Programme themes

Crossing boundaries, unlocking creativity

Creativity arising across boundaries

What do leading institutions gain from working across national and disciplinary boundaries on research and education initiatives? Are there costs too? Is it acceptable to be relatively isolated if your outputs and impact remain high?

We will find out how internationalisation has changed Japanese and other nation’s universities over the past 10 years and where these initiatives go next. We will examine the extent to which international student flows have stimulated creativity in teaching and learning and how far classroom dynamics have shifted thanks to the presence of more overseas students.

We will also consider how much creativity has been sparked by international research partnerships, including researcher exchanges and everyday cross-border collaboration. And, finally, we will look at how interdisciplinary research has resulted in more creative approaches to problems related to health and medicine, as well as how industry-academia partnerships have led to advances that will feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.


Universities’ role in the demographic distribution and ageing society

Domestic student numbers in Japan and South Korea are expected to collapse over the next 20 years, while the number of internationally mobile students from India, China and other parts of South-east Asia is predicted to soar. How should universities respond to these emerging trends? How do universities adapt to survive and prosper in a market with fewer students? Is decline inevitable? Or do universities need to rethink the scale of operations, and their ambitions, and focus on key strengths? And how might teaching and management practices change to reflect this new reality?

We will also ask how universities can stand out from the crowd and appeal to applicants in an increasingly competitive arena. Can courses and student services become more distinctive, and could existing strengths, such as industry links, be more effectively demonstrated?


Unlocking untapped potential

Finding, recruiting and retaining top academic talent is what world-class universities do best. Many talented researchers are, however, leaving academia for various reasons at a huge cost to their institutions. We will examine some of the more pressing challenges in keeping emerging talent, including how Japan can retain and develop more of its female researchers, and how universities can reach beyond national borders to attract international staff.

Japan’s university system is world leading, but outstanding female researchers struggle to reach higher levels of academia or administration. Some are leaving to progress careers in other countries and sectors. Is this a cultural problem greater than higher education? Or can Japan take measures to address this issue? What measures are bearing fruit? What can they learn from other Asian societies that have managed to improve gender representation? We will also discover how institutions have successfully internationalised their faculty by attracting research talent from across the world.