Recently the social environment has been changing on a global scale. Human beings are facing numerous challenges such as economic downturns and environmental issues. Under these circumstances, excellent human resources are indispensable in solving global challenges for future generations. Unfortunately, opportunities for doctoral degree holders with a high level of specialization are limited, which is an intellectual loss for Japan.
The Program for Leading Graduate Schools (Leading Program in short) supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) aims to enhance the development of doctoral degree holders. This program is designed to foster students to become leaders who have high levels of specialization, are able to scrutinize society from a broad perspective, and who will play active roles globally, in the industrial, academic and governmental sectors.
Cultivating “courageous intellectuals” is a key philosophy in Nagoya University’s Academic Charter, which also aims to nurture students into well-educated persons who have expertise and a strong desire to contribute widely to society and to humanity, while fostering communication skills and the ability to address issues from a broad perspective. This concept of “courageous intellectuals” is the same as the concept of this Leading Program. We will continue making efforts to foster doctoral degree holders in future by strengthening both education and research.
At present, Nagoya University has the following six Leading Programs: Integrative Graduate Education and Research Program in Green Natural Sciences, Cross-Border Legal Institution Design, PhD Professional: Gateway to Success in Frontier Asia, Leadership Development Program for Space Exploration and Research, Graduate Program for Real-World Data Circulation Leaders, and Women Leaders Program to Promote “Well-being” in Asia. Each program’s purpose, respectively, is to contribute to the environment, promote international collaboration in the field of law, foster leaders to play an active role in society, develop the space sciences, contribute to the information society, and, realize gender equality in society. Nagoya University aims to foster global leaders in these various fields. In order to further enhance these six Leading Programs, the Organization for the Promotion of Leading Graduate Schools was established to develop various curricula across the fields under the common philosophy of strengthening the cultivation of doctoral degree holders.
With much effort, the groundwork is now in place to accept talented doctoral degree holders from the Program for Leading Graduate Schools. We will continue to move forward as a “knowledge hub,” in order to make a lasting academic contribution to society.
Historically, Japanese graduate schools have been considered as training institutions for university positions. There has always been a question of the relevance of such a focus. In addition, while the number of doctoral degree holders has increased steadily, how to effectively utilize highly specialized individuals has become an issue. This situation is not just unique to Japan but also exists throughout the world.
In 2011, the year that the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated the country, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) reformed the process of developing doctoral degree holders, and started the Program for Leading Graduate Schools to promote a multidisciplinary approach to the highest levels of education in the country.
Six Leading Programs have been adopted at our university. We are taking an inclusive approach in constructing a cross-disciplinary system for education and research, beyond the boundaries of traditional research fields. Academic staff are working with enthusiasm to develop students’ knowledge, skills and abilities. This university-wide deployment has worked well and we have developed a program that corresponds to the needs of the society. Students who joined our Leading Program have been growing socially as well as academically.
A major feature of Nagoya University’s initiatives is that we pay attention to not only Europe and the United States of America but also to Asian countries. We believe that by cooperating with universities and foreign students of rapidly developing Asian countries, our students will become highly motivated to contribute to the society, not only as excellent academic successors, but also as a young generation of graduates with a new sense of values, wide perspective, international experience and leadership mind, who work for international organizations, private companies, and national education and research institutions. I have high expectations for them as our future leaders.