Collaboration between Osaka University and Industry

Osaka Imperial University established with the zeal of local industrial and financial circles and citizens

Osaka University was established through financial support from the municipal governments, economic and financial circles, and citizens in Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City and, above all, their strong passion.

18th in The World’s Most Innovative Universities

Osaka University ranked 18th in the world and 1st in Japan in Thomson Reuters’ “The World’s Most Innovative Universities 2015.”

Endeavors Leading to Industry-University Co-Creation


Efforts Towards Reform

Establishment of the Institute
for Datability Science

Promotion of interdisciplinary education and research based on the skills and mind of data-driven research

 The curtain has risen on an era of big data, and big data that exceeds even the exabyte is produced every day in everything from our society to the most advanced scientific research. To get useful information and knowledge through speedy analysis and effective use of this super big data is an important key to the development of scientific fields and our society. In other words, high level integration and use of this big data and the creation of intellectual worth are urgent issues for the realization of a safe and secure society.
 Thus, Osaka University has established the Institute for Datability Science with the aim of promoting the utilization of big data. At this institute, new scientific methods are being pursued using “datability,” or the ability to use large volumes of data sustainably and responsibly on a permanent basis. In this process, this institute will open a new horizon of scientific technology and study in life science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, science, engineering, and the humanities by using advanced information related technology, such as AI. In addition, the institute will promote interdisciplinary research in order to facilitate the creation of social, public, and economic value. Also, this institute will actively contribute to the development of human resources as a “place of orchestration and co-creation” to produce researchers and technicians of the next generation who will contribute to the dramatic improvement of datability.

Budget allocation based on evaluation

By establishing a category of budget allocation based on evaluation for the President’s Discretionary Fund, budgets are allocated to highly evaluated departments.

 This system aims to further enhance departments’ performances by allocating budgets according to their performances. In the 2016-2017 academic year, performances of departments were evaluated in terms of diversity, internationalization, and governance, and budgets were allocated to 6 highly evaluated departments.
Establishment of the Center for the Study of Co∗ Design

 We established The Center for the Study of Co∗ Design in July 2016 as an “institute to cultivate a high level of general ability (Innovation x Design x Actualization Ability) while expanding expert knowledge in society to solve social issues.” The name “Co” has a number of different meanings, such as Crossing Borders, Communication, Co-creation, Collaboration, and Concerto, which signify the many functions and roles of the Center.
 This center will develop new graduate school education while inheriting the activity, experience, and achievements of the Center for the Study of Communication Design (CSCD) and the Global Collaboration Center and supporting All-Around Type Program for Leading Graduate Schools “Cross-Boundary Innovation Program." In that sense, this Center will play a central role in educational activities in the previously announced OU Vision.

Implementation of the Cross-Appointment System with companies

Osaka University has expanded the range of application of the Cross- Appointment System to companies in order to further invigorate education and research activities.

 Osaka University introduced a cross-appointment system in January 2014 ahead of other universities and has explored new possibilities of higher education by promoting education, research, and industry-university collaboration though active use of the Cross-Appointment System.
 Since November 2016, we have made it possible to conclude Cross-Appointment Agreements with companies. It has become possible to further enhance the quality of education and research at Osaka University by accepting personnel from private companies and through involvement of OU researchers at private companies.
 Under this agreement, accepting researchers from private companies and sending OU researchers to private companies began in the 2017-2018 academic year.
Establishment of the Office of Management and Planning

Strengthening university management

 The IR Team at the Institute for Academic Initiatives Strategic Planning Office, which had performed duties in institutional research (IR) such as collection, analysis, evaluation, and provision of data on strategic university management, along with the Support Office for Large-Scale Education and Research Projects, which had performed tasks associated with university research administrators (URA), such as analyses of policy trends and research quality, were reorganized into the Office of Management and Planning in April 2016.
 The Office of Management and Planning aims to support university management by the leadership through collection and analysis of information necessary for deciding university policies and strategies as well as by making proposals on measures at Osaka University in order to revitalize education, research, and social contribution.

