It is my distinct pleasure to welcome everyone to Tsukuba Global Science Week (TGSW) 2020, which marks the 10th anniversary since its inception.
Last year, we newly launched Tsukuba Conference, whose basic concept is common to that of TGSW. For instance, young scholars are showcased and highlighted in both. TGSW is a stage to discuss research and its contribution to society, while Tsukuba Conference, whose main theme is “Science and Society,” provides a platform to debate social needs and the research necessary to meet these needs. These two forums are held in alternate years.
The history of the University of Tsukuba extends back almost 150 years with the Meiji government’s establishment of Japan’s first institution of higher education, a national teacher-training school. When it was relocated from Tokyo to Tsukuba City nearly five decades ago in October 1973, it was reborn as a comprehensive institution of higher education.
Since its inception, the University of Tsukuba has aimed to be open to society and the world, and to pursue interdisciplinary education and research. In accordance with these principles, we are delighted to host TGSW which gathers together participants not only from a diverse range of academic fields but also from many different countries. Initially focusing on the medical sciences, TGSW has evolved to offer sessions in a wide variety of fields ranging from the natural sciences to the humanities with prominent researchers from more than 30 different countries.
TGSW is a platform to introduce world-class research conducted jointly by our faculty members with fellow scientists throughout the globe, including those in public and quasi-public institutions based in Tsukuba Science City and our international partners. But TGSW is more than that. The upheaval of globalization has brought with it a variety of global challenges, such as public health problems, food crisis, energy issues, environmental risks, never-ending wars, poverty. Solving these challenges requires trans-border collaboration for innovation so that the greater community of scientists, regardless of disciplines, citizenship, ethnicity, gender, faith, or world view, can join forces to work closely together. TGSW can serve as an invaluable forum for exchanging views on how to address these challenges in a way that breaks down traditionally conceived barriers.
The scope of TGSW is indeed broad and far reaching. By bringing together internationally renowned researchers and young aspiring researchers and students based in Tsukuba and beyond, it covers a wide range of topics and facilitates active exchanges across borders and disciplines. TGSW is also an ideal international networking opportunity for trans-disciplinary, trans-organizational and trans-border collaboration.
This year, the global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused all members of society to be confronted with the reality that we live in an increasingly globalized and uncertain society where the future is difficult to predict. Our social systems are in the midst of rapid upheaval. At this extraordinary time, when the world is facing such important, shared challenges, it is indeed the mission of TGSW to deepen diverse academic discussions and networks. For the first time, we are having TGSW 2020 online. We welcome the participation of a much wider audience beyond all borders.
In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your participation and sincerely hope that the range of sessions on offer will create fruitful conversations for us all.