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April

REPORT

Waseda University and NTT concludes an agreement for Comprehensive Academic-Industrial Collaboration

moving toward the development of key technologies for information and telecommunication from national to international levels

On January 28th, 2008, Waseda University and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (hereinafter referred to as "NTT") concluded an agreement for Comprehensive Academic-Industrial Collaboration in the fields of information and telecommunication fields. Prof. Hirochika Nakajima, Director of the Research Promotion Division, gives us some background to the agreement and explains future projects/programs.

A New Type of Powerful Partnership at an Organizational Level

Waseda University and NTT concluded an agreement for Comprehensive Academic-Industrial Collaboration to establish a full-scale partnership at an organizational level in the fields of information and telecommunication. Focusing on technologies for information and telecommunication platform including basic/device technologies and information security technologies and making best use of resources like expertise, personnel and equipment of both organizations, Waseda University and NTT are committed to building up a new type of powerful partnership.

Waseda University and NTT have been long engaged in collaborative activities including joint or contract researches (several projects per year) on technologies for information and telecommunication platform including basic/device technologies. The principal difference between the Comprehensive Academic-Industrial Collaboration and typical research collaboration lies in the role of the Collaboration Council composed of members from both organizations, who propose and discuss projects and review their progress on an on-going basis (See the Figure).

Background to the Agreement

Waseda University is Japan's first private university that established Electrical Communication Department in 1942 and has played a leading role in research and HR development in information and telecommunication fields, while conducting research in collaboration with national and international private enterprises, central and local governments and other universities.

On the other hand, NTT is exclusively engaged in cross-sectional key research and development for the entire NTT Group and has established a strong position in the world as one of the most comprehensive R&D bases.

As mentioned above, Waseda University and NTT have been long engaged in collaborative activities including joint researches, joint experiments and personnel exchange projects. Since many of the activities were planned and developed separately as a result of individual ties between researchers from the two organizations, it was difficult to create new collaborative ties or interdisciplinary collaboration for cross-sectional research.

This agreement was concluded in order to address issues on an organization-to-organization basis while maintaining and developing the existing friendly relationship between the two organizations, to strengthen research activities, including projects for creative research, and to nurture human resources with advanced research and development skills.

Before the conclusion, Research Collaboration and Promotion Center within Waseda University Research Promotion Division thoroughly identified the needs of both parties, helped their discussions on the terms of the agreement and checked out the details. Over 10 meetings were organized by the Secretariat with the cooperation of the Research Collaboration and Promotion Center and Waseda University Research Institute Initiative Co., Ltd. It is also important that, in the process, collaboration and trust were created between internal and external staff.

Objectives of the Agreement

First, joining Waseda University's 125-year advanced and diversified knowledge and education-research skills to NTT's R&D skills in information and telecommunication, the agreement aims to promote and invigorate the University's education-research activities and to advance NTT's R&D activities and promote their efficiency.

Second, the agreement aims to create new collaborative ties and interdisciplinary, creative collaboration for cross-sectional research planning and development; specifically to meet diversified social needs for information and telecommunication, to apply the results of collaborative activities to business, to combine each organization's resources for optimal use.

Third, the agreement also aims to spread original, interdisciplinary technologies nationwide and worldwide, especially to other Asian nations; specifically to conduct internship programs including hands-on training in the basics of cutting-edge technologies and to promote personnel and technological exchange at the University's foreign bases in Beijing and Singapore in an effort to nurture young researchers and engineers to be international leaders. NTT is determined to develop its international standardization projects and expected, in this respect, to pursue its strategies involving other Asian nations, which will draw a great advantage from Waseda University's Asian network.

Features of the Agreement

This agreement has mainly three features: 1) Collaboration Council at the core of management, 2) Promotion of research activities and 3) Promotion of educational activities.

1) Collaboration Council at the core of management

The Collaboration Council is responsible for the management of activities based on the agreement. It is composed of eight members; one director and three of the research collaboration and promotion staff from each organization. The objectives of the Council are to manage the research collaboration and to make the established individual ties between researchers stronger and closer.

Through discussions, the Council shares a common understanding about R&D projects as well as HR development programs and build up diversified and creative collaborative relationships in a wide range of fields. Research collaboration starts with discussions on new projects from which the Council selects joint projects. Researchers from both organizations set goals and make a schedule for each joint project, while the Council arranges an environment that helps promote the researchers' collaboration. The Council's meetings are held on a regular basis to review the progress and schedule so that the projects can achieve better results.

In addition to making the established individual ties between researchers stronger and closer, the Council makes efforts to combine each organization's resources for optimal use as well as to meet each organization's needs in order to create new collaborative ties and promote interdisciplinary, creative collaboration for cross-sectional research.

2) Promotion of research activities

This agreement aims to promote collaborative research in information and telecommunication fields focusing on technologies for information and telecommunication platform including basic/device technologies. These fields are at the core of the New IT Reform Strategy advocated by the government.

