President Yamagiwa attends 5th Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference (29–30 September 2016)

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On 29–30 September 2016, a Kyoto University delegation attended the 5th Japanese-German University Presidents' Conference at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The delegation was headed by President Juichi Yamagiwa and Dr Kayo Inaba, executive vice-president for gender equality, international affairs, and public relations, and included 19 other faculty and staff as well as three students.

The conference convened under the theme of "Fostering Student Mobility to Shape Tomorrow's Researchers and Innovators", and was attended by approximately 170 people from the six member universities of the Japanese-German HeKKSaGOn University Consortium (see below).

A plenary session on the first day opened with addresses by President Holger Hanselka of KIT, Mr Wolfram Jäger, first mayor of the City of Karlsruhe, President Susumu Satomi of Tohoku University, and Consul General Hidenao Yanagi of the Consulate General of Japan in Munich. These were followed by an overview of funding schemes for Japanese-German cooperation projects, presented by Dr Holger Finken of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Dr Keiichi Kodaira, director of the Bonn Office of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), and Dr Franziska Langer of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

A keynote lecture was then delivered by Mr Christopher Kränzler, managing director of lengoo GmbH entitled, "Going Abroad -- Founding at Home: International Experience as an Asset for Start-Up Entrepreneurs", describing Mr Kränzler's study-abroad experiences and how they have benefited his career.

Next, HeKKSaGOn's eight working groups -- collaborative groups focused on specific areas of research -- reported on their activities and achievements, including collaborative workshops and co-authored papers.

The first day was brought to a close with the presidents of the six member universities presenting on their institutions' policies, achievements, and initiatives related to student mobility.

On the morning of the second day, a presidents-only meeting was held to discuss the future development of HeKKSaGOn and updates to the consortium's mission statement. In parallel, nine working-group research sessions (including one by a newly formed group focused on data science) and the 1st Japanese-German HeKKSaGOn Students' Workshop also took place, the latter dedicated to "Bridging Cultures through Mobility in Research, Higher Education, and Innovation".

In a plenary session held in the afternoon, representatives of the nine working groups and the student workshop reported on their respective meetings. The workshop participants emphasized how taking part in international events such as the HeKKSaGOn workshop could help foster awareness and understanding of other cultures.

The conference concluded with the signing of a joint statement by the presidents of the six HeKKSaGOn member universities, expressing their commitment to a new "road map" orienting working group objectives (to be drafted prior to the next presidents' meeting), aiming to promote student exchange and educational collaboration -- in addition to research -- within the network, and to engage in activities to publicize and raise awareness of HeKKSaGOn.

The next HeKKSaGOn presidents' conference is scheduled to take place 12–13 April 2018 at Osaka University.

Plenary session

President Yamagiwa

From left to right: Rector Bernhard Eitel (Heidelberg University), President Yamagiwa (Kyoto University), President Hanselka, (KIT), President Satomi (Tohoku University), President Ulrike Beisiegel (Göttingen University), and President Shojiro Nishio (Osaka University)

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. It 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 sessions, and summer school programs for doctoral students. Kyoto University serves as the chair university for the Japanese members, and Heidelberg University for the German side.

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