On March 26th and 27th, 2014, a meeting of the Advisory Committee was held to provide advice for the future development of the program. The five-member committee is composed of Dr. Takahide Inoue (Special Advisor, CITRIS, University of California) Dr. Hongbin Zha (Professor, Department of Machine Intelligence, School of Electronics, Engineering and Computer Science, Beijing University), Dr. Tadao Takaoka (Professor, University of Canterbury), Dr. Kiyoshi Nagai (Group Leader, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology) and Dr. Ikuo Nishioka (President, Innovation Research Laboratory / President, Nishioka Academy). These esteemed committee members are active in a wide range of fields throughout the world, making them the ideal advisors for the program.
Program coordinator Professor Nishio started the meeting by explaining the objectives, ideals and content of HWIP. He explained how, as opposed to Japan, PhD holders in other countries hold top positions outside of academia, such as Prime Minister Merkel of Germany and Google CEO Larry Page, and this is why the Japanese government launched the Program for Leading Graduate Schools.
After a short break, Professor Shimizu described the HWIP curriculum. Here, the committee members commented on several items, including the flexibility of majors and degree conferral. After this, the committee members watched HWIP students give poster presentations and peppered them with challenging questions (see the article in Activities for more information).
At the end of the first day, the committee members issued their feedback. All of them said they were impressed by the dedication the students exhibited for interdisciplinary research. However, one member noted that, since the students were still in their first year, they needed to strengthen their methodology. The committee said it expects to see the students make great strides in the future. The committee also offered a host of other invaluable opinions. It recommended allowing credit transfers with foreign universities and exposing students to excellent foreign faculty as ways to ensure they can step into the global arena with no reservations. Professor Nishio wrapped up the session by stating his determination to provide the students with the support they need to have rewarding and enjoyable experiences on the program.
In the morning of the second day, the committee met with students for an informal discussion. The small venue stimulated a vigorous back-and-forth exchange (see the article in Activities for more information). In the afternoon, the committee members visited the Center for Information and Neural Networks (CiNet). There, a CiNet official gave a presentation on the center’s founding ideals and fields of research. After the visit, Dr. Nagai gave a special lecture on his area of expertise, spliceosomes. A large number of students from a wide array of major programs attended the lecture, which will hopefully lead to more interdisciplinary research in the future.