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Pooling resources for a better world: The Inter-Departmental Organization for Environment and Energy (IDOEE)

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Published: November 30, 2010

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Tokyo Institute of Technology has launched an innovative and unique organization that will work to tackle global environmental and energy issues by forging global strategic partnerships.

The Inter-Departmental Organization for Environment and Energy (IDOEE) was established in November 2009 to meet the scientific, technological and socio-political demands involved in resolving future challenges related to energy and the environment.

“This organization is a powerful fusion of the individual strengths of faculty members at Tokyo Institute of Technology,” says Ken Okazaki, director of IDOEE. “The organization consists of approximately 220 internationally renowned Tokyo Institute of Technology faculty specializing in areas including energy, environment, urban development, and the social sciences. It is truly interdepartmental, and was established with the support of the whole university as part of the Tokyo Institute of Technology ‘Vision 2009’.”

The scientific and technical prowess of individual Tokyo Institute of Technology faculty in fields such as photovoltaics, fuel cells, biomass and CO2 sequestration is recognized world-wide. The IDOEE is a fusion of the individual strengths of Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers. Notably, Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers have published the highest number of papers in the area of photovoltaics and fuel cells in Japan.

Members of the IDOEE have joined forces to create a unique organization consisting of researchers from different backgrounds, forming an ‘integrated system’ to tackle global environmental and energy issues.

“Encouraging inter-academic collaborations and, notably, collaborations between industry, academia and the government are two fundamental features of this organization,” says Okazaki. “We want to encourage scientific and technological innovation by creating incentives for the development of technology that could help us to realize a low carbon society. To achieve these goals we must interact with the international community through publishing and outreach work to expand and develop this organization — this is why we have social and political scientists as members.”

The structure of the IDOEE is shown in the diagram. The organization consists of approximately 220 Tokyo Institute of Technology faculty representing the wealth and breadth of expertise at the university. The participants belong to seven research centers consisting of 23 divisions.

In addition to the director, the organization is managed by three vice-directors with defined remits: Makoto Konagai for research, Naohiro Yoshida for education and Shuichiro Hirai for planning and publicity. The Energy Center is the central pillar of the entire organization, consisting of experts from fields including fuel cells and secondary batteries, solar cells, combustion and CO2 sequestration, biomass, nuclear power and energy materials.

The other centers contributing to IDOEE are:

Earth Environment Center: Comprising the climate change division, the Environmental Informatics division
Urban Environment Center: Comprising the Urban Environment Disasters division, the Transport Environment division and the Comfortable Environment division
Bioenvironment Center: Comprising the Ecological Environment division, Environmental Biotechnology and the Peace of Mind and Safety division
Social System Center
Space Environment Center
Molecular Environment Center

The new organization is not a ‘virtual’ community, because a new dedicated EEI (Environment and Energy Innovation)-building, covering 9000 m2, is being constructed to house faculty and students. “Encouraging constructive communication between staff and students from many disciplines will be an important factor in achieving our goals,” says Okazaki. “For this reason, faculty and students in the new dedicated building (see illustration) will share an open-plan floor, which will make daily conversation easier and more constructive.”

International collaboration and partnerships are critical for resolving the daunting issues being considered by IDOEE. As a first step to forming strong international links, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University in Beijing held a joint symposium on ‘Technology and Policy for Low Carbon Society’ from November 8 to 9, 2010.

“I am confident that the research and related educational activities at the organization will create new models and paradigms to resolve global environmental and energy issues,” says Okazaki.

  • Ken Okazaki, Director of Inter-Department Organization for Environment and Energy (IDOEE)

    Ken Okazaki, Director of Inter-Department Organization for Environment and Energy (IDOEE)

  • Rendering of EEI (Environment and Energy Innovation)-building

    Rendering of EEI (Environment and Energy Innovation)-building

Organization chart of IDOEE

Organization chart of IDOEE

Reference
Ken Okazaki
Graduate School of Science and Engineering Mechanical and Control Engineering
Professor

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