EU study tour 2016


14 HWIP students and 4 professors carried out a study tour to Europe from Nov 22nd to Nov 29th 2016. We have visited 1) industry research laboratories: Panasonic in Langen and NEC in Heidelberg, 2) academic research laboratory: RWTH Aachen University, 3) government research organization: MRC LMB (Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology) in Cambridge.

Nov 22nd (Let’s begin EU tour!)

Our journey began from Itami airport with encouraging words by Prof Fujiwara. Although the gathering time was a bit early (7:30am), everyone cooperated to be on time. Mr. Sakai doing internship in Tokyo joined us from Haneda, Tokyo on time as well. Thank you! We finally arrived in Frankfurt (3:40pm) on the same day by way of Haneda. Frankfurt was warmer than we expected. After long flight, we refreshed ourselves having nice dinner in the hotel to get ready for next day: Panasonic laboratories in Langen.

eu2017-1Itami airport just before departure

Nov 23rd (Panasonic laboratories in Langen)

We visited Panasonic laboratories in Langen in the first day of the tour. The laboratories are located in Langen, which are around 10 km away from Frankfurt Hbf (Central station of Frankfurt). Director, Misao Teshima and vice director, Shinichi Takasaki, welcomed our visit to their laboratories: PRDCG (Panasonic R&D Centre Germany) and PLDC (Panasonic AVC Langen Development Centre). In the morning, we toured the laboratories and observed how industry laboratory is operated and managed including ongoing research works over there. We had lunch together with the event organizers and researchers while talking various things including internship opportunity and working environments in an industry research laboratory. In the afternoon, six information science students, Mr. Murakami, Mr. Sakamoto, Ms. Shigaki, Mr. Miura, Mr. Iwazaki, and Mr. Nattapong gave an English oral presentation about their research. In particular, Miura’s research work was closely matched to what the laboratories work on at the moment, and so attracted much attention from the researchers. After the presentation, both students in HWIP and researchers in the laboratories got mingled to talk and discuss several issues about which they are curious to each other.

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Tour of Panasonic laboratories and Lunch with participants

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Social event after student presentations

eu2017-6Before leaving Panasonic laboratories

Nov 24th (NEC laboratory in Heidelberg & RWTH Aachen University evening social event)

The day was physically tough but mentally substantial. In the morning, we first visited NEC laboratory in Heidelberg. Vice president, Jurgen Ouittek, and vice director, Koichi Funaya warmly welcomed our visit. After the introduction to the laboratory by vice president Jurgen Quittk, six information science students, same as yesterday, gave an English oral presentation about their research. Since NEC has strength on communication network research, students particularly working on network architectures could obtain valuable comments from participating NEC researchers. Then, vice director, Koichi Funaya provided us with information about an internship opportunity in NEC, and answered to relevant questions from HWIP participants.
Soon after the visit to NEC laboratory, we rushed to RWTH Aachen University by bus, which is around 300km away, because a social evening event organized by the University was scheduled from 6:30pm on the same day.
Ms. Bettina in RWTH Aachen University organized the evening social event. More than 20 Aachen students participated in the event. Students in both Universities shared their own stories and experiences with each other about life, culture, and friendship, etc. The event finished around 8:00pm however HWIP students were encouraged to further get along with Aachen students in the city of Aachen which holds a fabulous Christ market. HWIP students must have gained good experience through this social event. Thank you, Ms. Bettina for this wonderful opportunity for our students!

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Vice president in NEC laboratory, Jurgen Ouittek, comments on student presentations.
Mr. Murakami is asking a question regarding internship opportunity in NEC laboratory.

eu2017-9Vice director, Koichi Funaya, accompanied us to the main gate of the laboratory.

eu2017-10The organizer of the social evening event, Ms. Bettina, warmly welcomed us.

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Mr. Nattapong, as the most senior student, introduced Osaka University and
HWIP to Aachen students. Students shared various ideas while having pizza!

