2019 NAIST Spring Entrance Ceremony (April 5, 2019)


On Friday, April 5, 2019, an entrance ceremony was held in the Millennium Hall.

NAIST eagerly promotes admission of students whether from Japan or overseas with strong basic academic capabilities without being bound to a major field in university as well as researchers, engineers and others currently working actively in society who have clearly defined goals and aspirations for the future as well as strong interest and enthusiasm for the fields of frontier science and technology. This spring 392 graduate students were granted admission to NAIST.

At the ceremony, Mr. Yasunori Yamashita, the Regional Development Manager of Nara Prefecture, Mr. Masashi Komurasaki, the Mayor of Ikoma City, Mr. Shigekazu Nakamura, the Executive Director of the Foundation for NAIST, Dr. Kiyoshi Kiyokawa, the chairperson of the NAIST Alumni Association were invited as guests. There was a performance of "Yobikoe", Okura School of Kyogen by the Shigeyama Family.

*Number of Enrollees in April

【Master's Course】
Science and Technology 329 (20 international students)

【Doctoral Course】
Science and Technology 63 (20 international students)

Total 392 (40 international students)

Congratulatory Remarks to Entering Students
At Entrance Ceremony, Spring 2019

 On behalf of the 350 faculty and staff members here at NAIST, I would like to welcome the 329 students entering the master's course and the 63 new and continuing students entering the doctoral course of NAIST today.

 I am pleased to announce that the incoming class includes 40 international students from 13 countries / regions. In particular, I would like to express a warm welcome to those of you who have chosen to leave your home country and study in Japan. Including the entering class today, we now have 267 international students from 33 countries / regions.

 At NAIST, one of our basic goals is the achievement of a globalized education and research environment open to the world where more than 300 international students from more than 40 different countries/regions study together and I feel we are coming very close to realizing this goal.

 NAIST is heading into its 28th year and, last year, the structural reorganization into a one graduate school system through merging the original 3 Graduate Schools of Information, Biological and Materials Sciences to the Graduate School of Science and Technology was completed. You are the 2nd class of the Graduate School of Science and Technology who will make a new page of our history

 This month marks the end of the Japanese Heisei Era and next month shall bring in the Reiwa Era. With this ceremony being in such a transitional year, I would like to take this opportunity to look at the background of NAIST's establishment. In the concept paper for NAIST's establishment released in August 1991 by the Establishment Preparatory Committee, the guiding mission of our research is described as:

  "Characteristically, the fields of frontier science and technology have wide-ranging, interdisciplinary dimensions in which innovative developments are taking place at a very rapid pace. In these fields, new knowledge from fundamental research results in technological developments in very short periods, and technological developments, in turn, become the base of fundamental research and make further progress possible. Thus, high integration of science and technology is remarkably more notable than in any other field. With this in mind, it is crucial to promote interdisciplinary fundamental research that reaches beyond traditional academic divisions in these fields."

 Also, the education mission of NAIST is explained as: "With the rapid developments in the areas of frontier science and technology, an important issue for both academic research and industry is the organized fostering of researchers and engineers capable of undertaking research and development in these fields. Especially in these fields, it is necessary to train diverse human resources with refined fundamental skills to respond flexibly to developments in science and technology, and to continuously pursue new fields of research."

 To sum this up, NAIST was founded to conduct interdisciplinary research in rapidly developing fields of frontier science and technology such as information, biological and materials sciences, by integrating science and technology and extending beyond the borders of established study areas such as engineering, physical science, agriculture and medical science. With this as our foundation, NAIST develops human resources capable of flexibly responding to developments in science and technology, and continually cultivating new leading areas of research.

 In response to the globalization of society, NAIST's current education and research mission has since been revised to include the keyword "to see [issues] from a global perspective." The mission was pioneering from the outset and continues to represent the ideas necessary for society today.

 With dynamic research in various areas including academia, research institutes, and private industry by spirited faculty members, and through organized graduate school education based on cutting-edge research, NAIST has produced 7,979 master's course and 1,560 doctoral course graduates , and 62 doctoral graduates through thesis submission since first accepting students in 1993.

 NAIST's educational and research activities have been evaluated very highly both in objective rankings and in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's (MEXT) evaluation of national university educational and research results.

