Happy New Year from Kyushu University.
I hope you all have had an excellent start to the new year.
The global economy has been hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February, which have resulted in energy supply shortages and inflation and significantly impacted our daily lives as well as society at large. However, at Kyushu University, we have mostly returned to in-person classes since last October. With the relaxation of Japan’s entry restrictions, the number of international students here exceeded 2,300 as of last November upon the restart of student study abroad and research exchange programs with international partners. In the past year, we’ve felt a shift into the next phase of the pandemic as life on campus now resembles how it looked pre-COVID-19.
A little over one year ago , Kyushu University was selected as a "Designated National University Corporation" and unveiled Kyushu University Vision 2030, which outlines our plan to become a university that drives social change with integrative knowledge. To achieve this vision, we are committed to investing in our education and research in addition to contributing to social change by promoting digital transformation (DX) and solving issues starting in three major areas: decarbonization, medicine and health, and environment and food. Last April, during the first year of Vision 2030, we launched three new initiatives. The first, the Integrated Initiative for Designing Future Society, will work to design an ideal future society and then use a backcasting approach to identify strategic steps and measures needed to achieve that future, which will inform current problem-solving practices. The second, the Data-Driven Innovation Initiative, will promote DX to develop data-driven education, research, and healthcare and examine what an ideal future society looks like from a DX perspective. The third, the Open Innovation Platform, will serve to unite the efforts of these two initiatives and find practical applications for their findings. All of this is now underway to promote social change and innovation as we work to realize Kyushu University Vision 2030.
Kyushu University’s "integrative knowledge" approach to problem-solving combines our strengths in the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, and design to solve complex, diverse, and challenging problems. I believe that this approach will provide students with insights and inspiration when working to overcome challenges in their studies. By combining different kinds of perspectives and knowledge, we hope to uncover new insights and value beyond our limited comprehension. I encourage the whole university community to take on new challenges this year.
At the end of last year, the government launched an open call for applications for its University of International Excellence program. A "university of international excellence" is defined as “a university that is expected to develop internationally outstanding research and utilize research findings to a significant extent to bring about changes in the economy and society” and, by extension, serve as a model of progress for other universities in Japan. Selected universities will receive annual grants in the amount of tens of billions of yen from a fund (often referred to as the 10 trillion yen fund) based on the scale of their projects. Universities applying for the program must present not only their past achievements but also their future vision and commitment to transforming themselves into world-class research universities.
Given that the goals of the University of International Excellence program are in line with Vision 2030 and our vision for the next twenty to thirty years, we have made the decision to pursue this accreditation for our school.
The year 2023 is sure to be an important year and a turning point in the history of Kyushu University. We would like all members of the university body, including students, faculty, and staff, to share in this exciting pursuit as we prepare to apply for the University of International Excellence program, exploring all possibilities in our ambitions to shape a new Kyushu University.
We want to work together with our next generation of leaders and formulate a vision for a brighter future at Kyushu University, one where advancements at the University lead to advancements for the Kyushu region as a whole—a future of unlimited possibilities.
To every student, faculty, and staff member at Kyushu University and all those involved with our institution—let us exhaust every effort to help make this momentous challenge and vision a reality. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the many groups and individuals who have supported Kyushu University in various ways, and I hope that we will continue to deepen these ties in the coming year.
I wish you all a peaceful, bright, and hopeful 2023. May your year be full of new challenges!
January 1, 2023
President of Kyushu University