, he believes his duty as chief of the Research Development Section is to immerse the URA in organizational governance, connecting URA planning with existing university systems and activities to have greater influence, and to inform the entire university of the necessity of the URA. While this has proven to be a difficult challenge, he is working hard to train trustworthy URAs.

Personal Statements

My interests include watching Japanese athletes (both those officially representing Japan and those who are not) compete in international sporting events (on TV), viewing serial dramas (only Japanese dramas), forcibly hugging my cat, and looking for inexpensive restaurants that serve good food. Now that I am 57, I feel that my physical strength is declining; I realize I am now paying the price for my unhealthy eating and drinking habits in the past. However, I am taking steps to stave off further decline by walking 10,000 steps a day, abstaining from drinking three days a week, and having a therapeutic massage twice a month.


Shingo TANAKA

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 Statements

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.


Maho AMANO

Career history

Dr. Amano graduated from Shonan High School and then went on to the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ochanomizu University. Finally, she completed her doctoral degree in agriculture at the Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo. Prior to her present position, she was a JSPS Research Fellow for Young Scientists (Tokubetsu Kenkyuinn) DC2, a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA (attached to the Department of Pathology), a lecturer at Showa Women’s University (gave 10 lectures a week ranging from basic chemistry to microbiology experiments), and a specially appointed assistant professor in the Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University. Her specialty is biochemistry, and she has been analyzing glycan structures and the functions of lectins for many years. She has good memories of her years as a researcher when she received the Shiseido Women Researchers Science Grant and the FEBS J Top-Cited Award. She is a graduate of the Communication in Science and Technology Education & Research Program (CoSTEP) at Hokkaido University. She has worked as an editor of the Journal of Industry-Academia-Government Collaboration (JST) since 2015.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

She works on acquiring funds to cover scientific research expenses, the formation of crossroads linking departments, Hokkaido University Crossroad Exchange Meetings, work related to research publishing, and business start-ups, among other activities.

Personal statements

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

As I passed the age of 40, I realized I had been a researcher for 20 years and would retire in another 20 years. Since a person only lives once, I suddenly wanted to work on something different.

Things that have delighted me as a URA at Hokkaido University

I get to talk directly with top-class researchers in various fields, who personally explain their work to me directly so that even I can understand it. What a fantastic job this is!

Times I feel that working as a Hokkaido University URA is worthwhile

When people who have worked on a project that I planned say “thank you” or “this was a big help”; I am also grateful when I receive feedback such as “It would be a little better this way.” I would like to take advantage of insights I gain from listening to the views of others to provide researchers with plans that give them even greater satisfaction.


Naosuke OKADA

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 statements

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.


Masayo OGI

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 statements

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!


Masaki KATO

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

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 statements

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.


Mami FURUHATA

Career history

Dr. Furuhata completed her PhD at the Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University. Prior to her current position, she worked as a junior fellow in the Faculty or Law, Hitotsubashi University, and then as an alternative representative of Japan to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada. She specializes in international law and international aviation law. She focuses on peaceful resolutions to international aviation disputes, jurisdiction over actions that threaten safety on aircrafts, and so on.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

She is responsible for acquiring external funds, promoting joint research through industry-academia-government collaboration, and ensuring compliance with the Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya Protocol, ABS.

Personal statements

My goals as a URA at Hokkaido University

I hope to improve Hokkaido University’s strength as an academic institution by applying my specialized experience, which includes a background in law and experience with international bodies. This makes me a rarity among URAs.

What delighted me after I became a URA at Hokkaido University

The chance to work in advanced research in a variety of genres, the opportunity to meet researchers from every corner of the university, being surrounded by pleasant people, and the ability to think for myself as I work independently are some of the things being a URA gave me. I also like the open creative research building where I have my office, the Jingisukan (Mongolian Mutton Barbecue) Party culture, and the natural environment around the university.

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

I play tennis, snowboard, and ski. I relax by watching American comedy programs. I enjoy eating; sweet, hot, sour, herbs, and spices—I love them all. I also enjoy wine and sake.


Kosui HORIUCHI

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 statements

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.


Tomoko MIZUSHIMA

Career history

Dr. Mizushima obtained her PhD in medical sciences from the Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University. At Kanazawa University, she performed research specializing in physiology. Later, she worked at a patent office, where she prepared and prosecuted patent applications in biology, chemistry, and engineering control.
She is now applying her experience in both research and intellectual property work to supporting strategic industry–university partnerships, such as acquiring scientific research grants and intellectual property at Hokkaido University. In the future, she wants to continue to contribute to the development of Hokkaido University, especially in the area of intellectual property, so please feel free to contact her any time to arrange a consultation.

Her responsibilities as a URA at Hokkaido University

  • Survey and analysis related to industry–university partnerships
  • Work related to acquiring external sources of funding
  • Work related to intellectual property

Personal statements

How I became a URA at Hokkaido University

I wanted to use my past experience in research and intellectual property work to support and contribute to Hokkaido University, especially with regard to intellectual property.

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

I would like to return profits generated by novel findings and creations to the researchers and the university. I also wish to take part in activities to increase intellectual property awareness.

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

I didn’t realize that Hokkaido University was so spacious. Sometimes I commute on foot, which takes longer but is good exercise.


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