HeKKSaGOn 2018: Sixth Presidents' Conference

Tohoku University President Hideo Ohno attended the Sixth German-Japanese University Presidents' Conference held in Osaka from April 12¬-13.

The presidents' conference is held once every 18 months, and is hosted in rotation by the six universities of HeKKSaGOn, a consortium with three members each from Japan and Germany.


This sixth meeting marked the end of the first phase of the network's activities, which included the goals of increasing student and staff mobility and joint research. Representatives came together to summarize the results of their cooperative experiences, and to determine where the member universities should focus their attention next.

On the first day, the six universities presented ideas on how they could improve the social impact and visibility of HeKKSaGOn, and also their expectations for the second phase of the network.

visit201805162.jpgPresident Ohno spoke of Tohoku University's collaborations with affiliated German universities and the development of joint education programmes. He also expressed his hopes that HeKKSaGOn can play a further role in developing talents that can contribute to solving global problems.

Various research working groups presented reports on their activities since the last conference. Tohoku University's Vice President Noriko Osumi and Professor Kiyoshi Ueda of the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (IMRAM) made presentations on behalf of the groups they chair.


On the second day of the conference, a closed-door meeting was held between the presidents and vice presidents of the six universities, and a "Statement and Future Perspective" for the second phase of HeKKSaGOn was formulated by the group.

The joint statement - which includes a pledge to share institutional management experiences, further strengthen human resource mobility and become leaders in international collaboration - was signed by the six universities' representatives as part of the closing ceremony.


A student workshop was also held in conjunction with the conference. The group from Tohoku University comprised four students, including two German exchange students. The workshop addressed how youth can contribute to the United Nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs), and that led to lively plenary sessions. The results of the discussions were later presented to the presidents of the six universities.

The HeKKSaGOn network was established in July 2010 to promote collaborative research, as well as researcher and student mobility, among its members. The HeKKSaGOn name is an acronym derived from its current members - Heidelberg University, Kyoto University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Tohoku University in Sendai, the University of Göttingen and Osaka University.


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