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Osaka University Partner Summit held


Osaka University Partner Summit, an international symposium to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Osaka University and 100th anniversary of Osaka University of Foreign Studies, was held online on April 30, 2021.

Under the theme of The Role of Universities in Facing Societal Challenges and Recovering from COVID-19, the following partner universities were invited to discuss the future of our collaborations and explore ways in which higher education institutions work together toward solutions for COVID-19 and other societal issues.

Contributing Universities

  • Mahidol University (Thailand)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
  • The University of British Columbia (Canada)
  • University of California, Davis (USA)
  • University College London (UK)
  • University of Groningen (the Netherlands)

The symposium was chaired by Osaka University’s Executive Vice President KAWAHARA Genta. President NISHIO Shojiro gave his opening remarks, after which Mr. MORI Kiyoshi (Vice Secretary General, Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition) greeted the participants.

Next, the research chairs session was held. Six researchers (three from Osaka University and three from our partner universities) introduced the results of their collaborations in three areas related to life: health, wellbeing, and sustainability. The researchers mapped a variety of multidisciplinary projects onto those areas and discussed further opportunities for collaboration among partner universities.

President NISHIO

Executive Vice President KAWAHARA

Mr. MORI (Vice Secretary General, Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition)

Research Chairs Session Participants

  • Prof. Eric Brunner (Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London)
  • Prof. Yanjun Dai (Department of Power and Energy Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
  • Prof. Andrej Zwitter (Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen)
  • Prof. ISO Hiroyasu (Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University)
  • Prof. SHIMOJO Shinji (Cybermedia Center, Osaka University)
  • Prof. DOME Takuo (Social Solution Initiative/Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

Online session with three overseas researchers and OU researchers

After the research chairs session, the student voices session was held under the theme of The Role of Students in Responding to Uncertainty as Future Leaders. Students from Osaka University presented the outcomes of their brainstorming and discussions with students from partner universities. Their dedication to tackling societal issues such as division and disparity under the keyword ‘unity’ was evident. Finally, the students showcased an online performance with a new electronic musical instrument known as ParoTone (developed by eMotto, a venture company from Osaka University). The instrument can be played across borders, and the students hope to perform with ParoTone at Expo 2025.

Students giving their presentations

Following this session, President NISHIO introduced the joint statement on institutional collaboration which had been discussed with the six partner universities for the past six months. The presidents of the other six universities had already signed the statement, and following his remarks, President NISHIO added his signature as well.

President NISHIO presenting the signed joint statement

For the final session of the partner summit, leaders from partner universities submitted video messages in which they responded to a variety of questions related to the role of higher education institutions in a post-COVID-19 world. After playing these video messages, President NISHIO offered his closing remarks.

The summit made clear that, despite our well-established relationships with the partner universities, greater multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration is required in order to create a more diverse, equitable, and sustainable society.

This symposium was only the first step, and Expo 2025 will be an opportunity to display our achievements.

Video messages from partner university leaders

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