A Message from the President

The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI was established to cultivate the future generation of doctoral researchers. SOKENDAI offers educational opportunities for graduate students in collaboration with national research institutions known as “inter-university research institutes.” Since its inception in 1988 as the first graduate university in Japan, SOKENDAI has awarded roughly 2,400 doctoral degrees in various fields of fundamental science.

There are 19 inter-university research institutes in Japan that comprise a group of top researchers and offer access to large-scale experimental facilities, cutting-edge research equipment, and valuable research materials. The research facilities and materials at the inter-university research institutes attract scholars from Japan and other countries who engage in collaborative projects with the institute members. These institutes serve as the leading hubs for advancing research across a broad spectrum of disciplines, from humanities to high-energy physics. The most distinctive feature of SOKENDAI is that we offer graduate education at institutions that conduct cutting-edge basic research.

The social landscape surrounding universities has undergone significant transformations in the last two decades, as dramatic advances in ICT have enabled the dissemination of vast amounts of information that transcends constraints such as geographical, generational, gendered, and linguistic boundaries, as well as temporal and spatial dimensions, and have presented a new paradigm for society, one that fuses virtual space and real space. However, considering the current state of affairs, humanity appears to be facing unprecedented challenges. One may find it difficult to envision the future of humanity in the next decade or two.

In light of this, what role should universities fulfill? While the significance of fundamental science and research fostered by universities is widely recognized, the situation in the world is not as straightforward as to assume that the outcomes of intellectual endeavors based on the pure curiosity of individual researchers will contribute to the collective wisdom of humanity and guide society toward a better direction. Given the prevailing uncertainty of our times, the world requires individuals who can be entrusted with its future. A university, as a hub of knowledge, is expected to meet this requirement. Universities must address this expectation as the locus of learning.

SOKENDAI has implemented a major reform of its educational organization and curricula to offer a 20-program system at the Graduate Institute for Advanced Studies starting from April 2023. The new curriculum encompasses 20 programs that span a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, such as elementary particles, materials, life, space, information, history, and culture. The curriculum aims to equip students with foundational knowledge and education in their respective fields of specialization while fostering their autonomy and flexibility in conducting research beyond their own domains. The Diploma Policy of SOKENDAI outlines five competencies: “academic expertise”, “creativity”, “broad perspective”, “global competence”, and “research integrity” for doctoral candidates who aspire to become independent researchers who can tackle any challenge with confidence.

SOKENDAI strives to make a significant contribution to society by envisioning the role of academia in advancing human society in the long run. It aims to nurture doctoral students who can excel and innovate in academia that supports the intellectual foundations of society, lead advanced research and development, and generate new intellectual value.

April 1, 2023
Nagata, Takashi Ph.D.
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI

NAGATA Takashi