セクション

第1回ブリストル大学-京都大学シンポジウム 挨拶 (2013年1月10日)

Distinguished guests, Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning. (As introduced,) my name is Hiroshi Matsumoto, president of Kyoto University, and behalf of Kyoto University, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you for your participation in this, the 1st Bristol–Kyoto Symposium.

We are particularly honored today by the presence of our Distinguished guests, His Excellency, Mr. Keiichi Hayashi, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Kingdom, and Dr. Kozo Hiramatsu, the director of JSPS London.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my most sincere appreciation to Vice-Chancellor Eric Thomas and all of the University of Bristol faculty and staff members, who have worked so diligently to make this symposium possible, as well as, of course, their equally dedicated counterparts from Kyoto University.

Today we are joined by approximately 140 scholars from the University of Bristol and 90 scholars and other members from Kyoto University. The combined knowledge of the scholars assembled here thoroughly encompasses the thirteen academic fields which have been selected as the foci for this symposium. I am certain that the cross-fertilization of that expansive array of wisdom, knowledge, and experience will yield new opportunities for joint research and other forms of collaboration, which will further strengthen the robust partnership between our two institutions, and lead to the generation of new ideas and new knowledge.

Kyoto University was established in 1897, and is now in its 115th year. Throughout our history, we have sought to provide our scholars with a stimulating academic environment based on open-minded dialogue and free thinking or liberation from what one has had in one's mind or brain. We have cultivated a distinctive academic philosophy of "self-reliant learning," through which we have endeavored to advance innovative research grounded in robust moral ideals. The university's spirit and approach is very much influenced by its location in the city of Kyoto—traditionally a seat of knowledge and culture, and also a vibrant, modern, and outward looking international city.

As a modern higher education institution dedicated to the pursuit of a harmonious and stable global society, international cooperation and exchange are vital components of Kyoto University's operations. To that end we are actively engaged in providing our students and researchers with experience abroad, as well hosting students and researchers from our international partner institutions. We also regularly host international symposia in Japan and overseas, and play active roles in several international university associations.

To date we have concluded nine international exchange agreements and seven student exchange agreements with leading universities in the UK, including, of course, Bristol University. Under those agreements, significant numbers of our researchers and students visit the UK annually to engage in joint research, and to broaden their own horizons.

Our formal partnership with Bristol University is still very young, but it has developed rapidly. We first concluded a departmental agreement for cooperation on industry-academia collaboration in 2008, a General Memorandum for Academic Cooperation and Exchange in 2011, and, most recently, a Student Exchange Agreement in 2012. We are looking forward, therefore, to developing the student exchange component of our cooperative activities in the near future. And here today I will be extremely honored to sign, together with President Eric Thomas, an affirmation of our general memorandum, to restate and refresh our commitment to working together for the benefit of our students, faculty members, and staff, and to cooperate on enhancing education and research endeavors of both of our institutions.

In February 2009, Kyoto University opened its European Representative Office in London as a base of operations for our industry-academia collaboration activities in Europe. Since then, we have endeavored to make the office the central hub for a global network for industry-academia collaboration with universities and international businesses—not only the UK, but throughout Europe. We have placed a particular emphasis on forming (trilateral) links with existing European university-industry partnerships.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The achievements of Kyoto University's researchers have been acknowledged worldwide. One prominent recent example is last year's award of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Prof. Shinya Yamanaka of our Center for iPS Cell Research and Application for his epoch-making discoveries in the field of stem cell research. Prof. Yamanaka's award is the eighth Nobel Prize to be conferred on a Kyoto University researcher.

Prof. Yamanaka's achievements are remarkable as they have brought ideas and concepts which were previously outside the realms of recognized science firmly into the fold of scientific possibility. Until relatively recently, the concept that adult cells could be genetically "reprogrammed" was not the stuff of science, but of science fiction. To pursue the realization of such "pre-scientific" possibilities—which may even be considered to be a complete absurdity or fly in the face of common sense. Therefore such pursuit of pre-science possibility definitely needs a remarkable deal of courage and conviction.

But such challenges are the qualities and essence which lead to true breakthroughs.

I just used the phrase "pre-scientific possibilities" to describe the status of Prof. Yamanaka's discoveries prior to their actual achievement, and I think that it is important to distinguish between "non-scientific" and "pre-scientific" concepts.
By "pre-science" I refer to concepts, which, although presently beyond our grasp, are merely waiting to be realized and brought within the realms of acknowledged science. These are often concepts which already have a place in human consciousness in the form of myths and legends—the stuff of imagination. To recognize the potential of such pre-scientific dreams, and to excise them from the ether of the imagination with the scalpel of science is a remarkable feat.

It is my sincere hope that this symposium will be more than an opportunity for you to exchange information and knowledge. I hope that, through your mutual support and camaraderie, you might inspire each other towards feats of greatness. I encourage you to share with each other not only your knowledge and wisdom, but also your loftiest dreams and aspirations, and I hope that you might instill in each other the boldness and daring to reach for that which is as-yet unknown—including ideas which lie within the realms of "pre-science."

In closing, I would like to express once again my gratitude to the University of Bristol for your cooperation, generosity, and tremendous efforts towards realizing this event. And I would also like to convey my very best wishes to the scholars from both institutions for enjoyable and productive sessions and dialogues to come.

I hope that this event will present you with excellent opportunities for new ideas, new discoveries, and new, and lasting, friendships.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.