Nov 25th (RWTH Aachen University)

The visit to RWTH Aachen University was designed for engineering science students: Mr. Nakanishi, Mr. Sakai, Mr. Zheng, and Mr. Uchida. In the morning, after an official opening ceremony organized by RWTH Aachen University, we first visited the laboratory of Prof. Corves in the department of Mechanism theory and Dynamic of Machine. He introduced his laboratory which has carried out researches on machines, especially from a mechanical perspective. Mr. Nakanishi and Mr. Sakai presented their research, and two Aachen students in the lab gave a presentation as well. Although, the presentations in the both parties are under the same umbrella of machine research, their works on machines pursue different goals: mechanical accuracy in Aachen side and personal humanity in HWIP participants. I believe it was a good opportunity not only for us but also for them to experience and recognize the differences. After lunch kindly organized by the University, we visited another laboratory: Prof. Lakemeyer. Similar to the morning session, two of HWIP students, Mr. Zheng and Mr. Uchida gave a presentation of their research.
It is not the end of the story about the day. Ms. Bettina kindly took us to the three country point where the three national boundaries; Germany, Netherland, and Belgium come across. Theoretically speaking, we have been to Netherland as well during this EU tour although it was a few minutes only!

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Prof. Corves introduced his laboratory.              Mr. Nakanishi is promoting his “Hugvie”

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Prof. Lakemeyer showed the robot demo.              Mr. Uchida is responding to a question.

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At the manufacturing plant of Prof. Corves           We were at the three country point!

Nov 26th (Moving from Aachen in Germany to London by way of Brussel in Belgium)

After hard working for last three days in Germany, we moved from Aachen in Germany to London by an express train, Eurostar, through Brussel in Belgium. Due to other schedules in the following week, Prof. Fujiwara left Aachen for Japan on the day. After we spent roughly 5 hours in Brussel, we finally arrived in London around 6:00pm.

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Prof. Fujiwara is leaving for Japan.                            On the train to Brussel

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In front of the Gate in Brussel                                   Lunch in Brussel

Nov 27th (Student group tour in London)

Four groups of students freely travelled London from 9:00am to 3:00pm. They planned and organized the London tour by themselves from Japan. After the student group tour, we moved to our final destination, Cambridge, which is around 100 km away from London. Who says British cuisine is terrible? Actually, it turned out to be good both in quality and especially quantity: the dinner was too big, and so only a few of us could finish the dinner.
After dinner, we had a meeting in the conference room of the hotel. Each group presented their London tour in English – we all agreed to speaking in English for two hours in the meeting. When the meeting finished, we instantly switched to Japanese – OTSUKARESAMADESHITA!

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In the Bus from London to Cambridge               A really big dinner (that is just entrée)

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Group 1: why we were late                           Group 2: why we are in London with US$

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Group 3: we are too innovative                Group 4: we had two groups in our group

Nov 28th (MRC LMB)

We visited our final destination, MRC LMB in Cambridge, which is a legendary place for researchers in molecular biology. Dr. Kiyoshi Nagai thankfully organized everything for our visit: touring MRC LMB, student presentations, and lunch for social event, etc. History, culture, and achievement of the research institute are simply good enough to inspire us to further research efforts. The inspiration helped biology science students in HWIP; Mr. Motoya, Mr. Hatanaka, Ms. Xu, and Mr. Mita, to give a wonderful presentation about their research in MRC LMB.

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Warm welcoming from Dr. Kiyoshi Nagai           Tour of LMB – Nobel Laureates of the LMB

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Lunch with all participants                                After social lunch event

eu2017-33Thank you Dr. Kiyoshi Nagai for this wonderful arrangement

Nov 29th (Thank you everyone)

Finally, we arrived at Itami airport around 7:00pm by way of Haneda, Tokyo. Assoc. Prof. Ishii and Mr. Sakai got off at Haneda airport due to attendance in the conference and internship program, respectively. Prof. Wakamiya made final comments on the journey at Itami airport, and Mr. Miura led a short ceremony (一丁締め): one handclapping, to conclude the EU tour.

eu2017-34Before assoc. Prof. Ishii and Mr. Sakai got off at Haneda airport, Tokyo

This EU tour was really amazing. Students actively participated in the visit to various laboratories in Europe, which inspires not only their major research but also interdisciplinary research. Furthermore, professors and students fulfilled their responsibilities to successfully complete the journey without any trouble and accident. Thank you so much for all your cooperation and support. Also, special thanks must go to Assoc. Prof. Ishii who recorded all the moments as photos. In particular, staffs in the Humanware office deserve much of the appreciation for this wonderful arrangement.

