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Hiroshi Iizuka
Dean of Yamagata University Graduate School of Science and Engineering iFront Program Coordinator

◇It is Individualism that Generates Added Value◇
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.

Tomoya Higashihara

iFront Program Education Director

Innovative Flex Course for Frontier Organic Material System (iFront) trains global leaders who can create new values with his or her advanced expertise and international senses. In this course, “creative” and “initiative” have been set as keywords of essential skills required for doctoral personnel in a remarkably varying international society. In order to encourage graduate students to get these two, we have prepared a special curriculum, including OJT-type domestic/foreign internships, presentations/organizations at the international symposium called SmaSys, and so on. The reputation of this course is pretty high; indeed, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology / Japan Society for the Promotion of Science have given us particularly high marks (intermediate evaluation S, ex-post evaluation S). In fact, students who participated in overseas internships have come back being well stimulated and inspired after the contribution to a high level of international researches. We look forward to your challenge to join us!