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[Professor Spotlight] Creating new paradigms in our global society - and the engineering department that will help realize these (Masafumi Maeda, President of KUAS)

Blog post   •   Aug 06, 2018 14:18 -12

Constantly thinking of new ways on how to overcome barriers

Ever since I was young, I have felt a certain closeness to teaching, as there were numerous teachers in my family. Naturally, my passion for engineering, specifically in the field of industrial science, has led to me pursuing opportunities in teaching, and also in a variety of other ventures. These include multiple stints of research abroad in Canada, working with Japanese government officials to create new regulations, heading a research institute and launching the first university-industry joint start-up company for materials production in Japanese history.

For instance, regarding the establishment of new regulations I just mentioned, I was fortunate to be involved in creating new rules for a historic first international joint research project with a French government agency in the 1980s, something which had never happened until that point in Japan. We were able to create a way for universities, companies and other institutions to conduct tremendous research as a truly unique multicultural team. From this experience, I realized the importance of tearing down these established barriers and creating new rules that suit our time and needs to initiate a more important social cause.

Engineers: the creators of the stage for our world

At our university as in many others, we have many fields ranging from the social sciences to medicine or bio-environment. Personally, I believe that an engineer’s (and by extension our engineering department) responsibility is to create the foundation for these fields, and by extension the stage for our society as a whole. For example, a robot has applications in so many areas of our life. However, it is important for the engineers to think about how robots interact and communicate with humans from a practical, societal level to truly bring benefit to our society. Another example is in the field of nursing, where technology from monitoring meters to other health equipment has changed the patient-caretaker paradigm. Engineers have to bring a value to the technology they create, and considering the way technology interacts within the pre-existing societal contexts it will be applied in is crucial to create this value. 

Creating new paradigms in our global society - and the engineering department that will help realize these

I have been involved in a multitude of projects, and have been able to gain understanding of my field through the prisms of both academia and business. I know now that innovation is sparked simply by ‘giving it a shot’. At KUAS and through our engineering department, I want to create a new paradigm for manufacturing to change our global society, together with the faculty and students.

About Masafumi Maeda,
President of the Kyoto University of Advanced Science

Dr. Maeda obtained his PhD in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1981. As a distinguished scholar in his field, he used to lead the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo, where he also served as Executive Vice-President. He has assumed his position at KUAS starting in April of 2018 in addition to being the head of Nidec’s Center for Industrial Science. 

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