Waseda University cosponsored the Innovation Ecosystem Symposium: Industry-Academic-Government Cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) on April 7, 2016. Over 100 participants within and outside of the university attended the symposium.
The Waseda Edge Program became the catalyst of this symposium, which discussed the future possibilities of industries, universities, and the government collaborating together.
Waseda Edge, a professional development program jointly administered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Commerce, established a creative space for innovation, the Social Design Workshop Kyousoukan, which integrates ideas of experts from the humanities and sciences. By providing a variety of entrepreneurship education programs, Waseda Edge nurtures leaders who contribute to the happiness of our world by creating businesses on a global scale, as well as becoming the center of sustainable innovation ecosystem.
In the beginning, President Kaoru Kamata emphasized that this is an opportunity to debate how to create something innovative together with industry leaders, MEXT, and the University’s researchers. By each entity clarifying what their goals are, what they can offer, and what they lack, I believe that professional development programs and research results offer a new possibility of collaboration between businesses, research institutions, and the government to construct an innovation ecosystem for Japan to survive in this revolutionizing global society.
After the lectures, MEXT’s Administrative Vice-Minister Sadayuki Tsuchiya noted, “To develop ideas into businesses is not an easy task. However, accumulating knowledge, technology, human resources, and funding to run an innovation ecosystem is necessary. Accelerating an innovation ecosystem at Waseda University will encourage a friendly competition, in other words, interaction among industries, universities, and the government to build a foundation for new business market. I look forward to Waseda University actively taking leadership in this effort.”
MEXT’s Regional Innovation Strategy Support Program Manager Shuichi Sakamoto said, “The core of open innovation is interdisciplinary research. Currently, society calls for Japanese universities to promote change in research management system and develop researchers adapted to this new environment. In the future, we hope to realize establishing an innovation ecosystem through collaboration with businesses by means of human resources and funding.”
In addition, Atsushi Morihara, Chief Technology Officer of Mitsubishi Corporation’s Global Environmental Infrastructure Business Group and Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, made suggestions about how businesses and universities work together for the future. He commented that, “Mitsubishi Corporation has been making organizational efforts to work together businesses and academic institutions. We have collaborated with universities to do contracted research projects; however, structural reforms on evaluating human resources in universities and young researchers and professors initiating a strategic research plan for businesses are becoming even more crucial. Businesses and universities must go forth with these discussion issues and take action as we build a stronger bond between the two forces.”
Furthermore, presentations regarding previous examples of collaboration between academic institutions and businesses were followed by a panel discussion to consider how to develop professionals, how to utilize research results in order to start a new business, and how to prepare professionals working in such organizations.
At the end of the symposium, Vice President Hashimoto mentioned that “this event was the first of its kind, and we are extremely pleased with the outcome. We would like to continue having discussions like these together with businesses and governmental organizations as Waseda University aims for an innovation ecosystem.”