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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May. 2015)


Toward a university offering world-class education and research.
Waseda research connects with the world

Waseda University is currently working to further enhance its educational and research capability with the aim of becoming a hub for international education and research.
Waseda Vision 150, the mid-and long-term plan which was formulated in 2012, has also set the goal of "taking bold efforts to become an international education and research university." Our entire university is striving to further improve our educational and research capability.
The Waseda Ocean Concept, which was selected for the MEXT's Top Global University Project, clarifies initiatives for raising the level of educational and research capability by making priority investment on six research areas with international competitiveness.
This article introduces the hottest research at Waseda today.

Waseda research capability: By the numbers

Number of selected projects per field for KAKENHI is
top in 10 fields

Among newly-selected projects for KAKENHI (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research) over the past 5 years as disclosed by the MEXT, Waseda University is top in the following 10 fields: political science, civil law, foreign language education, Japanese literature, Japanese language education, educational engineering, finance, educational psychology, commercial science, and Chinese literature. This demonstrates our university's strength in the humanities and social sciences. Furthermore, despite not having a school of medicine, Waseda ranks in the top 10 in 16 fields related to the sciences.

In QS World University Rankings, Waseda University is
within the top 100 in 5 research fields
of humanities/social sciences and sciences.
Within the top 200 in 13 research fields

According to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014 announced by the British university ranking institution Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. (QS), Waseda University is within the top 100 in 5 of the 30 research fields. These fields are Modern Languages, Linguistics, Law and Legal studies, Economics and Econometrics, and Engineering-Mechanical. Furthermore, Waseda ranks within the top 200 in a total of 13 research fields, which is the best record of any private Japanese university.

Rate of increase for cited papers is
119%, highest of any Japanese university
Number of papers has also increased by 70%, top of any domestic university

*The number of research papers in 2001 is used as the index of "1".
*Based on NISTEP's "Benchmarking of Japanese Universities with a focus on Research Papers 2012," we performed an independent tabulation using InCites from the Web of Science of Thomson Reuters. Tabulation was performed for all document types (Article, Letter, Proceedings Paper, Review, etc.) from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2012 for the target databases (Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index).

According to the rate of increase for the number of research papers* as announced by the MEXT's National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), the rate of increase for papers at Waseda University is 70%, with the rate of increase for cited papers at 119%. This is the highest rate of increase for any Japanese university in terms of both amount and quality of papers. Moreover, according to the results of a survey conducted by our university's Center for Research Strategy, this rate of increase for research papers greatly exceeds the global average (see p. 6).

*This survey targets universities which produced at least 1,000 research papers during the 10-year period from 2002 to 2011, and compares the number of submitted research papers for the period from 1997 to 2001 and the period 2007-2011.


Aiming to become a global hub for education and research

Atsushi Ishiyama (Executive Director of Research Promotion, Professor at the Faculty of Science and Engineering) joined us for a discussion of results and research strategies which have been conducted by Waseda University, as well as the future outlook.

Enhancing educational and research capacity, and fulfilling our university's mission of contributing to the resolution of social issues

Professor Atsushi Ishiyama(Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Executive Director of Research Promotion

In 1977, Atsushi Ishiyama graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. In 1982, he completed the Doctoral Program in Electrical Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. He holds a Ph.D in Engineering. In 1983, he was appointed as Assistant Professor (full-time instructor) at the School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. He was appointed as Assistant Professor in 1985. He assumed his current position in 1991. He has held posts including Director of Research Promotion, Dean of the School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Dean of the Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering, Director of the Center for Research Strategy, and Director of the Organization for University Research Initiatives. He was appointed as Executive Director of Research Promotion in November 2014.

- Please discuss past efforts by Waseda University for enhancing research capability.

When national universities became independent administrative institutions in 2004, a large number of significant grants became available from the national government. This was the start of an era in which national universities and private universities would engage in fierce competition on the same playing field. At the same time, society began to expect even greater things from universities. Examples are high-level research activities, as well as the cultivation of global leaders who can contribute to the resolution of social issues on a global scale; specifically, the globalization of industry and economics, and the increasing severity of environmental issues. Accordingly, it became necessary for universities to enhance their organizational research capability.

As one of the pillars of Waseda Next 125 which was enacted in 2008, Waseda University proposed "significant advances in the 'Waseda of Research.'" By implementing organizational research strategies, we began university-wide activities for increasing the level of research throughout our entire university. Specific examples include the Research Council, which was established in April 2009 in order to promote organizational research activities, and the Center for Research Strategy, which is responsible for planning/proposing research strategies and managing research. We also created the position of URA (Research Administrator)* within the Center for Research Strategy, and performed activities such as surveying/analysis of trends in scientific technology policy and research, support for the acquisition of large external funding, and promulgation of research results. In 2012, we enacted Waseda Vision 150, thus submitting to society a mid-and-long term plan leading to our school's 150th anniversary in 2032. We are working to enhance research capability in order to contribute to world peace and the happiness of mankind. These university-wide activities have spurred joint research and industry-academia partnerships among a variety of parties including individual researches, teams, undergraduate schools, and graduate schools. Consequently, the research capability of Waseda University is improving dramatically.

* URA (University Research Administrator): A research management professional who works to develop an environment for invigorating the activities of researchers and who strengthens R&D management at the university.

- What are some examples of specific results?

