Naotake Ogasawara

Naotake Ogasawara
President of Nara Institute of Science and Technology

A Global University Engaging Current and Future World Problems

NAIST was formed in 1991 as a newly structured national graduate university composed of active researchers in three graduate schools focusing on information science, biological sciences and materials science, the core research areas of the 21st century. NAIST has been highly evaluated for its world-leading research and for cultivating capable individuals through its unique graduate university curriculum. Since its establishment, NAIST has produced roughly 5000 master's course graduates and 1000 doctoral course graduates into society to contribute to various sectors. Also, as with talented researchers such as (2012 Nobel Laureate) Shinya Yamanaka, NAIST has delivered many accomplished research faculty around Japan where they are working at the forefront of science and technology.

In the twenty years since NAIST was established, science and technology have changed dramatically. Twenty years ago in information science, the internet had just begun to spread throughout society, but we are now living in an era where the internet is active in real-time, connecting people and spreading enormous amounts of data worldwide. In biological sciences, the era of studying individual DNA structures and functions has given way to the current stage in which we can easily determine plant, animal, and human genomes. Furthermore, in materials science, advancements in analysis and measurement technology have uncovered an advanced world of materials, allowing for the creation of new materials that were unimaginable twenty years ago. At NAIST, we have continually endeavored to further research in the ever-developing world of science and technology, all the while carrying out education based on this cutting-edge research.

Additionally, as can be seen in the economic development of China and Southeast Asian countries, the world is changing rapidly. This rapid change clearly illustrates the importance of creating new science and technology to reduce the use of our Earth's energy and resources, to balance the problems of global warming with the needs and activities of society, and to create a sustainable society. To achieve this, cooperation between science and technology researchers from various areas with different perspectives is essential. In order to respond to these problems, researchers from NAIST's three graduate schools (Information Science, Biological Sciences, and Materials Science) actively cooperate in interdisciplinary research. In addition to this research, NAIST is also cooperating with private industry and other institutions in the newly established 'Collaborative Research toward Future Innovation' project to discover new issues that will face society and work toward their solutions through aggressive research in a continuous multi-disciplinary research effort.

With our world-leading research, NAIST is currently focused on globalizing its activities and campus environment in order to further contribute to the worldwide development of science and technology. To accomplish this, we are pursuing cooperation in research and education with respected universities around the globe. At present, there are roughly 150 international students here at NAIST and we are determined to increase our global interactions to contribute internationally through cutting-edge research and innovative education.

Following the reorganization of Japanese national universities in 2004, many national universities have made efforts to individualize their offerings to become more competitive. Meanwhile, NAIST has been steadily focused on building upon its excellent research accomplishments with the goal of becoming a world-renowned university that performs frontier research and produces science and technology leaders who are globally adept and have a high level of academic training.

Looking ahead, I believe that it's especially important to identify what science and technological developments will be possible in the future and to perform bold research to further achieve groundbreaking results. Furthermore, through the research results that may only be achieved at NAIST, we will advance science and technology, and thus contribute to solving the world's current and future problems.