The Department of Earth Resources Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering of Kyushu University has received a 16th JICA President Award from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its long-term contribution to the worldwide human resource development in the geothermal field. Presented yearly, the awards honor individuals, organizations, or projects in and out of Japan for their distinguished achievements of the socio-economic development in developing countries.
The Department of Earth Resources Engineering has fostered 448 geothermal engineers in 37 countries during the last 50 years by conducting an international training course in geothermal energy. Started in 1970 as the International Group Training Course on Geothermal Energy with the support of UNESCO and JICA, the course was renamed in 2016 to the “Intensive Training for Geothermal Resource Engineers” and is currently led by Yasuhiro Fujimitsu, professor of the Laboratory of Geothemics.
The department has also accepted many international students majoring in earth resource engineering at its doctoral and master courses supported by a JICA-sponsored scholarship program “Shigen no Kizuna” for human resource development in the mining sector in developing countries.
Moreover, based on the network of returning students established through the program, the department started a joint research project in 2020 with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya, with the support of Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) program. The project of “Comprehensive Solutions for Optimum Development of Geothermal Systems in East African Rift Valley,” led by Prof. Yasuhiro Fujimitsu as project investigator, was adopted as SATREPS program in JFY 2019.
The presentation ceremony was held on November 6, 2020, at the Faculty of Engineering in Kyushu University, and Ms. Rika Uemura, Director General of JICA Kyushu Center, presented a certificate of award and a memorial gift to Dr. Yasuhiro Fujimitsu accompanied by Prof. Yoshimi Sonoda, dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and the other faculty members (Prof. Takeshi Tsuji, Prof. Koichiro Watanabe [former vice-president], Prof. Keiko Sasaki, Prof. Emeritus Ryuichi Itoi, Associate Prof. Jun Nishijima, Assistant Prof. Mitsuo Matsumoto, and Lecturer Dr. Tatsuto Ino). Mr. Hiroaki Motomura, executive director of the International Affairs Department, also joined the ceremony and celebrated the award.