Minoh Campus Relocation Agreement

Official agreement concluded with Minoh City to relocate Minoh Campus

 In June 2015, Osaka University and Minoh City exchanged memorandums to move the Minoh Campus to the station front at Minoh-Semba station (tentative name), a new station to be opened with the extension of the Kita-Osaka Kyuko Line, in order to develop education and research and improve the learning environment at the university, as well as realize lively city planning.
 Since then, Osaka University and Minoh City have held multiple meetings regarding the campus relocation, and an official agreement was concluded in April 2016.

Osaka University Gender Equality Declaration

Osaka University declared to promote the Gender Equality Promotion Action Plan consisting of three pillars on a university-wide basis and established the Center for Gender Equality Promotion.

 Action Plan for Promoting Gender Equality
 Osaka University aims for diversity in education, research and work, moving toward this goal through continuing internal improvements. Under the “OU (Osaka University) Vision 2021” targeting our 90th anniversary in 2021, the Action Plan for Promoting Gender Equality will be implemented with the following three priorities.
  1. Strengthen support for individuals to balance study, research, work and family
    Enhance the vibrant education, research and work environments at Osaka University so students and staff members may better reach their full potential at all stages of their lives while enjoying work-life balance.
  2. Increasing female students, senior academics and administrative staff members
    Develop a sustainable and progressive system to train female students, female staff members, and female senior staff members to promote gender equality, thus educating female leaders who will contribute to the creation of a better society.
  3. Raise awareness among staff members of the importance of realizing a diverse environment
    Cooperate with local and international society to raise awareness among staff members, emphasizing the importance of diversity and the university’s actions to promote diversity. Foster an environment of study, research and work based on mutual respect, in which all individuals are free and equal to pursue their work and study regardless of gender, nationality, disability or sexual orientation.

Introduction of a Four-term System

We introduced the Four-term System university-wide in the 2017-2018 academic year.

 To answer the demands of society, as a part of education reform to develop innovative individuals that will create new societal worth in our future global society, we introduced a four-term system in April 2017. This flexible academic calendar will allow students to learn independently and ensure opportunities for various learning experiences.
 Schools and graduate schools will proceed with curriculum reform in order to maximize the effects of this academic calendar reform so that students can independently study and have more opportunities to study abroad.
Establishment of the Institute for Advanced Co-Creation Studies

Developing internationally distinguished early career researchers

 The Institute for Advanced Co-Creation Studies was established based on the idea of “Open Research,” one of the 5 pillars of OU Vision 2021, in order to hire and develop internationally distinguished early career researchers who have both high-level research management abilities and a high sense of morals and will promote education and research at the world’s highest level. This Institute also aims to promote the world's most advanced research as well as the research that will become the flagship of joint research and further develop “Industry on Campus” through donations from corporations and organizations to hire distinguished young faculty members.

Establishment of the Office for Industry-University Co-Creation

Formation of an institute to realize a virtuous cycle for problem solving: In order to solve social challenges, we will discover seeds on campus, match industry and university, and work on advanced innovation through collaboration between industry, government, university, and the private sector -- a virtuous cycle from which new knowledge is created in the problem-solving process.

 The main objective of the Office for Industry-University Co-Creation, in addition to its conventional functions, is to formulate an environment for promoting advanced open innovation (an innovation process beyond organizational boundaries) through collaboration between industry, university, government, and the private sector. In this environment, we will unearth visible and potential challenges, formulating a big picture of future society. To achieve this vision for the future, we will discover seeds in interdisciplinary fields on campus and match industry-university for solving these social challenges. We will promote our unique and full-scale open innovation by involving citizens and municipalities and lead this to the creation of innovation for overcoming social issues through the establishment of collaborative research centers.
 Along with these endeavors, the Office for Industry-University Co-Creation also promotes the effective, university-wide use of research resources based on strategic intellectual property management, the development of human resources who create innovation through open innovation, as well as the construction of an innovation ecosystem (virtuous cycle through innovation) through the use of investment business.