[Student comments]

■ Panasonicにおいて開発中のクラウド経由でビル・家庭の空調機器を制御し、エネルギー消費を可視化するシステムの見学させて頂いた上で、社員の方と質疑をする機会を得ることができました.この経験は、空調制御の高度化に関する自身の研究と重なるところがかなりある課題設定に対して、企業としては何を解くべき問題だと捉え、どのように研究開発を行っているのかを直接学ぶことができたので、大きな収穫でした.今回の経験は海外で生活することへのためらいや不安を大きく減らすことができたので、インターンシップや将来のキャリア設計などで海外に出て行く機会があれば積極的に使っていきたいと思います.

[ Daiki Miura / 4 graduating class ]

■ 今回のEU研修では,海外の研究環境を企業や大学,研究機関などの様々な種類にわたって実際にその場で活動している人々から見聞きすることができた.単に情報を収集するだけでなく,実際に体験することによって,各集団の特色を明確に知覚することができた.また,海外の文化を直接経験しながら,研究環境に関する情報を得ることができたので,情報を有意味化しながら理解することができたと考えている. これにより,日本だけでなく,世界を視野に自分の進路を選択する心理的障壁が小さくなったと考えている.また,個人的にも,海外の同じ世代の研究者との議論やつながりができ,互いに刺激し合いながら,今後のキャリアを世界視野で考えていきたいと思う.これをきっかけに,海外の人々とのつながりを広げていければと考えている.

[ Takahisa Uchida / 4 graduating class ]

■ 海外での日本企業や研究所での働き方をみることが出来た。卒業後の進路についてははっきりと結論は出ていないが、今回のEU渡航を通して、企業・大学を問わず、海外での仕事をおこなう姿が想像しやすくなったと思う。博士取得後のプランは国内にとどまらず、視野を広げて考えていくようにしたい。一方で、自身の英語力の無さには改めて痛感させられたので、卒業後に海外に進出するにしても今後実際に使える英語を身に着ける必要がある。今後とも海外への渡航機会に積極的に参加していくことで磨きをかけていこうと思う。

[Gaku Hatanaka / 4 graduating class ]

■ 海外の文化や企業・大学の実態を知ることができ、卒業後のキャリアパス、今後のインターンシップにおいて、海外を選択する可能性が大きく高まった。これまでは、外資系の海外拠点のみを考えていたが、大企業であれば内資系でも国内外で働くことができることを実感した。日本経済・日本企業の衰退が気になるが、本プログラムで提供された渡航の機会を通して生活環境としての日本の居心地の良さを改めて実感しており、内資系に勤めて海外でも働くという選択肢が大きくなった。逆に、外資系の日本拠点でも、インターナショナルな活躍をすることができるのかもしれないが、こちらについてはさらに調査が必要である。RWTH AachenやCambridge大学の学生のレベルや施設環境も素晴らしく、これまでアカデミアに残ることは考えたことがなかったが、考え直させられる機会となった。

[ Masaya Murakami / 3 graduating class ]

■ 今回のEU渡航中に企業の方々や大学の学生と交流を行った.これを受けて,海外の研究機関や企業で研究することや働くことに対する印象が変わったと思う.つまり,インターンシップで海外の企業や大学に素直に行きたいと思うようになり,また卒業後の進路として海外も大いに視野に入ってきたのではないかと思う.

