Message from the President

MASUYAMA Araki, Ph.D. (Eng.)

Raising Professionals to be Active in Society 5.0

Japan is poor in energy resources and not high in food self-sufficiency, either. The country's future, I would not hesitate to say, depends on how well it can train people in technical skills, particularly in the areas of cutting-edge manufacturing, information technologies in a network society, and intellectual property management.
The Osaka Institute of Technology (OIT), as we approach our 100th anniversary, has been fulfilling that role of training people throughout its history.
Our founding spirit is still alive today, providing the basis for the education and research opportunities we offer. These principles state that for the good of humanity and the world, and for the good of the region, we shall train people in practical engineering skills backed by theory to be capable of working effectively in the field and on the floor.

The world has been thrown into chaos by COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020, and we are stalled with no way out. Until there is a wider rollout of vaccinations and the development of effective treatments, I am afraid that we will still be unable to turn the corner. To get through these times of living with the coronavirus, it could be argued that we need risk management based on the collection and analysis of big data. Whether we like it or not, circumstances are pushing us toward a "new normal." This inevitably accelerates a shift over to Society 5.0, and the absolute necessity of a digital transformation (abbreviated as "DX") across a wide range of spheres can no longer be denied.

To meet this challenge, at the beginning of this fiscal year at OIT, we opened a fifth department in the Faculty of Information Science and Technology - the Department of Data Science. In this department, students will learn about societal and business structures based on information technology while developing a mindset for value creation, the ability to solve problems, and good communication skills as they gain a command of AI (artificial intelligence), ICT (information and communication technology), and big data. With the opening of this department, we have started preparing a curriculum that offers data science education and an integration of the sciences and humanities throughout the university. We aim to bolster our quality assurance initiatives aimed at student learning outcomes to produce talented graduates from all of our faculties and graduate schools?so that they may be prospective members conversant with Society 5.0.

In addition, we are proud that OIT was listed for the first time in UK-based "The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2021," published in September 2020. These rankings are based on 13 performance indicators in five areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook, and industry income. Only the top 7% of 23,000 institutions of higher education around the world are ranked.
In the area of research in particular, OIT is a high achiever. At Innovation JAPAN 2020, an online trade fair organized by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), we had the highest number of research projects selected among all universities in Japan (for the second time, after 2018). Also, as part of the JST's program of Start-up Incubation from Core Research (SCORE) (university promotion type), OIT was selected in collaboration with Kobe University as an entrepreneurial organization to provide GAP funds to support university-generated ventures. We have also been commissioned for major projects by NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), and have been doing research in connection with SDGs and World Expo 2025 to be held in Osaka, Kansai - all while strengthening our training of people in practical engineering skills.

All of these initiatives are aimed at living up to our university's educational ideals - to meet the demands of society and the times we live in, providing an opportunity to acquire the basics of technical scholarship and the ability to apply that learning into practice, as well as to cultivate broad perspectives and human sensibilities, and raise engineers who are strong in mind and body, who pursue intellectual and technical avenues with creativity and a pioneering spirit.
As we enter an age in which the future will be even harder to predict, we will continue to pursue forward-looking reforms in our educational and research systems to produce engineers who have learning in both humanities and sciences so that they become innovative professionals with good all-around sensibilities for a new era. Thank you for your continued support in these endeavors.

April 2021