University-wide introduction of Talent-oriented Examinations and Admission by Recommendation

University-wide introduction of entrance examinations to screen applicants comprehensively from multiple aspects in the forms of Talent-oriented Examinations and Admission by Recommendation

 For the purpose of producing individuals who can thrive in the global society of the 21st century, all undergraduate schools conducted Talent-oriented Examinations and Admission by Recommendation (World Tekijuku Entrance Examination) to select students from a perspective different from general screening.
 We set the percentage of successful applicants selected by these screening methods at about 10% of the total number of successful applicants for the 2019-2020 academic year. In accordance with this change, Osaka University has decided not to hold the Entrance Examinations in March (Previously, examinations had been held in February and March.)
 These entrance examinations aim to gather a greater variety of future global leaders: those who are highly motivated and have acquired the attitude and ability to study independently during high school and other places, those who have the ability to discover and solve problems, and those who have high academic aspirations. Specifically, according to their admission policies, the undergraduate schools multilaterally and comprehensively determine successful applicants by referencing the following: applicants' grades in high school, results of the National Center Test for University Admissions, results of TOEFL and other English proficiency examinations and an interview. In addition, if necessary, they also use the following as reference: the applicant’s results of independent research in high school, experiences of study abroad, the applicant’s letter of intent, and a letter of recommendation from his/her high school principal.

Establishment of the Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives

Creation of new academic areas that utilize the strengths of Osaka University

 As the diversification of academic fields continues to progress and further collaborations with society are being sought out, we established the Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives (OTRI) in order to advance leading interdisciplinary research through cooperation beyond the boundaries of organization, society, and nationality.

OTRI contains the following research divisions:
  • Drug Discovery Science Division
  • Systems Intelligence Division
  • Photon Science and Technology Division
  • Global History Division

Introduction of a budget adjustment system

A system to allocate multiple-year budgets according to the mid-term financial outlook of each department

 In order to perform solid university management based on a mid- and long-term financial vision, we established the budget adjustment system to support financial management. Departmental budgets vary by fiscal year depending on facility updates and research progress. The budgets for the 2016-2017 academic year were allocated to departments that requested to have this system applied.

General Education/Liberal Arts Education Reforms

Formulation of “Summary on the direction of general/liberal arts education reform” in preparation for curriculum reform in the 2019-2020 academic year

 In existing curriculum at the university, general education decreases as one’s grade in school advances and specialized education increases just like the shape of a rectangular triangle, or wedge. Thus, we will change this “wedge-shaped curriculum" to a "vertical curriculum" so that students can obtain specialized education, liberal arts education, and education to cultivate a sense of internationality in parallel consistently from the first year of undergraduate school until they complete graduate school.
 In first-year education, small seminars that incorporate education methods such as active learning will be expanded university-wide. In integrated general education from the first year of undergraduate school through graduate school, information technology education and mathematical statistics education will be provided in response to information society development.
 Especially for education from the latter half of students’ undergraduate education, in order to expand students’ field of view, we will improve communication courses to encourage students to collaborate with those from other fields. Also, we will provide high level cultural education, such as entrepreneur education, Problem Based Learning (PBL), and intellectual property education in order to develop innovative individuals. In addition, we will improve foreign language education in order to enhance 25 languages and students’ English proficiency.
 In order to carry out this educational reform from the 2019-2020 academic year, we will draw up guidelines for curriculum reform and carry out integral reform of general education, liberal arts education, language education, and specialized education.
Establishment of the International Advanced Research Institute

Formation of a world class research hub boasting an excellent research environment and world-class research

 To become a “world-leading comprehensive research university,” Osaka University aims to promote the multifaceted and diverse development of research by establishing world-class research hubs that maximize the individuality and strengths of Osaka University. Towards the realization of this goal, we established the International Advanced Research Institute (IARI) to work on the formation of a new world-class hub through endeavors such as the proposal of new World Premier International Research Center (WPI) research hubs and support for the acquisition of large-scale external funds.

Acquisition and cultivation of excellent young researchers

To acquire and develop excellent young researchers and create an environment for them to concentrate more on their research, Osaka University established the Institute for Advanced Co-Creation Studies as well as a new personnel system.

