Tokyo Institute of Technology: Tokyo Tech Representatives attend ASPIRE Forum 2022 held online

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Established in 2009, the ASPIRE League is a consortium of leading science and technology universities in Asia. It includes the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), KAIST, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), Tsinghua University, and Tokyo Tech. Organized annually, the ASPIRE Forum comprises a student workshop, a symposium, and the Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting (VPSSM) to provide opportunities for member university representatives and students to interact with each other.

Symposium
At the symposium held on July 5, researchers from each member university gave lectures on technologies and research results related to the forum theme. From Tokyo Tech, Professor Asa Ito, Director of Future of Humanity Research Center, gave a lecture titled “Care and Rita [the Japanese word for altruism]”. She explained the importance of “care” in the post-pandemic world and taking on a viewpoint necessary for designing humane technology, which is “care” in a broader sense – or rita (altruism) in other words – and introduced the centers “Rita Project” initiative.

Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting
On the afternoon of July 6, Isao Satoh, provost and executive vice president for Institute strategy, attended the “Vice Presidents and Senior Staff Meeting”. Once again, this year, the vice presidents and senior staff gathered online to share information on the status of international collaboration at each university in the past year and discuss future league activities. Further, proposals submitted for the ASPIRE League Partnership Seed Fund (start-up support for collaborative research among ASPIRE League member universities) for the 2022 cycle were reviewed and grant recipients were selected.

Finally, the vice presidents agreed to hold the ASPIRE Undergraduate Engineering Design Challenge hosted by Tokyo Tech in Tokyo, Japan in June and the ASPIRE Forum hosted by KAIST in Daejeon, Korea in July as league activities for 2023.

A total of 13 graduate students from member universities participated in the student workshop, where they were divided into four teams and worked in groups on propositions such as proposing a new concept of smart factory with clean energy and designing a system for connected care. On the final day, a presentation session was held with vice presidents in attendance. The following three students from Tokyo Tech participated. Cedric Laurent Dylan Le Lay (1st-year master’s student, Information and Communications Engineering), Kota Nakahara (1st-year doctoral student, Chemical Science and Engineering), Zain Issa Falah AbuHassan (1st-year master’s student, Architecture and Building Engineering). The event was a fulfilling one even though it was held online, with presentations that resembled pitches by startup companies, as well as time for students to interact with each other in a friendly and fun atmosphere. At the final awards ceremony, the vice presidents of each university gave encouraging comments to the students, such as “Think about how the education you have received can contribute to the future,” and “People are the most important factor when considering cutting-edge technology, so value human relations.” The forum ended on a high note.

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