Komaba Institute for Science (KIS)

Director’s Message

We proudly announce the sparkling launch of Komaba Institute for Science.

This institute aims at two goals. One is to call for the researchers who are accelerating the advanced research areas. Another is to enrich the natural science education for the students in undergraduate, especially freshmen and sophomores, as well as graduate students.

Regarding the first aim, we have taken an approach never taken before. Usually, senior professors specify the field of research in detail upon opening a position of a researcher. In addition to this, many requirements such as age and fluency in Japanese get in the way. Often it is difficult to find and employ a good researcher who meets all the conditions. Sometimes, unluckily, a promising candidate accepts another offer just before we send our message to him/her. Moreover, the field selected by the seniors is not guaranteed to flourish in the future.

Therefore, I adopted my personal faith for recruiting researchers to Komaba Institute for Science. I applied the following two ideas of mine: “See talent rather than the field,” and, “Offering posts and comfortable research environment to gifted researchers will yield exciting science.” Science has no border. We should explore borderless research fields to find brilliant young scientists. Since the University of Tokyo has numbers of institutes, one of it should be allowed to take such an approach.

For the second aim, I believe it ideal if these researchers could interact with undergraduate students as well as graduate students intensively. In particular, it would be great if the interaction is realized with the students who are eager to learn more than what is currently provided.

For this purpose, we opened the special classes with a small number of students, which we call “Advanced Rika (Science),” for freshmen and sophomores. The classes are intended for systematic understandings of advanced subjects, unlike the abundant type in which only the introductions of several recent topics are given. Students surely will learn many things and be inspired. At the same time, the fundamental questions from the young freshmen could trigger new ideas in the teaching researchers. We established this institute to make them happen.

Though this plan might sound like a dream too big, we fortunately received unexpectedly encouraging approval from the university, being able to make this plan come true. On January 1st of 2019, three new members joined our institute, being in charge of Advanced Rika starting from this April. The contents are so exciting that even professional researchers (including me!) wish to attend all the classes. It would be the ultimate happiness for me if such an exciting educational system, where excellent talents will raise super excellent talents, blooms.

April, 2019
Akira Shimizu
Director of Komaba Institute for Science