 The Institute for Advanced Co-Creation Studies, which is described in the OU Vision 2021’s Open Research, will employ excellent young researchers as “Specially Designated Professors” for up to 10 years by using funds from organizations and businesses outside the university. These individuals are exempt from duties other than research so that they can devote themselves to research.
 Furthermore, in order to support graduate schools in employment of young researchers at their own expense, Osaka University will secure more than 100 positions to which budgets can be allocated at the discretion of the president from the 2017-2018 academic year.

Restructuring of support organizations

All support organizations were reviewed for enhancement and restructuring in April 2017

  • The Center for Global Initiatives was reorganized in order to strengthen global collaboration.
  • The Liaison Office for Osaka University Funds was integrated with the Alumni Office as the Liaison Office for Osaka University Funds to strengthen its functions in order to strengthen ties with related companies and graduates.
  • The Campus Design Laboratory, the Facility Management Office, and the Department of Environment and Energy Management were integrated into the Sustainable Campus Office in order to strengthen the function of promoting campus improvement and management as well as energy saving policies.
  • The Health Care Center and the Support Center for Campus Life were integrated into the Support Center for Campus Life and Health Services in order to improve counseling services for students, faculty, and staff.
Realization of Advanced Language Education

Language education reform through the establishment of the Osaka University Multilingual Education Center (provisional name)

 At the Osaka University Center for Education in Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Language and Culture has played a central role in foreign language education, such as university-wide introduction of TOEFL-ITP tests, establishment of the academic English Support Desk, and provision of English courses by outsourcing.
 Based on these endeavors, in order to take great responsibility for university-wide language education and continuously promote language education reform, Osaka University will establish the “Osaka University Multilingual Center” (provisional name). Personnel responsible for language education will gather in this integrated, sustainable, and active organization to show the true value of the merger between Osaka University and Osaka University of Foreign Studies and develop and carry out university-wide education in English and 24 other languages.
 Through this reform (i.e., by establishing this center) we aim to raise students' practical English levels by combining class organization by proficiency based on results of English proficiency tests outside the university with e-learning featuring self-learning. The center will develop and carry out educational programs to drastically improve students’ English ability including research output skills, writing, reading comprehension, as well as English for specific purposes.
In addition, the center will promote multilingual education, which is only possible at Osaka University, the only comprehensive national university in Japan with a School of Foreign Studies.
Promoting Comprehensive Industry-University Co-Creation from the Basic Research Stage

The Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement for advanced immunological research with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

 As the first step toward the promotion of “comprehensive industry-university collaboration from the stage of basic research,” a new stage of industry-university collaboration, Osaka University concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd in May 2016.
 Chugai will, according to the agreement, provide one billion yen per year for a period of 10 years, allowing IFReC to maintain an academic environment where researchers can focus on basic research originating from their own ideas and aim to return their results of advanced immunology research back to society.
 In addition, Osaka University signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in February 2017. By effectively and efficiently utilizing funds from Otsuka Pharmaceutical, we aim to develop advanced basic research and return our research results to society through open innovation.

Building a System for Cycle-Oriented Nurturing of Female Researchers through Industry-University-Government Collaboration

With the Initiative for Realizing Diversity in the Research Environment (Collaboration Type) sponsored by MEXT, Osaka University provides support for improving the research environment of diverse personnel, especially female researchers, enhancing the quality of their research and promoting active employment and appointment of women in higher positions.

 Osaka University, together with the National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN), and Daikin Industries, will address (1) cycle-oriented nurturing of female researchers, (2) support for work-life balance, and (3) changes to work methods, in order to realize a diverse environment. Researchers from Osaka University can work actively at other research institutes through the Cross-Appointment System and internships and have various role models and career paths.
 Through collaboration among these three institutes, (1) cycle-oriented nurturing of female researchers will be achieved and good practice in (2) support for work-life balance and (3) changes in work methods will be shared by these three institutes. This endeavor that started with these three institutes will develop from the Hokusetsu area where they are located, to the Osaka area, and to the Kansai region, nurturing outstanding female researchers in order to expand diverse research environments where they can thrive.

Osaka University in a New Era