Developing human resources to lead the Energy-Next initiative
A material science education and research center that can address any issue
Waseda University emphasizes the practical application of knowledge in its mission and endeavors “to develop methods that utilize knowledge, academic research, learning, and contribute to the progress of civilization.” The Faculty of Science and Engineering was established in 1908, combining basic science and practical engineering, and is at the forefront of research and creation. However, in recent industry the importance of creating new value for society has become clear. Waseda University established its own nanotechnology research and education center to address the need for human resources to research and develop materials, foresee potential future needs and solutions, and produce technology essential to creating value. Research conducted at this center has produced unique results, including porous materials designed in nanometer-scale, manufacturing processes that utilize material pores, development of simulation techniques for minimal resource loss using modeling, and organic plastic with soft batteries that can store and instantaneously release large amounts of electrical power from any location. At our energy nanomaterial center, we will continue to build on these existing achievements and address complex, worldwide issues in order to bring about sustainable and smart lifestyles.
Implementing the Energy-Next initiative
Out of all the global issues we face, the need for a solution to the energy crisis is especially urgent. Selected as part of the Ministry of Education’s Program for Leading Graduate Schools, the Waseda University Leading Graduate Program in Science and Engineering was launched three years ago. Its aim is advocating Energy-Next—a pioneering initiative for the creation, transport, storage, and emission of energy—and educating future global leaders who will support its research, development, and application. The Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering was established in April 2014 and offers a straight 5-year Ph.D. course that is not separated into Master’s and Doctoral programs. Curriculums are thorough and integrate specialized lectures on energy science and engineering, discussion-based and practical seminars, and scientific and technical English courses. Additional programs such as internships at industrial institutions are also available. Energy-Next not only focuses on large-scale production and optimization through improvement and reform, but also on a wider range of scientific fields that cover the search for completely new energy sources, combination of energy processes that have been previously eluded by researchers, and practical application of bioenergy sensors. The initiative places great importance on improving the ability to identify and solve problems, as well as examining problems from the bottom up and by utilizing backcasting. In order to implement this initiative, it is necessary to work internationally, collaborate with other leading universities and research institutions, and create a substantial curriculum. These programs will increase opportunities to attend lectures, seminars, and face-to-face discuss with top-class academics from institutions around the world. The “Energy-Next” initiative has received major support also from leading domestic and international companies that are working with Waseda University to facilitate the programs. These efforts will make Waseda University a place of learning that attracts talent from around the world while retaining the merits of a Japanese education and research system.