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Establishment of Advanced Art Design Laboratory, Social Cooperation Research Departments

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February 5, 2021

Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo (the “RCAST”) established the Advanced Art Design Laboratory (Social Cooperation Research Departments) on January 1, 2021 in cooperation with its cooperation companies.

As advocated in the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda, creating and designing an inclusive society has become extremely important. These intricate challenges cannot simply be addressed with an optimal and standardized solution derived from objective analysis; they require comprehensive reassessment of the relationship between humans, nature, and science and technology. In this new Laboratory, we aim to build an interdisciplinary research group comprising world-leading firms, RCAST researchers, and art design experts active in the front lines and speedily implement ideas created by the group from multiple perspectives into society as well as fostering future talents capable of tackling these social challenges that are becoming more complex with a sense of balance.

Science and technology have advanced based on the Western ideology of seeking human-centric solutions through differentiation, while at the same time bringing about distortions in our social and natural environments, such as mental and physical stresses and environmental disruption. At the onset of the new era, Reiwa, we are expected to explore science and technology based on the oriental philosophy of respecting the universe, particularly the way of life in symbiosis with nature and the spirit of harmony perceiving things in a comprehensive manner that have been cultivated in Japan. It is important to resolve today’s issues with a sense of balance between nature and society by newly adopting a “nature-centered” perspective and drawing on the creativity built on the harmony of integrated thoughts and ideas from a variety of research fields.

Since its established in 1987, RCAST has been developed as a center for interdisciplinary academic research. The new Laboratory’s research will also be conducted based on the philosophy, and diverse talents will engage in various projects, sharing experience and knowledge and embracing the process of mutual awareness raising. Ryohei Kanzaki, Director of RCAST and Professor of Intelligent Cooperative Systems, leads the Laboratory’s research. Projects will be carried out across the three laboratories to be established within the Laboratory: Design Lab, Art Lab, and Design Engineering Lab . World leaders in art/design related fields will be appointed as Advanced Art Design Advisors and work with our cooperation companies/organizations* to advance the Laboratory.

Furthermore, the Department of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, a department of the Graduate School of Engineering for doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo, will start a new class of Advanced Art Design in April 2021 to further foster human resources, in which the Laboratory’s lecturers, Advanced Art Design Advisors, and leading researchers from different fields will discuss building an inclusive future in a comprehensive manner from diverse perspectives.

*Note: Cooperation companies/organizations refers to those participating in the Laboratory’s activities based on the comprehensive partnership agreement with RCAST: Koyasan Shingon Sect Main Temple Kongobu-ji, Koyasan University, Koya Town, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Politecnico di Milano as of January 14, 2021.

Details of the Social Cooperation Research Department

Name Advanced Art Design Laboratory
Duration 5 years from January 1, 2021 until December 31, 2025
Established by Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo
Cooperation companies Shiseido Company, Limited
Sony Corporation
Japan Tobacco Inc.
Mazda Motor Corporation
Yamaha Corporation
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd.
Research head Ryohei KANZAKI, Professor and Director, RCAST

Comment from Ryohei KANZAKI, Director, RCAST

Science and technology bring wonderful benefits. As our social framework shifts to a direction different from the past, it is crucial to stand face to face with and reflect on natural environments and sensibility nurtured there, take a renewed look at science and technology from the perspective of intrinsic humanity, and communicate the science and technology unique to Japan that will help create a sustainable, inclusive society. I am pleased that we can work with our cooperation companies toward achieving the goal through research activities at our Laboratory.

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