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Students showcase their SPEC-funded projects (6 December 2016)


15 Feb 2017



      On 6 December 2016, despite freezing weather, Kyoto University hosted presentations on student projects selected for the 2016 SPEC funding program. The event took place in the Symposium Hall of the International Science Innovation Building.

      SPEC, standing for Student Projects for Enhancing Creativity, has been supporting student initiatives since 2015. Projects are selected through a competition and crowdfunded by the Kyoto University Fund (KUF), with different funding goals set for each project. Key selection criteria are uniqueness and originality, and the six proposals approved for 2016-2017 funding were all recognized by the selection committee as unique, original, and omoroi (creative, intriguing, and exciting).

      Following remarks by Professor Shoji Imatani of the Graduate School of Energy Science, who served on the selection committee, presenters passionately discussed their ideas and ambitions, some of them demoing key components, such as a mobile kitchen and a LEGO model of a nuclear fusion reactor.

      President Juichi Yamagiwa commented on each presentation, and shared his thoughts on the 2016 selections as follows: "I've noted that many of the ideas presented today are about serving people, a new trend that I believe reflects the far-reaching impact SPEC has had since its launch. I'd like to note that service requires constant attention to safety and an ability to deal with a whole range of reactions. To members of the projects involving interactions with people, I'd like to advise you to try to prepare for all possible scenarios and be resilient, so that you may be able to effectively handle, and even benefit from, any unintended outcomes."

      The event also included progress reports on four of the six inaugural SPEC projects. Members provided updates on a study tour, experiments, and other endeavors, with one team reporting that it had won a gold medal at an international competition.

      Professor Yoshihiro Tokuga, vice-president for KUF administration and alumni affairs, then introduced the audience to the means of contributing to SPEC. In addition to making donations via the KUF website, he explained, supporters can now help students by donating their books, CDs, and DVDs to the Hon de Bokin ("donate with books") program, or purchasing certain beverages from designated on-campus vending machines. He also mentioned that SPEC is participating in the 2016 Giving December nationwide charity awareness campaign.

      The event concluded with remarks by Professor Shinsuke Kawazoe, executive vice-president for student affairs and library services, speaking as the selection committee chair.

      Videos of the student presentations can be viewed on the SPEC website and Facebook page, the latter of which also includes comments from project members. Further updates will be posted on the KUF website.

      Kyoto University appreciates your support for its students' unique visions.

      From left: Professor Imatani, President Yamagiwa, VP Tokuga, and EVP Kawazoe

      Representatives of 2016 SPEC projects (from left): Haruka Ueda, master's student at the Graduate School of Agriculture, Kaishi Sakane, master's student at the Graduate School of Energy Science and member of the KU LEGO club, and Gen Nakao, doctoral student at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies

      From left: Kentaro Yoshikawa of the Faculty of Medicine (member of the Kyoto East Asia Community), Ryuhei Ueda, doctoral student at the Graduate School of Letters, and Madoka Sumi of the Faculty of Economics (Starport.com)

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      Students showcase their SPEC-funded projects (6 December 2016)
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