Tokyo Institute of Technology: Tokyo Tech Academy for Convergence of Materials and Informatics (TAC-MI) holds 2nd International Forum online

TAC-MI holds the International Forum once a year with the aim of improving international communication skills through English presentations to a diverse audience of students, academics, and industry players. This year, nineteen 1st-year doctoral students and six 2nd-year doctoral students presented their research achievements to the audience in English. Ten 2nd-year doctoral students were in charge of overall event management, with one student chairing each session. In total, approximately 100 participants including industrial collaborators, TAC-MI program staff members, and TAC-MI students joined the forum.

TAC-MI’s overseas advisors — world-leading researchers located around the globe who guide the academy’s students throughout their studies — were not able to participate in this forum due to differences in time zones. The advisors did, however, watch recorded student presentations, hold online interviews, and offer valuable advice after the actual forum had been completed.

Opening lecture to stimulate participants
Things kicked off with on December 10 with brief opening words from TAC-MI Director Takeo Yamaguchi and TAC-MI Committee of Education Chair Kei Goto. After this, participants were treated to a special lecture by Professor Koji Tsuda from the University of Tokyo’s Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences who spoke about “Automatic design of functional molecules and materials.”

Opening lecture by Prof. Tsuda from the University of Tokyo

Opening lecture by Prof. Tsuda from the University of Tokyo
Current research presentations by TAC-MI’s 1st-year doctoral students
On December 10 and the morning of December 11, a total of nineteen 1st-year doctoral students gave presentations under the guidance of TAC-MI’s 2nd-year doctoral students who chaired the session. Each 15-minute presentation was followed by a 5-minute Q&A sessions in English.

These research presentations were also part of the TAC-MI Qualifying Examination, a critical checkpoint in the TAC-MI curriculum. Participating students confidently presented the significance and achievements of their research and, after the presentations, actively engaged in Q&A sessions with the audience.

At the closing ceremony on December 11, independent of the qualifying examination, the Best Presentation Award was awarded to the most highly evaluated TAC-MI student by a well-attended audience, and Good Presentation Awards were awarded to the three runners-up.

Award Winners
Best Presentation Award
Gekko Patria Budiutama
Good Presentation Award 1
Chen Xiao
Good Presentation Award 2
Shuji Kobayashi
Keiki Inoue
Presentation award winners

Presentation award winners
Presentations on progress of self-designed thesis by TAC-MI’s 2nd-year doctoral students
On December 11, after the presentation by 1st-year doctoral students, six 2nd-year doctoral students provided presentations about the progress of their TAC-MI Self-Designed Theses.

For the Self-Designed Thesis, students choose a topic different from that of their dissertation and conduct research on their own initiative. They present their research findings upon completion of their doctoral degree program to faculty members at TAC-MI who review the presentations. Through this process, students acquire the ability to conduct unique research independently based on new ideas supported by knowledge of materials science and information science, transcending their individual specializations. TAC-MI students present their research progress at either an event in June or the International Forum in December during the second year of their doctoral program. At the 2020 forum, six 2nd-year doctoral students, excluding the four other students who presented in June, provided presentations and received feedback from the audience.

TAC-MI students’ interviews with industrial mentors
After the presentations at the International Forum, TAC-MI doctoral students held interviews with and received advice from their industrial mentors. TAC-MI students have the advantage of evaluating their strengths and weakness in face-to-face meetings with researchers, developers, technical experts, product planners, and marketing professionals from various industries. One industrial mentor is assigned to each student. Throughout the duration of this program, each student has an industrial mentor who continuously guides the student from enrollment to program completion.

After the presentations by TAC-MI students at the International Forum, exchange meetings were held on the evening of December 10 and the afternoon of December 11 to deepen communications between industrial collaborators and students. At the meetings, participants were divided into small groups of six to eight people in breakout session rooms, giving everyone a chance to participate actively.

Through its International Forums and other events, TAC-MI continues to cultivate multi-talented individuals required by industry who apply broad, global perspectives to create innovative ideas through a combination of materials and informatics.

What is TAC-MI?

TAC-MI, established in January 2019 under the auspices of the Doctoral Program for World-leading Innovative & Smart Education (WISE) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, aims to cultivate multi-talented individuals who can play a leading role in creating new industry and academic field involving materials science, information science, and social services. The program also places strong emphasis on working closely with industry.

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