 For example, NAIST has been chosen for both the Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities, a MEXT program to strengthen research prowess of recognized institutions, and the Top Global University Project, a MEXT program designed to provide support for selected universities to lead Japan's international growth. NAIST was one of only 17 institutions in Japan chosen for both of these programs.

 You should be proud of being members of one of the most prestigious universities in Japan in terms of both research and education, and I urge you to take full advantage of the valuable opportunities you will encounter at NAIST in furthering your academic career and workforce preparation.

 Closely related to our educational and research mission I mentioned before, science and technology today is changing dramatically and it can be said that we are in a revolutionary era of science and technology.

&esnp;Recent representative keywords in science, technology and industry are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Science. Through improved computer, sensor and network efficiency, houses, cars and all kinds of things are connected to the internet making the entire world interconnected in real time, and we are facing an era where integrated data use around the world is possible.

 As a result, we can also see the rise of a 'Super Smart Society' which effectively and thoroughly responds to the various needs of society in offering the necessary materials or services to the necessary people at the necessary time in the necessary amount. This is called Society 5.0 in Japan.

 These changes in societal infrastructures through this kind of ICT technology development greatly influence research methodology and its applicable fields not only in the area of information science, but in all research areas.

 For example, in the field of biological sciences, revolutions in areas such as genome DNA sequence analysis technology and cellular activity imaging technology have brought forth an era where collecting huge amounts of data on the activities of various cells and living organisms within nature, including humans, is possible. The interdisciplinary field of big data biology which is closely related to information science, has been created.

 Also, in the field of materials science, materials informatics, a new interdisciplinary field with information science, is emerging; and there are growing expectations towards pursuits for new material creation with effective molecular and material design using AI functions.

 Furthermore, progress in cutting edge medical science is expected through the connection of developments in the construction of medical databases and remote operation technology utilizing virtual and augmented reality in information sciences, the development of embedded biodevices utilizing element microminiaturization and flexible biocompatible materials in materials science, and the advancements of developmental and cellular biology within biological science.

 As demonstrated by this, within the revolutions of science and technology developments towards the interdisciplinary fields that span the 3 main advanced science and technology areas at NAIST, information, biological and materials sciences, are becoming very prominent. With this, of course, researchers and technicians in these interdisciplinary fields will come to be in great demand.

 It is thought that revolutions in science and technology will not stop within research but bring about large changes to society and mankind. A major example of this is the reaching of 'singularity', the achievement of computer abilities that surpass our own, advocated by Ray Kurzweil.

 It is said that in the mid-2040's, many of the occupations that currently exist will disappear and new occupations will appear in their place. At that time, you will be the generation leading society.

 The last year's organizational restructuring for a single graduate school system surrounding the Graduate School of Science and Technology was performed considering these rapid changes in science and technology and societal evolution, to thoroughly strengthen interdisciplinary area Education Programs as a university to enable graduates to undertake pursuits in new fields and not only work in their current field of specialization.

 All of you have left your previous places of study and I believe you are entering NAIST with high expectations for your future experiences here. After this you will be introduced to all the laboratories of the Graduate School of Science and Technology, be placed in a laboratory, and choose an Education Program. After this, you will proceed with your life and activities at NAIST, starting your studies and beginning your research.

 Please do not limit yourself to your previous knowledge and experience, but instead take a "large step forward" and challenge yourself to unlock new possibilities. Remember, NAIST's motto is 'Outgrow your Limits.' NAIST faculty and staff will support you in undertaking new challenges.

 Looking towards the future, at NAIST I hope you equip yourself with the basic tools that will allow you to not depend solely upon the knowledge and skills of only one area of specialization, but instead apply the methodologies of your respective fields to other fields to continually pursue new areas of research and rise above singularity.

 Finally, I hope you will enjoy your life at NAIST in good health. You will meet many new people here at NAIST and I hope that you will treasure these friendships. This network of friends and colleagues will not only widen your research and academic activities, but also become a priceless part of your entire life.

 In concluding my message, I hope you will have a successful student life and have great expectations for your future activities.

 Congratulations once again on entering NAIST.

President Naokazu Yokoya,
Nara Institute of Science and Technology
April 5, 2019

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