Tohoku University's New President Meets the Media

New president Teiji Tominaga capped his first week in office with a media conference on April 5, in which he expressed his intentions to "further develop Tohoku University as a comprehensive research university that leads Japan and the world."

As Executive Vice President for Co-creation Strategy, Disaster Reconstruction and Regeneration this past year, President Tominaga had been involved in Tohoku University's push for accreditation as a University for International Research Excellence, the government's new initiative to raise Japan's research institutions to world-class standards.

"I will focus on achieving the accreditation, and I will do everything in my power to execute the goals we have set," he said to the assembled reporters at Katahira campus.

Goals set by Tohoku University include improving its research capabilities, advancing internationalization and strengthening ties with industry.

The university is also committed to organizational reforms, such as providing young researchers with opportunities to develop their own research as principal investigators and significantly increasing the number of personnel to support these researchers.

Asked about his management style, President Tominaga said that he values empathy and communication, and acknowledged being shaped by the experiences he had as director of Tohoku University Hospital and head of the Miyagi prefectural government's Medical Coordination Headquarters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The experience of absorbing the voices of those on the frontline, communicating the ideas of the Executive Board down to every level of the organisation, bringing everyone together, overcoming difficult situations and achieving goals. That has become the foundation of my current position and a source of my motivation and confidence," he said.

The 66-year-old Fukushima native added that while achieving accreditation to be a University of International Research Excellence is his first priority, there are a few other goals that he would also like to see reached during his six-year term in office.

These include expanding research beyond the traditional frameworks of the humanities and sciences, increasing the university's role in the reconstruction of disaster-stricken areas in the region and working towards the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

The recent launch of NanoTerasu, Japan's most powerful next-generation synchrotron radiation facility situated at the new extension of Tohoku University's Aobayama Campus, is also expected to give President Tominaga's wide-reaching plans for international research and industry collaboration a major boost.

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