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President Yamagiwa attends 7th Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference (12–13 September 2019)


11 Dec 2019


    • 一般・地域

    A delegation from Kyoto University attended the 7th Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference at Heidelberg University on 12-13 September 2019. The delegation was headed by President Juichi Yamagiwa and Executive Vice-President Kayo Inaba (gender equality, international affairs, and public relations), and included thirty-six faculty and staff members and four students.

    Approximately 200 people from the six member universities of the HeKKSaGOn German-Japanese university consortium (see below for details) participated in the conference, which focused on the theme of "The Future of the HeKKSaGOn Alliance: Priorities, Challenges, Chances". The HeKKSaGOn Presidents' Conference has been held alternately in Germany and Japan by one of the six member universities since the consortium's establishment in 2010. This seventh conference, which was the first in the consortium's "second phase", included discussions to determine the HeKKSaGOn priority areas of focus from now until 2029, as well as proposals for the format of future Japanese-German University Presidents' Conferences.

    The first day of the conference opened with addresses by Rector Bernhard Eitel of Heidelberg University, and Consul General Tetusya Kimura of the Consulate-General of Japan in Munich. After the addresses, the participants separated into two groups for tours of the Heidelberg University campus.

    In the afternoon of the first day, a closed presidents' meeting was held with the participation of the presidents and vice-presidents of the six member universities. Simultaneously, the organization's eight research groups held working-group meetings, and a students' workshop was also held.

    The closed presidents' meeting included presentations by a president or vice-president from each member institution in which they discussed their latest initiatives and proposed ideas for future collaboration. President Yamagiwa gave an overview of Kyoto University's Designated National University initiatives, and made several suggestions for future collaboration with the other member universities.

    In the morning of the second day, a second closed presidents' meeting was held to discuss HeKKSaGOn's second-term strategy, and draft a joint statement based on the conclusions of the meeting.

    A plenary session followed in the afternoon, in which the outcomes of the presidents' meetings, working-group meetings, and the students' workshop were shared among all attendees. The conference then concluded with the signing of a joint statement by the presidents and exchanges of commemorative gifts.

    During the meeting, four new HeKKSaGOn "priority areas" were established. Collaborative research groups composed of researchers from member universities that are focused on fields related to the priority areas will be invited to apply for funding from HeKKSaGOn. The new priority areas are as follows:

    1. Transcultural studies and the transformation of cultural heritage
    2. Data science, digitalization, and artificial intelligence
    3. Health, well-being, and safe and resilient societies
    4. Engineering molecular systems and bioimaging

    The next HeKKSaGOn Presidents' Conference, which will focus on the theme of "Health, well-being, safe and resilient societies", is scheduled to be held at Tohoku University in autumn 2021. The year 2021 will also mark the 160th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Germany.

    President Yamagiwa delivers a presentation during the presidents' meeting

    The presidents' meeting

    The signing of the joint statement (from left): VP Thomas Hirth (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), EVP Toshiya Ueki (Tohoku University), Rector Bernhard Eitel (Heidelberg University), President Juichi Yamagiawa (Kyoto University), VP Hiltraud Casper-Hehne (University of Göttingen), and President Shojiro Nishio (Osaka University)

    The conference participants

    The HeKKSaGOn University Consortium

    HeKKSaGOn is a university consortium comprised of six leading universities from Japan and Germany: Kyoto University, Tohoku University, and Osaka University from Japan, and Heidelberg University, Göttingen University, and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology from Germany. The consortium was established in 2010 with the aim of enhancing academic exchange between Japanese and German universities in order to develop and advance scientific knowledge in both countries. The name HeKKSaGOn is derived from the locations of the member universities: Heidelberg, Kyoto, Karlsruhe, Sendai, Göttingen, and Osaka.

    The consortium's main activities include the regularly held Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference, collaborative research projects, and summer school programs for doctoral students. Kyoto University serves as the chair university for the Japanese members, and works to coordinate the consortium's activities. Heidelberg University is the chair university for the German members.

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    President Yamagiwa attends 7th Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference (12–13 September 2019)
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