2013 NAIST Winter Graduation Ceremony (December 20, 2013)


On Friday, December 20, 2013, a graduation ceremony was held in the Conference room on the 2nd floor of Administration Bureau.
President Ogasawara presented degrees to each graduate and gave the congratulatory speech to the 7 graduates.

After the ceremony, the commemorative photograph was taken and the graduates enjoyed the graduation ceremony with the president, executive directors and their supervising professors.

*Number of Graduates in December
【Doctoral Graduates】
Information Science 2
Biological Sciences 6
Materials Science 1

【Congratulatory Remarks to the Graduates】
I would like to congratulate the 9 students that received their doctorate degrees today. Including those students who cannot attend this ceremony, there are 5 international students graduating today. I am proud to see our international network of graduates continuing to expand.

Recently there are many people talking about the future of science and technology in Japan. While we are directly facing a large reduction in the working age population due to a decreasing birthrate and population aging, the development of new science and technology in response to the current society and its needs is necessary to maintain and improve Japan's vitality. With the current mobility of people, materials, and information, and the profound economic growth in Asia and Africa, we must disregard the current business models and create revolutionary innovations from a global perspective in order to assure Japan's stance in the global community. Looking even broader, in order to deal with the problems such as natural resources, energy restrictions and environmental destruction due to global warming in relation to human activities, the rationale of the current economic development model of advanced nations, which focuses on the pursuit of affluence and convenience, is now being questioned. Now a new economic and societal model based on a globalized society is necessary. Whether in academia or industry, you are standing at the forefront of the development of this new science and technology.

On the other hand, science and technology itself is undergoing great changes. With the improved performance of computers, sensors, and networks, and the real-time worldwide internet connections, it is now an era where big data from around the world can be fully utilized. This era also brings about expectations for the creation of a new world supported by information and communication technology. These technologies are expected to deliver results in areas from energy issues and traffic to human welfare and agriculture. Recently the determination of a complete human 3 billion base pair genome sequence and the development of a new business that can predict various characteristics of humans with this technology have attracted much attention in the news. Due to the revolutions in sequence analysis technology, research has come to the point where we can easily determine the genome sequence of living things including our own individual genomes, and we can perform research concerning the origins of the diversity of living organisms. Also, there is a paradigm shift occurring where big data biology, the statistical analysis of huge amounts of data, is leading actual experimental biology. Ten years ago, these changes were not even considered feasible, and I believe that future developments in science and technology will far surpass our current images and ideas.

I hope that, as graduates of NAIST, you will take leading roles in the creation of this new science and technology. Recently there have been many books published concerning what is necessary to create innovative products. The core idea of creative thinking expressed in these books is, I believe, captured by Steve Jobs' phrase 'Think Different.' It is said that observation of everyday phenomena without being caught up in the norm, active interaction and conversation with people from various backgrounds to attain new perspectives and information, and attempting things in various ways are important for producing innovations. To put it simply, without locking yourself in your own field or traditional thought patterns, it is important to establish new, creative fields through collaboration with researchers from various backgrounds, and to pursue innovative ideas through experiences in the constantly evolving worlds of science and technology, and society itself. In fact, I hear of people around Japan looking for researchers who are able to do this. I hope all of you aim for this kind of innovative, active lifestyle in your careers. We, the faculty and staff of NAIST, look forward to continuing to support your research at the forefront of science and technology.

In closing, I realize that some of you will be working in basic research areas creating new technologies and discovering new scientific theories, and some of you will be working toward solving the problems facing society. However, one of the characteristics of science and technology today is the ever closing distance between the results of basic scientific research and their development and application in society. This current, close relationship represents clearly that the societal developments from science and technology research lead once again to advancements in science and technology. With this in mind, I feel those focusing on basic research should also consider the viewpoint of researchers centered on societal problems, and those focusing on technology development and applied scientific research should pay much attention to the developments in basic research.

My heartfelt congratulations to you all.

We look forward to your future success.

Naotake Ogasawara
Nara Institute of Science and Technology President, December 20, 2013

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