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Institute for Academic Initiatives full-fledged start-up


The "Plan for the Implementation of University Reform" established in June 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) stipulates the purpose of university reform is the rebirth of the university through a reexamination of university functions coupled with an enhancement and strengthening of university governance. Thus, in order to accelerate the desired reform of national universities, MEXT established Grants for Promoting University Reform and authorized a 2012 budget of 13.8 billion yen for the purpose of supporting national universities aggressively addressing such reform. Reforms that would be viewed positively involve cooperation and reorganization outside the traditional university structure and changes building upon university strengths and unique characteristics as well as governance reform.
Osaka University is committed to aggressively promoting university reform. Our reform plan "Governance Reform Implementation Plan for a Research University -- the Concept of a University within Osaka University" was selected by MEXT in 2012 resulting in 630 hundred million yen being allocated as a budget for the 2012-13 academic year. In total, a budget of some 2.5 billion yen will be allocated over a six-year period from the 2012-13 through 2017-18 academic years.
Thus, in order to demonstrate the collective strength of Osaka University by making use of our departmental expertise, Osaka University has established the Institute for Academic Initiatives (IAI) as "a university within Osaka University." IAI aims to facilitate enhanced management of interdisciplinary education and research and to efficiently enforce university governance by improving the conditions under which the president can display greater leadership.

Specifically, the Education and Research Promotion Group in IAI, consisting of outstanding full-time faculty, is responsible for managing new education and research challenges in interdisciplinary fields. In the cross-boundary innovation program, Program for Leading Graduate Schools, in addition to the two programs in the 2011-12 academic year, three other programs have been started in the 2012-13 academic year. Moreover, in the cross-boundary innovative program, two new groups have been established recently: Division of Innovative Research for Drug Development and Division of Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics.
Osaka University will full-fledgedly operate the Initiative Planning Office by inviting outstanding personnel from Osaka University and outside it, from Japan and from overseas. The office will make strategic plans and proposals for globalization and support the management of both education and research.
In Osaka University's view, universities must be centers of scholarship and education. OU, whose motto is "Live Locally, Grow Globally," aims to be a world center of scholarship and education and cultivate global personnel who can play leadership roles in a variety of fields. Osaka University will aggressively promote speedy university reform under the president's strong leadership. The adoption of our program by MEXT has given a boost to IAI, leading to its full-fledged operation this year.

In order to share these developments with the general public, the "Osaka University Institute for Academic Initiatives Kick-off Symposium" will be held on Saturday, June 1, at the Knowledge Theater in Grand Front OSAKA in the Umekita district in Osaka City.

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