About Tokyo Tech
About Tokyo Tech
Tokyo Tech President Kazuya Masu shares updates on the Institute's recent activities and future outlook in the new era.
July 10, 2020
To current and future members of the Tokyo Tech community,
The global impact of the novel coronavirus on humankind has exceeded the imagination of us all. Like other institutions around the world, Tokyo Tech continues to examine carefully how it can combat various COVID-19-related issues and respond in a manner that best serves the interests of the community.
The safety of Tokyo Tech students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. It is imperative that, while conducting lectures online, we adapt to a new normal and continue to avoid thoroughly the three Cs — closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings — by practicing social distancing and other preventive measures. This will allow the Institute's members to resume gradually their education and research activities.
Education remains at the heart of Tokyo Tech's mission, as always. Drawing from our experiences with COVID-19, we have begun to design a new way of learning that fully utilizes distance lectures and an efficient Tokyo Tech style of research, which together help reduce the risk of infection in the community. The Institute is moving forward with these and other efforts to enhance continuously the learning environment for students, despite the state of affairs.
The effects of the novel coronavirus have led to financial strain for some students, who are struggling to pay for tuition and living expenses. The Team Tokyo Tech Student Support Program, established in cooperation with the Tokyo Tech Alumni Association, provides these students with the urgent support they need. In addition to an independent emergency loan program, this initiative includes an extension of tuition payment deadlines and tuition exemption for all students who need to extend their enrollment period due to COVID-19. Tokyo Tech faculty, staff, alumni, and guardians are working together to ensure that students maintain their livelihood and continue with their studies.
As we adjust to this new era, I would also like to send out a message to the prospective students who are hoping to join the Tokyo Tech community in the near future. While the postponement or cancellation of events such as Open Campus and on-site lectures at high schools is unfortunate, Tokyo Tech has already taken steps to enhance its virtual environment by moving information sessions, student consultations, and lectures online. These channels of communication may take some getting used to, but they may also provide certain advantages, particularly for students who are located far away from our campuses. Therefore, regardless of your physical location, I invite all of you to join us.
How can science and technology respond to the crisis caused by COVID-19? This is an urgent question that should be tackled by academia around the globe. Tokyo Tech is creating impact by making available cutting-edge technologies, developing research activities that utilize knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, and forging stronger collaborations with partners.
Recently, Tokyo Tech launched the Social Rebooting Technology Initiative to help revitalize and lift society out of stagnation. The first stage of this effort was to release 131 patents owned by the Institute for a certain period of time — all royalty-free.
At the Institute of Innovative Research, researchers are working on COVID-19-related testing and vaccine development, antiviral materials, future predictions, medical devices, and work style reforms. Eighteen research topics have been identified to date under the Research Project for Overcoming Coronavirus Disasters.
Societal issues such as those caused by COVID-19 may emerge one after another in the future. In order to respond rapidly and efficiently to these issues, Tokyo Tech must integrate diverse perspectives and encourage researchers to work towards the same goal. By putting our minds together, we can expect not only the emergence of new topics of research, but also new research styles and other synergistic effects.
Efforts to seek out creative solutions are also taking place at Tokyo Tech's Laboratory for Design of Social Innovation in Global Networks (DLab). At a time when the coronavirus outbreak is restricting the mobility of Tokyo Tech researchers, DLab is keeping people engaged through its Stay Home, Stay Geek — DLab connects during COVID-19 online interview series. How can we begin to understand the essence of the issues caused by this virus? How should we approach coexistence with the virus? These are just some of the questions that participating researchers attempt to answer by drawing on their expertise in science, engineering, and the social sciences. One aspect that unites these specialists is a flexible, positive attitude. Despite the current obstacles facing everyone, Tokyo Tech's researchers remain poised to identify and pursue opportunities, and to apply what they learn to their research. I encourage everyone seeking motivation to watch these interviews.
DLab had also launched the Tokyo Tech Future Chronology — a collection of future scenarios depicting a more desirable future — before COVID-19 tightened its grip on the world. Some of these scenarios, particularly ones regarding the decline of physical constraints, are now being realized more rapidly than expected. I am confident that, despite the undesirable circumstances, the desirable future sought by DLab will be upon us sooner than we think.
The new normal has reduced emphasis on time and space, two conditions that often restricted potential interaction in the past. More than ever, Tokyo Tech is now in a position to boost lifelong education with a system constructed around distance learning, engage more actively in collaborations with partners all over the globe, and create new industries with a revived sense of urgency. Together with the public and business community, we will continue to pursue activities that move us closer to the "future we all want."
Tokyo Tech's history has always been about giving back to society through groundbreaking findings, unique inventions, and mindful, talented graduates who create an impact in the world. The emergence of COVID-19 will not take away from that. On the contrary, it will motivate us to pursue a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive world. The Institute will continue to devise creative, interactive channels of communication between our team of students, faculty, and staff while ensuring the safety of all our stakeholders. And, we will continue embracing the challenges that come our way.
Team Tokyo Tech remains dedicated to creating a better future.
President, Tokyo Tech
Designing our future together
By gauging the needs and desires of society through dialogue, and by designing our future together, DLab aims to create a brighter, more prosperous world.
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Published: July 2020