On 11 March 2022, the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) hosted the "5th Kyoto University and Mahidol University On-site Laboratory Workshop" online with a total of 116 participants attending: 57 from Kyoto University, 54 from Mahidol University, and 5 from other organizations.
Kyoto University launched the "On-site Laboratory" initiative in September 2018 as part of its strategy under the education ministry's Designated National University (DNU) program. GSGES established the "Kyoto University On-site Laboratory at Mahidol University for Educational and Research Collaboration in Environmental Studies" in 2019 under this initiative in partnership with Mahidol University's Faculty of Engineering.
The workshop opened with addresses from Professor Yasuyuki Kono, Kyoto University's vice-president for international strategy, and from Professor Banchong Mahaisavariya, Mahidol University's president. Keynote lectures were then delivered by GSGES Professor Emeritus Shigeo Fujii, who offered an overview of the On-site Laboratory and its activities.
The Parallel Research Sessions followed with researchers from the two universities divided into groups focusing on: 1) Environmental Science and Engineering; 2) Chemical Engineering; 3) Agriculture and Ecosystem; and 4) Public Health. In each of these sessions, participants reported on recent developments and notable achievements in their respective fields as well as actively exchanging views and sharing information on related topics.
The afternoon program began with the Special Session on "Decentralized water and waste management systems in rural areas", highlighting a newly launched KyotoU-Mahidol University research project and offering an opportunity for researchers from both universities to share their ideas and experiences on international research collaboration.
The plenary session then took place, where Parallel Research Session coordinators and others offered summaries of the presentations and discussions from their respective groups and discussed research and education exchange between the two universities.
This session also included presentations by students enrolled in the KyotoU-Mahidol University double-degree program and early-career researchers engaged in collaborative projects, describing their current undertakings and experiences in Kyoto and Thailand. These were followed by a lively panel discussion on the latest collaborations in research and education, chaired by Dr Eiji Nawara, director of the Kyoto University ASEAN Center.
Finally, the workshop concluded with remarks from Professor Thanapat Wanichanon, vice dean for human capital management and corporate communication at the Mahidol University Faculty of Engineering, and from Professor Takeshi Katsumi, dean of GSGES.
Despite the pandemic restrictions, the workshop received highly positive feedback from many of the participants afterwards for having generated fruitful discussion on research and education collaborations between the two universities as well as yielding new opportunities in the fields covered: environmental science and engineering, chemical engineering, agriculture and ecosystems, and public health. With both Kyoto University and Mahidol University having achieved steady progress in these areas over the past years, even more collaboration between these universities and with other institutions is anticipated in the coming months.