Message from the Head of DSCC

Doctors are the leaders of technology innovation in the 21st century.

I am Prof. Toru Asahi, new Executive Director of the Doctoral Student Career Center. My predecessor, Prof. Hiroyuki Nishide, was appointed to be the Dean of School of Advanced Science of Engineering, and transferred his capacity to me since October 1, 2010.

Taking this opportunity I would like to state my view about the education of graduate students, and ask your cooperation in this issue.

The world faces many global issues such as environment, natural resources, energy and new infectious diseases. In these circumstances, the responsibility of academia is to educate young excellent researchers, and create new academic disciplines to challenge the issues, and eventually to develop new solving methodologies and technologies based on the science. The responsibility of industry is to create new industries and businesses based on the needs of the society. This also needs talented people in the industry. Traditionally, Japanese industries tended to recruit undergraduates and MsCs and bring them up to be specialists through internal training course and on the job training to play important roles in various fields to contribute to the economic growth of the country. Currently, universities are to be expected to be more proactive in contributing to the society by producing innovative human resources for industries, who can create new inventions and apply them to new systems, devices and models by braking the limit of conventional approach.

From other point of view, in the case of international standardization, formulation of international rules, and critical negotiations between global companies, the fact of holding a doctoral degree have an important effect. Conversely, anyone without a doctoral degree doesnot even be allowed to sit at the negotiation table. In addition, in order for our country to occupy important positions in the international arena, there is a need for doctoral degree holders with substantial professional skills in particular areas, who have also acquired presentation, communication and collaboration skills. In our country, however, there are still few opportunities for such doctoral degree holders to play active roles. Students themselves, professors, and corporate companies still have a biased thinking regarding the career path of doctoral degree holders, and this must be corrected in order to be able to overcome the current situation.

Doctoral Student Career Center aims at producing human resources that have high-level research skills and broad social skills*, and also the ability to lead the way in coming up with innovations. Therefore, we have proposed that doctoral programs should include the development of practical skills by allowing students to experience fieldwork first hand through the Internship Program, and the learning and acquisition of communication and negotiation skills through interactive lectures. Not only the staff of our research center but also the members of the selection committee have been greatly surprised to see substantial changes in doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows before and after undergoing the internship program. Through the internship program, students and postdoctoral fellows directly experience the diversity with regard to how to view, comprehend, and do things. After receiving the internship program, they seem to have nurtured the will to apply the acquired skills in the field of research and in their own lives in the future. We would truly appreciate if the teaching staff could guide and educate doctoral students to acquire research skills comprehensively and, at the same time, recommend them to participate in our research center°«s curriculum in order to become capable of playing active roles internationally in companies.

Finally, we hope to establish a number of occasions to communicate the aims of our research center, and expand public relation activities in a proactive manner. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

* Social skills: this concept was presented by the former president of Tsukuba Gakuin University, Atsushi Kadowaki, in his book °»Kodomo no Shakairyoku°… (Children°«s Social Skills), published in 1999. Currently, the use of this concept is no longer limited to children. It largely refers to °»multidisciplinary skills consisting of a profound education, correct ethics, communication skill with an accurate understanding of the self and other people, and a leadership that leads to change.°…

Toru Asahi
Executive Director, Doctoral Student Career Center
Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University