The joint presidents’ symposium of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK), the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) and the Japan Committee of Universities for International Exchange (JACUIE) was held on 28/29 June 2016 at the JDZB, attended by around 160 experts. Delegates discussed how the concepts of innovation and social utility should be understood in the context of various academic disciplines and how universities in Japan and Germany could respond to societal expectations to promote their educational objectives. Based on systemic definition of innovation after the symposium, participants formulated the following three guiding principles and announced them as a joint statement.
1. Laying the foundations with sound education and training
Universities need to provide students with not only expert knowledge but education to turn them into highly qualified graduates. In order to provide them with the management skills and the entrepreneurial mindset, it is important for universities in Japan and Germany to corporate with business and society in general and to best interlink subject-specific and general education to enhance the individual qualifications.
2. Promoting transdisciplinary and trans-sectoral cooperation
In order to promote innovation and societal change, we need to promote transdisciplinary and trans-sectoral cooperation. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that not only the engineering sciences and natural sciences but the social sciences and the humanities play a key role in society.
3. Establishing funding schemes and criteria for performance measurement that are adequate to the nature and the needs of education and research
It is critical to formulate definitions of “successful performance” which are adequate to the nature and the needs of academic education and research, and which are accepted by all stakeholders. For that reason, not only quantitative aspects but qualitative aspects need to be adequately incorporated into the evaluation of institutional performance. And it is indispensable to establish suitable funding programmes which are open and dynamic, and encourage inter-disciplinary as well as inter-sectoral research partnerships.
Based on the above contents, we would like to discuss in greater depth what kind of action plans we can think of in order to put the three guiding principles into effect considering the current situation and efforts at universities in Japan and Germany.
Conference Language: English only