Rector Magnificus Elmer Sterken brengt deze week een werkbezoek aan Japan. Hij is onder meer aanwezig bij het Science and Technology in Society Forum in Japan. Zie ook onderstaande Engelse samenvatting.
On Sunday October 5th the 11th edition of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum started. The STS Forum brings government leaders, business executives and University presidents together in the same conference center where the Kyoto Protocol has been signed. On the first day Prime Minister Abe gave a speech about the continuous effort by the Japanese government to invest into innovation. He gave examples of the car industry and stam cell research. French Minister of Foreign Affairs and international Development Fabius talked about the importance of the Kyoto Protocol which will be evaluated in 2015 in Paris. He quoted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the importance of environmental policy: "There is no Plan B, since there is no Planet B."
In an interesting session on the role of universities in the 21st century President Aoun of the Northeastern University (Boston) talked about the changing demands of University students: they want customization, values, and jobs. It is time to change education from knowledge- and teacher-based to experience- and student-based. The Session Chair, Eric Mazur, could not agree more.
At the STS Forum a meeting for University Presidents is part of the sessions. This year President Hirano of Osaka University, a well-known partner of the University of Groningen, was the chair. Different topics were discussed: the internal organization of the university, international recruitment, interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration. About 30 Presidents from around the globe participated.
In another session the future of science and engineering education was discussed. In this field also, there is a large case for a move from teacher-centered to more experiential student-centered learning. Worldwide there is a need for more students in these fields. A final session was on Big Data, a topic very relevant to Groningen. Data problems relate to volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. Big Data is a typical cross-disciplinary field with applications in astronomy, bio, climate, finance, and health. More and more universities offer master degrees in Big Data and Complexity.
On the last day of the STS Forum HIH the Crown Prince of Japan gave a presentation on sustainability. The forum was closed by remarks by Koji Omi, the founder and chairman of the STS Forum. He again stressed the necessity of the interaction between government, industry, and academia.
Right after the forum rector Sterken had a meeting with Professor Yamagiwa, the new Kyoto University President. They signed a new Memorandum of Understanding allowing more students to be exchanged by the two universities. The next day President Hirano of Osaka University was so kind to receive the Groningen delegation. Sterken and Hirano talked about the new initiative in higher education in Japan: the Super Global Universities. Jodien Houwers, Senior Policy Advisor International Cooperation, and Sterken met the Vice-Presidents and the Dean and Director of the Medical School. On the last day Sterken visited Kobe University, where he met professor Tokutsu of the Business School.
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