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Initiatives for Attractive Education in Graduate School

The "Initiatives for Attractive Education in Graduate School" project is being newly promoted in 2005 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a means of responding to the needs of modern society by improving training and making post-graduate education more appealing so as to produce young researchers with ample creativity. The "construction of an original thought circuit centered on experiences in different fields" for the life sciences graduate program, is to receive major financial support from the government over the next two years (fiscal 2005 and 2006).
Construction of an Original Thought Circuit from Experiences in Different Fields

Modern life sciences are symbolized by the variety of objects and methodologies of research, such as the environments, genomes, and bioinformation, all of which make it vital for a researcher's vision to extend across more than one field. Our aim is to provide the training needed to produce people capable of original thought and having advanced problem-solving abilities by giving them experience in different fields.
Our theme is "All of Tokyo is our Institute" whereby we make use of the capital's abundance of testing and research facilities, offices, high schools, and businesses, so as to provide the educational opportunities given below.

(1) Research outside the laboratory
By performing our research in other than our everyday laboratory (other laboratories, research facilities outside the university, overseas research facilities), we can promote problem-solving skills that are flexible and original, and encourage the examining of a problem from different points of view.
 
(2) Outreach
By promoting student leadership by having them visit high schools in the capital, so as to provide research seminars for high school students, and editing publications, we provide students with training in the skills they need to communicate with society, as well as fostering their planning and administration skills.
 
(3) Internships
By providing actual experience in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, research facilities around the capital, as well as in businesses, we foster an enhanced awareness of the needs and concerns of society, while producing people capable of working in a wide range of environments.

To foster the communication skills needed to achieve the above, we provide systematic scientific literacy training, while graduate students improve their project management skills by being responsible for making public presentations where they report on the results of research, as well as planning and managing publications.

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Within metropolitan Tokyo, there are countless offices, research facilities, high schools, and businesses. It is these that provide us with the means of experiencing a range of different fields. For example, research is undertaken at external research facilities in the capital such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience. Also, outreach programs include visiting some of the many private and metropolitan high schools around the city, to explain the results of research, or hold seminars. Actual business experience is acquired through internships at private businesses as well as at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office and at metropolitan research facilities (such as the Tokyo Combined Agriculture and Forestry Research Center, and the Tokyo Fisheries Experimental Station).

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By gaining experience in different fields, graduate students can free themselves from the fixed ways of thinking that tend to result from specialized research, and instead achieve flexible and original thought processes and the ability to view a problem from multiple viewpoints. Through this interchange with society, realized through our outreach and internship programs, students come to be more sensitive to the concerns and needs of society, while cultivating skills in fields that are new to them. In this way, by fostering researchers capable of original research and with experience in more than one field, we contribute to creating a nation that can contribute greatly to the world through the creation and application of knowledge.

©2015 Department of Biological Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University