Yoshihiro Ohba Director and Vice President of Yamagata University iFront Program Director
The research and development of organic materials has always been a core competency of Yamagata University. It was here that Japan’s first synthetic fibers were developed, and our spirit of determination to contribute to the fundamental technologies and industrialization of organic materials remains unchanged. Over the past thirty years, advances in research have allowed us to imbed significant and constructive functionalities into organic materials, such as organic molecules and polymers, contributing to the development of applications and products such as organic semiconductors, plastic optical fibers, organic light-emitting devices, organic solar cells, carbon fibers, and high strength gels. Organic materials promise to outstrip metal and ceramic materials in functionality and are growing in potential as the dream materials of the future with substantial versatilities. Yet we still face many more challenges, such as identifying ways to lower production costs and improve flexibility and efficiency. To maximize the potential of organic materials and create new value-added systems, it is essential for us to better understand the fields of physics, chemistry and biology, and to go beyond this knowledge to create and control complex systems tailored for real-life applications.
We are excited to launch the Innovative Flex Course for Frontier Organic Material Systems (iFront) here at Yamagata University. Through the integrated and flexible five-year doctoral program, we are determined to produce outstanding graduates who will go on to create new forms of organic materials as future global leaders.
Dean of Yamagata University Graduate School of Science and Engineering iFront Program Coordinator
Japan’s industrial sector is now at a critical crossroads. We find ourselves in an era in which Japan as a nation needs to make decisions about which industries ought to be maintained and developed, with an eye to the future. First of all, what is required is the strengthening of core industries. Universities must work to foster human resources capable of preserving and developing the skills required to achieve this. Demand from the industrial sector centers on the three main fields of mechanics, chemistry, and electrical and information engineering, and Yamagata University’s Faculty of Engineering covers all three.
Here, in addition to mechanics and systems, chemistry and biology, and information and electronics, students can also study organic and macromolecular engineering. We have six research facilities and eight laboratories for study in the field of organic materials, making the university a global research base for people working in that field. We have a system that enables wide-ranging study and research, where for example, a sensor that employs organic materials can be developed in coordination with researchers from the full spectrum of engineering fields, including mechanics and electronics.
In addition to strengthening core technologies, adding value to technologies is also of prime importance. And it is the individuality of each researcher that generates new value. Individuality is not bestowed upon us by others, it is something that we discover within ourselves. Everyone has their own individual character. It is by taking time to reflect on ourselves in a quiet environment that we are able to find and further develop our own individual characters.
By reconfirming one’s understanding of factors that contributed to the formation of one’s “self,” such as parental influence and childhood environment and experiences, one may discover within oneself the desire to work hard for the benefit of others. In addition, by pursuing things one is skilled at or enjoys, one may discover the future path one should take. I remember aspiring to be an airplane engineer when I was a child. As a result of pursuing a field that I found enjoyable, I have been persevering with my mechanical engineering research. What motivated me to learn was the joy I felt when I came to understand new things, and how interesting it was when I was able to solve problems. I believe that it is in environments where we can feel relaxed and at ease that we are truly able to demonstrate our capabilities.
Yonezawa City is blessed with a rich history, culture, and natural environment. I hope that here every student will absorb cutting-edge knowledge, grow and develop into fascinating and personable people able to value themselves and others, and succeed in Japan and anywhere in the world.