Office of the President
Message from the President
New Year Greeting(February 1st, 2016)
New Year Greeting
—Preparing to Get off to a Flying Start with the Medium-term Plan and Associated Medium-term Targets—
Happy New Year!
I am delighted to hear that our students, staff, and faculty members, and everyone who routinely supports the work of Kyushu University enjoyed a peaceful and healthy new year.
A year and three months have passed since I was appointed President in October 2014. During this time, I have had the opportunity to meet many people in administrative, political, and business circles, as well as members of the local community. I am keenly aware of society’s expectations of universities.
Having marked our centenary with a new slogan, “Lead to the Next 100 Years, Leap to the Best 100 in the World,” Kyushu University has set the goal of becoming one of the world’s top 100 universities in every field. Last year, as the first step toward achieving this, we formulated the Kyushu University Action Plan 2015.
In 2016, we will steadily move forward with initiatives based on the Action Plan, so that we can make this a year in which Kyushu University leaps ahead.
Last year, in advance of the April 2016 start of the third medium-term plan and associated medium-term targets, people in administrative, political, and business circles made a variety of recommendations concerning higher education. One such recommendation, which made waves in various circles, was the June 2015 notice from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology entitled Overhaul of Organization and Overall Operations of National University Corporations, which gave us an opportunity to look again at approaches to the humanities and social sciences at the university level.
Today, we are facing a range of global issues, including global warming, environmental pollution, problems relating to access to food and water, and a tense international situation. Moreover, Japan faces a number of unique problems, including the aging of the population coupled with a declining birthrate on a scale without parallel across the globe, not to mention a harsh financial situation. Tackling these issues will require knowledge that transcends the traditional boundaries between arts and sciences. We need to provide the knowledge required to take on the challenges posed by these issues, by leveraging Kyushu University’s strengths as a core university and promoting cutting-edge research that integrates knowledge from a range of fields, as well as conducting creative, multidisciplinary research. The humanities and social sciences provide opportunities for deep thought, generating insights about the ideal shape of human values and thereby providing fertile soil for cultivating a rich culture.
From this perspective, restructuring and enhancing the functions of the humanities and social sciences as academic fields will be one of the key initiatives that Kyushu University will promote under the Action Plan.
Today’s society is one based on knowledge, so universities must become hubs for innovation in order to maintain their prosperity in an age of global competition. Kyushu University will strive to foster innovation as a global hub for knowledge, further bolstering its already excellent reputation in the field of research in order to contribute to society, so that it can become the “Innovation Powerhouse in Asia.” The first specific measure we will take to achieve this will be the establishment of an institute for research and education (tentative name) that serves as a network bringing together all energy-related fields. At the same time, in academic research, it is not unusual for low-key research activities over many years to generate unexpected results, even in fields that do not immediately appear to be of use. Moreover, we must not forget the ways in which the fruits of basic science have enriched the inner life of humanity. Leveraging our strengths as a core university, Kyushu University will strive to achieve steady progress in basic science, as well as fostering innovation and promoting its social implementation.
Looking at our mission to educate, we will strive to cultivate personnel with a global outlook. We will move forward with more substantive deliberations aimed at establishing a new school to take on this crucial role. In conjunction with this, we will ensure that those involved in high school education and other interested parties – both at home and overseas – are kept abreast of our progress in this area. Human resource development to nurture the next generation and efforts to promote the participation of a diverse array of personnel are key pillars of the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan, which will get underway this April. Diversity in personnel will guarantee diversity in academic research, driving innovation. We will promote efforts to create an environment in which people can make full use of all their abilities, regardless of nationality or sex, and will strive even harder to increase the proportion of international researchers and female researchers.
In addition, with a view to increasing the diversity of personnel, we will move forward with the reform of the systems that link high schools to universities in this new era, to ensure that these systems assess a variety of abilities among the students seeking admission.
Kyushu University is about to begin the third and final stage of campus relocation. Last year saw the completion of the General Research Building for the sciences on the Ito Campus. In December, building work on the Agricultural Research Building began and the construction of the Central Library is also progressing smoothly toward the completion of campus relocation in the 2018 academic year. Construction work on the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building will begin this February. In addition, the new Research Institute for Information Technology building, which will be equipped with the latest IT research facilities, is due to be completed this year. We will also continue to develop the Hospital, Chikushi, and Ohashi campuses.
At the same time, to ensure that campus relocation can proceed on schedule, we will need to speed up efforts to formulate a plan for the Hakozaki Campus site, so that we can sell the land without delay.
Last year, in my conversations with a variety of individuals, people repeatedly expressed the view that Kyushu University needs to improve its ability to promote its achievements. Kyushu University has produced some outstanding, world-beating research output. In addition, our first-rate education system is cultivating high-caliber students. It is vital that we get this message across to people outside the university, while also ensuring that members of the university are aware of our achievements. The executive team will set to work on developing a strategic communications framework. I would like each and every member of Kyushu University to demonstrate an awareness of their role as ambassadors for our university by doing their bit to publicize our achievements.
We will make the Kyudai website more appealing, to make it a better tool for disseminating information about Kyushu University. We will enhance its functions as a source of information, creating a means of enabling Kyudai alumni both within Japan and overseas – not to mention other supporters of Kyushu University – to play an even greater role in university activities. In addition, we will lose no time in improving the information provided in English, to facilitate the international deployment of our academic research, increase our presence overseas, and attract high-caliber international students.
Reinforcing our fiscal base is vital to enable us to promote research and education. The university itself must strive to secure sources of funding. We need to do our utmost to secure a diverse array of financial resources, by such means as winning competitive funds, conducting joint research, increasing the number of applications for patents and intellectual property, and fostering a culture of donations to the university.
As well as ensuring that Kyushu University develops through such initiatives, it is vital for us to feed the fruits of these endeavors back to the local community. Under the banner of regional revitalization that has been raised by the central government, partnerships with local governments will become increasingly important to efforts to breathe new life into universities. Kyushu University is based in Fukuoka, a vibrant city which has the highest population growth rate, the highest total increase in population, and the biggest proportion of young people (aged 15 to 29) of any government ordinance-designated city in Japan. It is also a gateway to Asia, which will soon have the highest growth rates in the world. Making use of Fukuoka City’s special zone for startups, we will move forward with efforts to create a support framework for startup companies that will link research seeds from the university with new ventures. We will promote further partnerships with the city of Itoshima, which adjoins our Ito Campus, building a stronger relationship while enabling the university and the community to make use of each other’s resources.
Last year, I had many opportunities to observe students as they participated in extracurricular activities. Student activities help to inject dynamism into the university. We will move forward with additional efforts to enhance the environment, so that students can make full use of their abilities and play an active role in the life of Kyushu University. I hope that all students will play an even more active role in future.
This year marks the start of the third medium-term plan and associated medium-term targets, so it will be a very important year that determines the future direction of the university. The dynamic efforts of each and every member of the university – students, staff, and faculty members alike – will be essential to bring to fruition our vision for Kyushu University: Lead to the Next 100 Years, Leap to the Best 100 in the World.