*Created based on KAKENHI data disclosed by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
*Relative value calculated by using the number of selections in 2001 as "1." Numbers shown in the graph indicate the number of selections.
*RU11 (Research University 11): Hokkaido University, Tohoku University, University of Tsukuba, The University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Keio University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nagoya University, Kyoto University, Osaka University, Kyushu University

Recently, the MEXT announced data from a survey of projects selected for KAKENHI (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research) over the past 5 years. Waseda University had the greatest number of selected projects in 10 research fields including political science and civil law, posting the best record of any private university. KAKENHI is the most fair index for evaluating the performance of university researchers. Accordingly, the high number of Waseda projects selected indicates that high-level research is being performed by outstanding researchers and teams at our university. During the past 5 years, our university has the highest rate of increase for projects selected for KAKENHI. Furthermore, the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) has issued a 2012 report which calculates the rate of increase for research papers in the period from 1997 to 2001 and the period from 2007 to 2011. According to this report, the number of research papers at Waseda has increased by 70%, with the number of cited papers increasing by 119%. This means that our university has the highest rate of increase in terms of both volume and quality. From the perspective of research results, it is clear that Waseda is globally recognized for its research capability.

In terms of large-scale grants from the national government, 8 Waseda projects were selected for the Global COE Program (2007 to 2009), which aims to form outstanding international bases for education and research. A further 2 projects were selected for the Program for Leading Graduate Schools (2011 to 2013), which seeks to construct a new degree program for fundamental innovation in graduate school education. In the Grant to Support the Formation of Outstanding Graduate Schools (2012 to 2013), Waseda was received an extremely positive evaluation, ranking 6th among all national and private universities in Japan. The Grant selected universities which posted extremely good results and received ex-post evaluations, such as the Global COE Program.

* KAKENHI (Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research): Accepts applications for all fields, from the humanities and social sciences to natural sciences. Proposals are made based on the innovative ideas of researchers, and all researchers belonging to a university are targeted for the program. Recently, as a fair and equal evaluation of research capability, KAKENHI is increasingly used as selection criteria for research grants.

Becoming an international educational/research university which represents Asia
- What are the strengths and outstanding points of Waseda's educational and research capability?

As a comprehensive university, Waseda University has strengths in numerous research fields. In fact, in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014, our university was ranked within the top 100 in a total of 5 research fields in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Our highest ranking was 36th for Modern Languages. It is no exaggeration to say that Waseda University receives the highest global recognition for research capability of any private university in Japan. Yet another strength of our university is how we conduct interdisciplinary research with our high level of expertise in these research fields.

In order to take full advantage of our strengths and to realize further internationalization in education and research, we have selected advance 6 bases (Positive Political Economy, Health Promotion: The Joy of Sports and Exercise, ICT and Robotics, Japanese Culture Studies, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Energy and Nanomaterials) for the Top Global University Program (2014 to 2023). The 6 bases were selected based on past research results. The first step is to conduct concentrated investment in these bases and further increase international recognition, thus raising the level of educational and research capability in other area. Within the next 10 years, our goals are to be ranked in the top 100 universities in the world in 18 research fields. We have already formed close relationships with world-leading universities in the advance 6 bases. Currently, we are working to establish Waseda University as a global hub for education and research by promoting the exchange of professionals. One example of such activities is the Joint Appointment System* for the acceptance of faculty members and researchers from overseas. Through such efforts, we will further accelerate the realization of Waseda Vision 150.

*Joint Appointment System: System which enables faculty members/researchers to belong to multiple institutions and receive salary from each institution.

- What are some unique activities for realizing a university with international education and research?

We seek to establish Waseda University as an international educational/research university which represents Asia. We want to become an indispensable part of international society, with students aspiring to attend Waseda and researchers wishing to work with Waseda. Of course, funding is required in order to conduct world-class research, and we must also cultivate young researchers to play a leading role. Upon being selected for the MEXT's Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities (2012 to 2022), we formulated the 3 basic policies listed below for enhancing research capability and enacted a concept for realizing enhanced research capability. We are now working to implements these policies and concepts.

- How do you view the cultivation of young researchers to lead the next generation?

In order to establish our position as an international education/research university, it is important to cultivate young researchers who will form the core of future research. For example, the core of our research in robot engineering was Professor Ichiro Kato, who is famous for developing the world's first bipedal walking robot and the robot which gave musical performances at Tsukuba Expo. Other faculty members carried on the work of Professor Kato and are now the core of a robot engineering team at Waseda University. Needless to say, we want to increase the number of young researchers who will support the high research capability of Waseda, and it is essential for our university to cultivate such researchers. However, when looking at the age group of researchers at Waseda, there are too few researchers between the ages of 35 and 45—the period during which most researchers produces their best results. By creating powerful research teams and centers, promoting the acquisition of external funding, and developing an environment which allows concentration on research, we are striving to cultivate young researchers and to form a "research growth spiral" for producing global professionals in a variety of fields.

From 2015, we will start the Program to Cultivate Next-Generation Core Researchers. In addition to promoting the work of young researchers who will lead the next generation, this program provides university-wide support through activities such as fostering skills needed for team research and management abilities required in a research environment, as well as deploying URAs to implement joint international research. For the first year of the program we selected 4 researchers from the fields of science, humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary sciences. This program will continue in the long-term, and we plan to provide support for about the next 10 years.

Internationalization will never change the Waseda spirit of working for society
- In closing, please give a message to the youth today.

Our goal is to have Waseda recognized as an international education/research university which represents Asia. We want to establish Waseda as a hub of international education and research where students and researchers from around the world aspire to learn. However, regardless of the extent of internationalization at our university, we are committed to always retaining our basic philosophy of cultivating professionals who work for the good of society. That is the Waseda spirit.