JST Sakura Science Program Report 2015
Japan-Asia Energy Research School in Kyushu University
Research and Education Center for Energy Materials, Devices, and Systems
Research and Education Center of Carbon Resources
Since 2014, two research centers in Kyushu University have gained opportunities to hold “Japan-Asia Energy Research School”. The program has been supported by JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency) Japan-Asia Youth Sakura Exchange Program in Science. The 2nd energy research school was held from Nov. 15 to Dec. 5, 2015, to which ten participants were nominated from Mahidol University (Thailand), Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT, Malaysia), Vietnam National University in HoChiMinh City (VNUHCM, Vietnam), Unviersity of Sebelas Maret (Indonesia), and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI, India). Unfortunately, one of the nominees from Indonesia could not come due to her family affair. Other nine participants stayed at Kyushu University for three weeks, and attended orientation, international symposiums, campus tour besides their activity in related research groups, who prepared plans to provide them experiences in advanced science. The participants also enjoyed Japanese culture, foods, and shopping at downtown in the holidays.
Orientation, Mid-term and Final Meetings
The host research centers are playing an active and important role to perform advanced research related to energy sciences in Kyushu University. In Chikushi campus, two research centers are engaged in activities related to carbon resource sciences and energy materials, devices, and systems. The centers have connection with the research centers and international institute related to hydrogen energy in Ito campus. We had an orientation for participants at the first day of this program, in which energy sciences in Kyushu University were introduced, followed by self-introduction of the participants, safety training, and campus tour in Chikushi. These helped all the participants to know each other.
From the next day, the participants started the research activities in seven research groups as described below. We considered that exchange of their experiences was important for this program, and had two other meetings in which all of the participants got together. The mid-term meeting was held at the occasion when the participants attended the international symposium related to energy sciences held in Nov. 28-29. The participants introduced what they were doing in each research group. The final meeting was held after the Ito campus tour, in which the participants enjoyed exhibitions of fuel cars and production of hydrogen by solar energy. This was a good chance for us to ask them how their impressions of the program was, and in particular, how we can improve the next program which we are going to apply in 2016.
These meetings contributed to deep understanding of the situations of six countries, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Vietnam, which was what we desired in particular. In usual bilateral exchange programs, the participant only have chances to know about only two countries. In this energy school, delegates from six countries could discuss at the same room, and communicate with each other. It was so impressive that they were often discussing how to use advanced technology of Japan for their home country and they exchanged greeting such as “Let’s look for a chance to see you again” with each other at the end of the final meeting.
Research Activities at the Host Research Groups and Experience of Japanese Culture
The program was supported by several host research groups, which took care of one or two participants. We invited two types of participants; one is professors or researchers, the other is students. In some cases, a professor or a team consisting of a researcher and students joined collaboration with the host group. In other cases, students took part in an educational program which the host prepared. The topics of their research ranged from heat pump, planning of energy management, catalysis, thermal electric exchange device to environmental benign mining. The program offered opportunities for the participants to reconsider their research activities and to use advanced instrumentations. The photos below show their activities of some laboratories. Japanese students and faculty staff in Kyushu University shared time and experiments with the participants. We thank the professors who visited to us for giving good advices to students of Kyushu University. Their visiting was a good opportunity for the Japanese professors, too, to recheck the research or the educational programs of each host group.
The participants spent almost all time in the laboratory except the meetings referred to earlier. Students often asked the members in each group not only about the research but also about what is interesting in Fukuoka area or in Japan. On Nov. 23, we went together with all the participants to sightseeing in the city, and they enjoyed museums, shrines and temples, and shopping areas in the downtown. They got information of the city, how to use subways, trains, and buses. After the tour, they could enjoy the city in their own way, sometimes with Japanese students, in other cases with students of Kyushu University who came from their home country.
Towards the Continuous Efforts to Collaborate with Asian Countries on Energy Research
Hakata and Fukuoka locate very close to East Asia, and have a long history of being a gate of cultures from the world. One of the main policy of Kyushu University is to promote collaborations with Asian Universities and Research Institutes. This program supported by JST is aimed at providing a platform on which students, researchers and professors from both Asian countries and Japan work together to develop advanced energy sciences. The background of this program is former Global COE program supported by MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan) “Novel Carbon Resource Sciences” (2008-2013). The activity of this COE program has been followed up by the two centers using several different financial supports. This program supported by JST Sakura Science is one of such successive activities, which is aimed at the development of human resources of Japan and Asia in the field of sciences related to energy as well as environment. To solve world-wide problems such as shortage of natural resources, environmental pollution, and global warming, collaborations with Asian countries to develop sustainable society are crucially important and necessary for Japanese universities. Kyushu University has been continuously making efforts to make good human network in Asia.
Purpose of this program is not a simple student exchange, which is seen in many other programs. We regard it very important to invite professors and help them to experience this energy research school. Professors who understand the purpose of this program may encourage their colleagues and students in their home institutes to join the next Sakura Science program which will be carried out at Kyushu University in the coming years. We consider this to be helpful for making a human network in environmental and energy sciences. In Sakura Program 2014, we invited nine participants from China, Mongolia, Indonesia, and Thailand. In this year (2015), the participants were from India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. A special additional feature of this year was invitation of senior professors from the universities and research institutes of the Sakura participants during the period of the program 2015. This was made possible by a fund from Kyushu University and we asked them for a better understanding of our activity aimed at collaborations with Asian countries. This actually helped us to make continuous collaborative relationships between Kyushu University and these Asian institutes for promoting research collaborations and student exchange. In several cases, discussions for the possible agreement or MOU on the research and student exchange have already been started. The following is a message we have received from a senior professor who visited us which expresses sincere thanks to the Sakura Science program. (Dr. Jayashri is a researcher, Ms. Rohini is a student, and Dr. Saravanan is a senior researcher from CSIR-NEERI, India.)
Jayashri and Rohini are back to Nagpur (Saravanan will be back day after tomorrow) with nice memories of Kyushu and you all. Thanks a lot for all the help to them and I am sure their visit was very useful for them as well as for our collaboration. They could do good work as well as had excellent exposure to international programme which will certainly help them in their career. (Dr. Nitin K. Labhsetwar, Professor of Indian National Science Academy, Senior Principal Scientist at National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI), India.
Development of a human network needs a long time and continuous efforts of related parties to understand each other. We thank JST Sakura program and our colleagues for supporting our program. We are now doing our best to continue Japan-Asia Energy Research School, hopefully supported by all the participants and people who may be newly interested in our activity.