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Kyoto collaborates with universities to become ‘global education city’

Kyoto collaborates with universities to become ‘global education city’

Posted November. 03, 2018 07:21,   

Updated November. 03, 2018 07:21


In Japan, there are many cases aside from Kyoto where provincial governments and universities collaborate to revive the local economy and spur the development of universities.

The Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory of the University of Tokyo signed an agreement with Hida City, Gifu Prefecture in January last year. The director of the laboratory is Professor Takaaki Kajita, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015. The agreement aims to create more Nobel Prize laurates by expanding laboratory facilities in the long term. The university and the city recently installed a booth at a subway station in Gifu, displaying the fruits of their study. It is viewed as a case, where a university contributed to the development of the local economy.

Japan is seeing many cases, where startups nurtured by universities contribute to local economy. A startup club at Kyushu University made the headlines for its unique condition for a membership: “You’re not welcome here unless you’re committed to start your own business.”

Osamu Itsuka, a senior at Kyushu University and a member of the startup club, is preparing to establish a telemedicine software company called “Medomain.” Itsuka and three other students developed software that makes medical examination faster and easier with the help of artificial intelligence. The software is currently in a pilot test at Kyushu University, targeting commercialization in two years. Itsuka is consulting about 50 experts, including businessmen, lawyers, and accountants, who went to the same university. Kyushu University is connecting its undergraduates with its graduates, helping them grow into a fine businessman. “Universities are actively nurturing startups as they revitalize the local economy and improve the university’s image,” said a Kyushu University official.

Tae-Hun Hwang beetlez@donga.com