[ Kazuki Sakai / 3 graduating class ]

■ 生命機能研究科グループのリーダーとして、他のメンバーを先導・管理するということにも取り組むこととなりました。海外への渡航経験がHWの海外研修しか無い中で、海外での他の人の予定を決め、実際に先導するという経験から、今回のEU渡航のような海外と関わるイベントの企画に関わることの難しさの一端を感じることができました。 今回のEU渡航では、海外の大学だけでは無く、日本企業の海外支社での研究・事業動向を直接目にすることができました。それぞれの日本本社との関わり合い方や、EU市場で期待されている役割が大きく異なることを確認することができました。このことは、卒業後民間企業で働く場合に、日本企業の海外拠点や海外企業の日本拠点が、それぞれどのような事業を行っているのかを理解するための重要な経験になったと感じています。

[ Kohei Motoya / 2 graduating class ]

■ 世界(EUだけだけども)の研究レベルを知ることで、今の自分に足りないこと、優れているところがはっきりし、研究者として生きていける自信がつき、研究を積極的に行うモチベーションとなった。各国の考え方や文化を知ることで、我々人間の共通することについて考えることができた。それは、認知科学を専攻する私にとって、研究アイディアを精錬するための補助になると思われる。自身の卒業後のプランに目途が立っていなかったが、世界を知り視野が広がることで、相対的に自分の特徴を理解し、何をしていくべきなのかを決められそうである。

[ Jyunya Nakanishi / 1 graduating class ]

■ This opportunity will lead me to an overseas internship. I have not decided to work for either a company or a university yet, but I think I want to work in foreign countries once at least after the experience in EU. This is because overseas universities such as Cambridge or Aachen are more international than ones in Japan.

[ Kouki Sakamoto / 4 graduating class ]

■ EU Panasonic vice president, Shinichi Takasaki, graduated at the same faculty and department and course at Osaka University as me. He takes the role of management position of engineering team of “Energy project team” – one of two big projects of EU Panasonic. It was a good experience for me to recognize my lack of English speaking ability by talking and discussing with students in RWTH Aachen University and Cambridge University.

[ Shinjiro Mita / 4 graduating class ]

■ I was always eager to experience the environment of Silicon Valley, but during this EU study I found I quite like Europe, and especially the Aachen university students were young and fresh and energetic and ambitious. And the LMB of Cambridge university was in a very gorgeous city and the academic atmosphere was so good and they possess several highly developed equipment like EM and mass spectroscope, I think it is a very nice place to study and do research and I wish to study there, I will start to think about some exchange program or internship in European country.

[ Xu Xueyan / 4 graduating class ]

■ I am anxious of going abroad alone still now but it is relieved by experiences in the EU study tour. In the future, I want to work in a foreign company (which have Japanese branch and I can work in Japan), so I think I have to experience a foreign internship. EU Panasonic and NEC, Cambridge University, and Aachen University we visited in this tour are big candidate to go as my internship.

[ Saeko Shigaki  / 3 graduating class ]

■ I realize there are many exciting opportunities out there in the world. We only need to take our initiative and apply for all those opportunities. For example, we could apply the scholarship provided by the EU organization and send email to Universities to find internship. At beginning, since I’m an international student, having an internship in either Japan or other countries almost means the same. However, after the tour to EU, I would consider finding an internship outside Japan.

[ ZHENG  XIQIAN  /  3 graduating class ]

■ In this study trip, I learned importance of English. I could not understand many things and terms during this study trip. I felt lack of effort. It caused by my poor English skill rather than ignorance about technical terms. For interdisciplinary researches, I need to read papers and discuss with many foreign students. To this end, I try to improve my English skill Immediately.

[ Satoru Iwasaki  / 3 graduating class ]

■ As a student carrying out research in an academic institute, the question whether to go to industry or to remain in academia after graduation (or to establish a company) is always a tough question to answer. The opportunities to learn about industrial section might be limited to internship and interviewing. In this trip, we have a good opportunity to enter the company, to observe company environment and culture, and to have a deep discussion. These helps me in making a decision after graduation from Ph.D. that I might remain in academia. The main reason is that I highly value the independence of conducting research and the variety of knowledge/skill I could learn.

[ Thammansan Nattapong  / 1 graduating class ]