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Greetings from the Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering

profohshima02To date, “engineering” has created a wide variety of new substances and technologies and helped enhance people’s lives. This role is sure to remain unchanged into the future, with the engineering discipline continuing to be crucial to creation of the society of tomorrow.

The Kyoto University Graduate School of Engineering offers graduate-level education that firmly upholds and advances the undergraduate Faculty of Engineering’s educational principle that “a thorough understanding of scientific principles is essential for promoting future applications and advancement of technology on a broad scale”.

“Making things” that are completely flawless using methods that are 100% infallible is often difficult to achieve. In such cases, we adopt a second-best strategy, acknowledging imperfections but nonetheless devising something that enables objectives to be attained within the required time-frame, improving it over time, and building it into something more finished. This method of coming up with an answer, even if it is a second-best option, is sometimes referred to as “the engineering approach”. In our graduate school, emphasis is placed on the ability to not only demonstrate such an approach but also address fundamental questions such as “why certain phenomena occur and what are the basic principles that govern them”, to develop logical ideas, and to propose solutions. It is only through exploration of root causes of problems and “pursuit of the truth” that we can generate novel materials previously unknown to the world, and original technologies that no one, anywhere, has so far come up with. I believe that cultivating such capabilities is essential in order for graduates of our school to contribute to creation of the society of the future.

This graduate school currently comprises 17 departments and 8 centers. Each student is assigned to a research laboratory within his or her department or center and works on a specific research topic under the supervision of faculty members. Through this work, our students acquire specialized knowledge and develop the kinds of capabilities outlined above, including that of being able to conduct their own research and to justify their research findings in logical terms. We call this ORT (On the Research Training). I invite you to browse the department and center websites that are linked from this and to discover what kinds of laboratories there are in each department, and what kind of research they do. You will find that a wide variety of research projects are being undertaken in our graduate school. Moreover, our Engineering Education Research Center offers common engineering courses and extra-curricular activities designed to foster high ethical standards and an international perspective in academic research. You also have opportunities to visit other countries and present your research at international conferences.

Learning through research in the graduate school differs greatly from the courses you took at high school and undergraduate level, where you were given solvable problems and earned marks by solving them. When you begin your research as a graduate student, nobody, not even your instructors, will know the answer. There may be more than one answer. Your research may develop in directions that your instructors never envisaged, like the Japanese Attractor(1)  discovered by Yoshisuke Ueda at Kyoto University in the 1960s. I think that, during the course of your research, you will also encounter numerous obstacles and at times you will question yourselves. But, I believe that the more difficult something is, the more you can learn from it. And, the more difficult it is, the more exhilarated you will feel when you find the solution or make a new discovery. Therein lies the true essence of learning at university.

Each and every one of you has boundless potential. I trust that you will value that potential and work toward achieving your ideals and aspirations, learning, and leading a fulfilling research life in our graduate school. It is my sincere hope that you will all contribute in your own distinctive ways to creation of the society of the future. 

(1) Japanese Attractor (Apr.17.2018,15:00 UTC). In Advanced Electrical Systems Theory (Hikihara Lab); KYOTO UNIVERSITY Graduate School of Engineering, Electrical Engineering 
Retrieved from  http://www-lab23.kuee.kyoto-u.ac.jp/ueda/Kambe-Bishop_ver3-1.pdf