Green Material Innovation

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Purpose of Research

The development of clean energy technology and the sophistication of social infrastructure materials has been recognized as the core of engineering that builds a safe, secure, and affluent society. The Green Material Innovation (GMI) research center aims to create and promote social technology innovation for the creation of a low-carbon society capable of sustainable development in two areas. These areas include clean energy materials and social infrastructure materials. Transforming the modern society into a low-carbon society where sustainable development is possible is an urgent issue. However, this is an overwhelming task for companies to undertake individually. Meanwhile, our university has many advanced research groups that are working on the development of clean energy materials, which is the key to utilizing renewable energy. This is necessary to realize a low-carbon society, and we have continued this endeavor with rigorous research activities. However, in order to actively return the benefits of the results back to society, collaboration with industry and government is indispensable. In addition, material development for reconstructing materials that make up social infrastructure using materials having a long lifespan and harmonized with the environment is also an important issue for the future. Our university has a track record in this field, and the research faculty is developing ambitious research. However, in order to promote the substitution of existing materials, such as manufacturing, inspection, repair, etc., where a systematic method of operation of materials has been established, there are problems for which university personnel alone are not enough to fully grasp the diverse viewpoints that need to be considered. Meanwhile, it is considered difficult for a company to make decisions on all diverse issues by itself. Industry-academia-government collaboration will cooperate to promote open innovation originating from universities in response to major issues that are important yet difficult to address.


Research content / methods

The GMI research center was launched in FY2011 with the support of the special expenses from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, and began an attempt to explore the formation of a new industry-academia-government collaboration revolving around material research that would contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. Up to now, the norm in joint research was that of the collaboration between a single company with a single university researcher (individual: individual). At this research center, we have established the “Clean Energy Materials Industry-Academia-Government Study Group” and the “Ultra-long Life Span Materials Industry-Academia-Government Study Group,” which provides a wide range of opportunities for individuals from industry and government to familiarize themselves with the university, thereby attempting to form collaborations between university researchers, and to undertake rigorous activities with the goal of open innovation that would result from deepening friendship between members, at the same time (multiple: multiple). Using the GMI research center as the platform for industry-academia-government collaboration, in the future we will continue to introduce the research ideas of our university widely to the industry and government by undertaking activities such as the hosting of symposia to introduce the results of research pertaining to clean energy materials and social infrastructure materials. This would promote industry-academia-government collaborations, and create / promote open innovation led by this university. In addition, we will proactively accept working PhDs and joint research members to implement long-term internships and collaborate with industries to carry out research training through joint research seminars. Furthermore, we aim to promote international collaboration through joint research with foreign universities, which will provide opportunities for foreign exchange internships for students and the co-hosting of summer schools with foreign institutions, etc.

As a platform for collaboration between industry, academia, and government, “Clean Energy Materials Industry-Academia-Government Study Group” widely introduces the results of university research to industry and government, in order to create and promote open innovation led by universities. To be specific, the study group focuses on “ionic liquids,” “porous materials,” and “electrocatalysts,” which are fields of clean energy materials that this university holds as its forte, and regular symposia that consist of lectures and discussions of these research results will be held by members of the study group. Moreover, we will hold international conference briefing sessions and share information, which would also include overseas trends. As a result, we will promote research not only by conducting joint research with individual companies on these subjects, but also by forming consortia in areas where achievements are expected from the synergy of individual issues, and by implementing large and national projects. We will also promote education through proactive acceptance of working PhDs and joint research members, implementation of long-term internship at companies, strengthening cooperation with overseas universities, implementation of summer schools and by the establishment of lectures/seminars, etc. on joint research.

In the “Ultralong Life Span Materials Industry-Academia-Government Study Group,” the three research groups in “Metals,” “Ceramics” and “Concrete” will develop each material research within the group, and will emphasize general exchanges to landscape material technology. For example, we will regularly report and discuss the results of technological innovation of social infrastructure materials developed by individual research groups at our university at a co-created site where industry, academia, and government all participate. This will be performed in order to grasp the direction desired by industry and government, and to reflect this in the research agenda. As in the Clean Energy Materials Industry-Academia-Government Study Group, regular symposia will be held to share the latest research results and trends to realize individual joint research and large projects, while also undertaking training of technicians, acceptance of working PhD candidates and conducting internships, to promote the nurturing of human resources that would support the technology in future, so as to create and promote the innovation in material technology.