Activities of the Intercontinental Academia have started in Nagoya

Group photo on the first day of the ICA's second phase.

The activities of the Intercontinental Academia have started in Nagoya. This second stage, to be held from March 6 to 18, continues the work begun in 2015, in São Paulo. Thirteen young researchers are preparing an online course on the subject "Time." The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will be available for free on a virtual platform, possibly Cousera.

The opening ceremony, held on March 7 at the Nagoya University, was chaired by Hitoshi Sakakibara, and had the participation of the institution's president, Seiichi Matsuo. Further attendees were Martin Grossmann, former director of the IEA-USP and member of the Senior Committee for the ICA, Carsten Dose, executive director of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and General Secretary for the ICA, and Hisanori Shinohara, director of theInstitute for Advanced Research (IAR), co-organizer of the project and host of its second phase in Nagoya. After the welcome remarks, the research team conducted an acquaintance tour on the Higashiyama campus.

Physicist Hideyo Kunieda, advisor and vice president of the Nagoya University, gave the opening speech. He highlighted the motto of the University of São Paulo, "Sciencia Vinces" (Latin for "conquer by science"), drawing attention to the importance of this message to the present day. By presenting an overview of the research conducted at the Nagoya University, Kunieda stressed out the fact that six professors of the institution have recently been awarded the Nobel Prize. Kunieda was in São Paulo participating in the first phase of the Intercontinental Academia from April 17 to 29 last year, and gave a lecture on the theme time in astronomy.

Physicist Hideyo Kunieda presenting an overview of the research conducted at the Nagoya University.

Award-winning research

Ryoji Noyori won the Nobel Prize in 2001 and Osamu Shimomura in 2008, both in Chemistry. Also in 2008, professors Makoto Kobayashi e Toshihide Maskawa shared the award in Physics with Yoichiro Nambu, from the University of Chicago.

In 2014, another Nobel in Physics for the Nagoya University: Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano shared the award with Shuji Nakamura, from the University of California in Santa Barbara. The white LED, popular for being an economical source of light, was a creation of this trio of scientists.

Kunieda drew attention to the fact that some studies take decades to get to be a relevant invention. Hence the importance of young researchers to build the future. "But the role of a great mentor is also important," he said.

Attracting young talent is among the Nagoya University internationalization strategies, according to Kunieda. The institution promotes student symposiums, offers short and medium-term courses, short and long-term visits, exchanges between researchers, cooperative agreements and other actions.

Among the innovative projects of the Nagoya University there is the Center for Integrated Research of Future Electronics (CIRFE), whose research has resulted in savings of 7% in electricity costs in Japan, and the Institute of Innovation for Future Society, focused onapplied research involving several areas.

Time in the sciences

The Intercontinental Academia is a project of theUniversity-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS), a network that brings together 36 institutes for advanced study of universities from all continents.

The IEA-USP and the IAR-Nagoya are responsible for the first edition, which is producing interdisciplinary collaborative research on the concepts of time in the various sciences.

The second edition of the Intercontinental Academiaalso divided in two phases, addesses the theme "Human Dignity". The organizers are the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (March 6-18) and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung - ZiF), of the Bielefeld University (August 1-12).

Programme - Nagoya

More information on the Intercontinental Academia

Intellectual courage

Martin Grossmann thanked whoever has contributed to bring the ICAto life. The project of gathering young researchers from around the world to a work that lasts a whole year was released in 2012 during a meeting of the UBIAS Steering Committee held at Jawaharlal NehruInstitute of Advanced Study, in New Delhi.

Grossmann remembered the master classs given by Professor José Goldembergformer president of USP and current president of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), during the first meeting of the ICA, in São Paulo. Goldemberg was asked what a young researcher profile should be to meet the challenges of career and the university of the future. "They should be aggressive," he said.

Grossmann pointed out that the meaning of "being aggressive" in the world of science could be translated to "being bold" or "having intellectual courage", which coincides with the motto of the Nagoya University: "cultivate the intellectual courage."

Martin Grossmann, former director of the IEA-USP and member of the Senior Committee for the ICA.

Interdisciplinary approach is fundamental to the university of the future, according to Grossmann, speaking of the research at the IEA-USP. "To listen to the others, even if from different disciplines, is fundamental to the advancement of science," he said.

"How can a network of young researchers have some relevance when there is a secular institution like university? The answer is to promote research and interdisciplinary encounters that allow to associate science, culture and technology," said Grossmann.

Facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue

"The Nagoya University has been playing a leading role and giving decisive support for the activities of the UBIAS," said Carsten Dose. "This is a leading institution on a global scale and, therefore, to be here in the second phase of the ICA is a privilege."

Carsten Dose, from the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and General Secretary for the ICA.

Dose recalled the origins of the ICA and the UBIAS network, thanked the hospitality of the host university and the partnerships that enabled all the activities. "The ICA reminds us of what is essential for our institutions, which is to bring together young researchers in a work that facilitates dialogue between different disciplines and different countries," he said.

He remembered the advantages of having institutes for advanced studies related to universities, because these units have bases for producing science more freely, in a way that conventional institutions can not.

In a direct message to the young researchers of the ICA, Dose said he wanted "ambition" to be maintained, as well as the search for "new ideas to make the ICA keep advancing."

The IAR in expansion

Hisanori Shinohara presented the principles, activities and structure of the IAR. "We work with a small staff, as required by the modern institutions, but we intend to expand during my management, not only in terms of human resources but also in terms of budget," he said.

Hisanori Shinohara, from the IAR-Nagoya, presenting the Institute's activities

Shinohara highlighted that the principles governing the IAR are reporting research excellence produced at Nagoya University and the IAR to the academic community, giving substantial support to research excellence and promoting the independence of prominent researchers.

The academic advisory board of the IAR has 13 members, including the six scientists that have been awarded with the Nobel Prize. The institute currently has six research projects in progress. It seeks to encourage and promote informal interdisciplinary activities, promote meetings between young researchers and renowned academics, promote research exchanges with international institutions and manage a research fellowship program.