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Campus Now

Autumn Issue (Nov.)


2009 Academic Year MEXT Global COE

The "Sport Science: Creating an Active Life" Program

The "Global COE (Center of Excellence) Program" of the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) provides focused support for the formation of internationally outstanding educational and research centers, and promotes the creation of internationally competitive universities. This academic year, a program led by Professor Kazuyuki Kanosue of the Faculty of Sports Sciences (also featured in the "Prologue" section on page 20 of this newsletter) was selected for the program. This new selection gives Waseda University a total of 8 Global COE centers, the most of any private university.

Health Issues are Universal
Heightened Expectations for Sports

The "active life" which is the goal of the "Sport Science: Creating an Active Life" program is more than just a healthy body and mind. It also includes the form of a region and society that enables its citizens to live a life full of energy. Although Japan has the longest life expectancy of any country in the world, the number of elderly who require nursing care is increasing every year. Furthermore, metabolic syndrome has become a social problem among the middle-aged and elderly. Also, the mental and physical issues held by children have become increasingly obvious. These issues are not limited to only physical strength and athletic ability, but also include the serious problems of interpersonal and social relationships.

These kinds of health problems are becoming universal. The great potential of sports (exercise) as a solution to these problems is the focus of expectation. The "Declaration of Punta del Este" issued by UNESCO in 1999 states that "an investment of 1 dollar in physical activities results in a 3 dollar reduction in medical costs."

An international center named the "Sport Science Center for Active Life (SSCAL)" has been established as part of the "Sport Science: Creating an Active Life" program. The program is also working to construct an international network between domestic and overseas institutions focusing on sports science research and education, as well as between sports science partnering institutions. These actions mark the start of activities designed to solve the health issues described above.

International Development of Professionals Who Will Support Sports

Although expectations towards sports are increasing, many fields which support sports have a profound lack of professionals who combine advanced expertise and knowledge in a wide range of sports science. In order to become a leading educational and research center in both Japan and throughout the world, the program has created the following plan for the development of professionals:

(1) Enhance the education of women which is lacking in the field of sports science. Furthermore, develop an adult entrance program that encourages entrance into the doctoral program by individuals with experience in sports. Finally, actively accept capable students from overseas, particularly from Asia and Oceania.
(2) Provide outstanding students with the opportunity to engage in overseas research and to be active internationally. Also, establish an academic degree course that is taught in English only.
(3) Develop a system that enables devoted work in education and research through the aspects of funding based on results and employment. Also, cooperate with the Waseda University Doctorate Career Center and with domestic and international institutions in order to propose a variety of career paths.

Construct a new academic system for the creation of an energetic community and society.

In order to achieve the goals listed above, the program has set the following issues as project strategy themes:

I: Prevent decreases in physical strength and promote the healthy development of children in an IT society.
II: Reduce medical and nursing care (social security) costs and create meaningful lives for the middle-aged and elderly.
III: Pursue measures for the prosperity of sport in order to realize happiness among mankind.

"Sports science" itself is an interdisciplinary and composite academic field. However, the program is not concerned simply with the all-around expansion of sports science. By advancing the projects described above, the program seeks to construct a new academic system that is worthy of being called "Sport Science for Active Life."

Image showing the development of the Sport Science Center for Active Life (SSCAL)

Image showing the creation of Active Life

*Please visit the homepage of the research center for further details