Osaka Prefecture University
Osaka Prefecture University
SiMS General Director
This year, “Graduate Course for System-inspired Leaders in Material Science (SiMS),” which Osaka Prefecture University and Osaka City University jointly launched, was adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXST) as a Program for Leading Graduate Schools. Osaka Prefecture University, marking its 130th anniversary this year, has surely achieved its public university’s mission to contribute to regional development as well as to contribute to the development of cluster industries and studies as a high-level research-oriented university to produce talent for society who will lead the industrial and academic worlds. Osaka Prefecture University, which has focused on doctoral education from early times, started the “Advanced Education Program for Innovative Leaders Contributing to Industries and Communities” in 2008 with the support of MEXST’s Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology. In this program, the University developed excellent human resources development curriculums, including corporate internships, to produce many talented postdoctoral researchers for the industrial world. Fortunately, the achievements of this program were highly regarded and it received the highest rating in both intermediate and posterior evaluations. In 2012, this program was succeeded by a joint program by three public universities?Osaka City University, University of Hyogo and Osaka Prefecture University. Worldwide research performances and excellent educational resources plus the achievements of human resources development by Osaka Prefecture University and Osaka City University as well as the unique human resources development plans of SiMS described below were highly evaluated and the two universities were regarded as appropriate venues to nurture first-class postdoctoral researchers who will play an active part in the global community. I believe that these factors led to the adoption of SiMS.
It is no secret that many discoveries in material science in the 20th century brought about innovations. At that time, sophisticated hierarchization of industrial technologies such as materials, devices and systems technologies worked well. In recent years, however, it has been found that the rigidity of the technological paradigm causes a decrease in competitiveness and as a result, a shift in industrial structures such as “koto-zukuri(value creation)”?the creation of “koto” or systems?has started. Promoting material research inspired by the viewpoint of systems and business is an essential factor in building globally competitive industries and industries supporting a safe, secure and sustainable society. For this reason, there is now a real need for high-level research leaders who can develop innovative, system-inspired research development strategies in which the idea of “koto” is directly integrated into the development of “mono,” or material things, and in which each subdivided area ranging from raw materials, functional molecules/devices to systems controlling all of them is highly integrated. Against this backdrop, in SiMS, researchers in material science who have visions of a future society and can think systematically how to build such a society, and researchers in system engineering who can build new systems based on their knowledge of material science are nurtured by instructors from both the industrial and academic worlds, including those who play a leading role in the industrial world.
We will take on three challenges through the above-described course. First is to establish a picture of new global research leaders in the industrial world of “researchers in material science inspired by systems” and “researchers in systems engineering inspired by material things,” and build a system to nurture such researchers. Second is to link industrial recovery in Japan with postdoctoral career paths through SiMS, which concentrates on nurturing leaders to be the driving force for the industrial world, to create a flow of talented students with high research capabilities into the industrial world. Third is to reform graduate schools to establish a new scheme to nurture doctoral students through SiMS, where various instructors from both the industrial and academic worlds provide instruction and guidance in various ways to nurture postdoctoral researchers. When these three challenges are accomplished and people notice the successive model of postdoctoral researchers, their careers in the industrial world will be opened even more widely. We hope that a virtuous cycle of human resources development and industry-academia collaboration that many talented students want to follow will be created. By positively creating this virtuous circle, we aim to further contribute to the development of regional communities. Finally, we would like to ask for support and guidance from people in the industrial world so that SiMS will contribute to the further development of Japan’s industries and the renewal of university education. We would like students to participate positively in SiMS to open up their own futures with pride and hope.
Assistant to President of Osaka Prefecture University
SiMS Program Director
We hope that you will take on these challenges without worrying about the career you pursue after completing SiMS.
This new SiMS course is a five-year program. Traditionally, many students who want to join companies intended to obtain employment after completing their master. This is because by obtaining one area of expertise at university, they can broaden the area after joining a company through in-house education, as necessary. Also, since they are able to find a job for a short time on the recommendation of the school, they can take the time they need for their studies.
However, the times have completely changed. Students who conduct research only in a laboratory during their master’s degree program now have a narrow window of opportunity to become active in society. Exposed to fierce global competition, companies became unable to afford human resources development, decreasing their investment in in-house education. Although students have two years to conduct research, they are busy with getting credits for classes in the first half of the first year and in the latter half, they become busy job hunting before they can conduct much research. Therefore, students have only a year or so to conduct their research activities. It is virtually impossible for students to present their research results at international conferences during such a short period. Even if they could, their presentation may have problems because their experiments or their comparisons with conventional studies are insufficient. If they want to produce research results acceptable by national and international standards within two years, they cannot broaden their knowledge and experience.
SiMS is a five-year program. We provide you with a great deal of time to study. We have prepared curriculums for you to broaden your knowledge and experience. Osaka Prefecture University and Osaka City University are not the only providers of this education; we will invite distinguished instructors from outside the campuses and provide you with stimulating internship programs and overseas study channels. You can take time to conduct your research while broadening your perspective. You will not be instructed by only one teacher. We will invite persons who have played an active part in industry as mentors. We have partnerships with overseas universities and organizations with which we have deepened exchange over the years and thus you will be able to receive instruction from researchers and educators who we know well and study at their universities and organizations to become involved in global research.
Although SiMS aims to nurture human resources who seek for a position at a company, it is also a useful program for students who want to obtain a job at a university or public research institution after graduation. I was engaged in research and development in companies for 24 years and in research and education in universities for 12 years, and I welcome you with complete confidence in our responsibilities.
We promise you that during the five years of SiMS you will be able to concentrate on your studies without worrying about your livelihood, and we will guide you to a much higher level than the level you would expect to reach if you spent two years as a masters student plus three years as a company employee.