The government's IT Strategic Headquarters established the New IT Reform Strategy as part of National IT Strategy Plan starting from 2006. It declares, "Japan will achieve a complete transformation of itself through the utilization of IT to achieve sustainable development becoming an autonomous and collaborative IT society in which all citizens can proactively participate," and the three principles of the New IT Reform Strategy are 1) Significant advancement through structural reforms, 2) Emphasizing users and citizens and 3) International contribution and the strengthening of international competitiveness. It is expected that R&D and business are promoted in a broader perspective. The New IT Reform Strategy also declares that Japan will achieve the above transformation "by FY 2010," in expectation of rapid technological development and diversification of social needs.

In an effort to meet such social needs, Waseda University and NTT join their long-cultivated advanced R&D skills and are planning to launch interdisciplinary research projects, focusing on the fields of science and engineering and yet involving those of law, economics, sociology and psychology in order to spread technologies contributable to the creation of information and telecommunication systems in the next generation.

3) Promotion of educational activities

This agreement aims to promote joint research as well as to carry out mutually complementary educational/HR development activities; especially to promote personnel exchange through internship and other programs, to hold educational seminars for technological personnel, and to accelerate technological exchange among researchers in a wide range of fields from Waseda University and NTT.

Projects/Programs

For the present, the following projects and programs are scheduled under the collaboration agreement.

There are two joint research projects: 1) Research on technologies for authentication and authorization in consideration of service scalability and usability and 2) Research on high-frequency, high-power electron devices using diamond. On the other hand, HR development is scheduled as 1) HR exchange through internship and other programs and 2) Personnel and technological exchange at foreign bases.

Detailed schedules for the above projects and programs will be developed by the Collaboration Council. In its first meeting held on March 3rd, the members developed a framework for collaborative management and reached a common understanding.

The Collaboration Council is planning to develop on an on-going basis some five research projects in parallel. What is important for collaborative activities is that both parties can derive advantages from them. NTT Lab has prominent researchers and highly advanced systems and equipment. In "HR exchange through an internship program," students are supposedly trained to use such devices and equipment and the program will be more professional than typical training programs. That should not however place an unfair burden on NTT. For that reason, too, it is necessary to create a framework for joint research from which both parties can derive advantages.

The credit transfer system as to the internship program will be determined in consultation with the Academic Affairs Division and the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The Keyword is now Collaboration, instead of Competition

We have made efforts to prepare this agreement as an independent one and at the same time elaborated it for its future development in view. In effect, there are different types of academic-industrial collaboration and we look on this agreement as a prototype and are building up our experience on it.

Earlier this year, criteria for evaluating research universities were shifted from 'Competition alone' to 'Collaboration included.' As the example of the Competitive Research Fund showed, the performance of research universities was evaluated in terms with their competitiveness. Recently, however, emphasis has been placed on collaboration, international as well as national collaboration including collaborative relationships between different types of entities, for example, among government, industry and academia or between national (public) and private universities.

Collaboration between different types of entities has many difficulties including the issue of intellectual property rights. Nonetheless, what is critical for a top-class university to survive as such is to cope with such difficulties and build up collaboration or partnership from which both parties can derive advantages.

On the understanding of the critical circumstances, the Research Promotion Division made every possible effort to prepare the agreement. For example, we prepared a common form of individual joint research projects to be conducted under the agreement and incorporated it in the agreement form. For additional information, please contact the following staff. We are also planning to ask young researchers and doctoral students to submit collaborative projects for consideration. Both the bottom-up and top-down approaches should be made.

The Collaboration Council is also responsible for boosting the teaching staff's project management through its prior evaluation, interim evaluation and results review, externally assuring the results. We are also distributing resources, having shared objectives in view.

When the agreement is implemented and developed as specific activities, our accumulated experience will result in a more powerful management.

Figure Composition of the Collaboration Council
Waseda University NTT
Collaboration Council Director Hideyoshi Tominaga
Professor
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies
Executive Director
Information Sharing Laboratory Group
Hiromichi Shinohara

Member

Shuji Hashimoto
Director
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Koh Miyake
Director
Service Integration Laboratories
Yoshiji Horikoshi
(Field of Science and Engineering)
Professor
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Youichi Kihara
Director of Planning Division
Information Sharing Platform Laboratories
Naohisa Komatsu
Academic Affairs Manager
School of Fundamental Science and Engineering
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Toshiki Makimoto
Director of Planning Division
Basic Research Laboratories
Office Research Promotion Division
Waseda University Research Institute Initiative Co., Ltd.
Service Integration Laboratories Academic-Industrial Collaboration Group

In addition, Planning and Management Committee is to be established as a sub-organization to facilitate the activities of the Council.

Contact:
Research Collaboration and Promotion Center, Research Promotion Division
TEL: +81-3-5286-9867
E-mail: contact-tlo@list.waseda.jp
Waseda University Research Institute Initiative, UIC Team
TEL: +81-3-3203-4427
E-mail:bu-producer@list.waseda.jp