Joint Program for Sustainable Resources Engineering was adopted as a Special
Expenditure Project by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
In this project, in order to cultivate human resources who can contribute to Japan’s
resource strategies, education and research departments in resources engineering at Kyushu
University and Hokkaido University aim to jointly establish a new collaborative education
program in 2017. This is the first of its kind in the resources engineering area among
universities in Japan.
In our curriculum, all classes are taught in English and classes are designed to
increase practical skills related to “comprehenseive understanding system”, “management and
design”, and “global perspective”.
The global situation surrounding mineral resources has been drastically changing since
the beginning of the 21st century. As a result, resource nationalism, in which some
governments use mineral resources in their own countries as trump cards of political and
economic issues, has been gaining power. In order to secure stable resources, it is
necessary for Japan to develop individuals with advanced expertise and international
mindedness who will play a key role in resource strategies for the future.
reason, universities and graduate schools involved in fostering specialists need to comply
with such social demands. There are, however, only a few universities and graduate schools
providing comprehensive education programs for resources engineering throughout the country.
In the current situation, therefore, it is difficult to fulfill such demands. Specifically,
there are four problems: (1) Due to the shortage of faculty members engaged in training
students in resources engineering, there are some academic fields that cannot be covered by
a single university. (2) Compared to engineering education, management education is
insufficient. In addition, if we see the overall picture of research and education in
resources engineering in Japan, (3) the way each university uses its research and education
resources (education programs and facilities) is inefficient.
As one of the methods to solve these issues, it is considered that several universities
involved in education of resources engineering should work together to develop human
resources. Education and research departments in resources engineering at Kyushu University
and Hokkaido University (the Kyushu University Faculty of Engineering Department of Earth
Resources Engineering and Hokkaido University Faculty of Engineering Division of Sustainable
Resources Engineering) have been cooperating and collaborating concerning specific projects
and events. In order to make their collaboration more organic and full-fledged, this project
aims to establish a collaborative graduate school education program (master’s course).
The collaborative graduate school education program that this project is aiming at is
not simply a combination of two existing curriculums in both universities but a new
education program, which should be appropriate for fostering students in resources
engineering for the 21st century. Specifically, compared to human resources developed by
each university, the project aims to develop more excellent human resources in terms of the
three following points: (1) to be internationally minded, (2) to be able to get an overview
of the resource flow, and (3) to be capable of designing and managing. Moreover, in
collaboration with the “KIZUNA (Bond) Program” promoted by JICA (4), it is also important to
strengthen the bond between Japanese students in resources engineering and foreign exchange
students from resource-rich countries. In accordance with these four items, they are
planning to implement a collaborative education program based on the following four
viewpoints: “international field surveys” to be more internationally minded, “graduate
school exchange seminars” to be able to see things from broad perspectives, “resources
management special seminars” to be more capable of designing and managing, and
“international human resources exchange debates” to strengthen the ties between Japan and
(1) Social significance for both Japan and resource-rich countries
A big feature of this project is that foreign exchange students strategically invited
from resource-rich countries and Japanese students are able to study together. In this
sense, this education program will reinforce human networks between Japan and those
countries and also contribute to securing resources for the future of Japan. On the other
hand, in this project, foreign exchange students from those countries will study the methods
of resource development using environmental preservation and recovery techniques that Japan
has cultivated over many years; therefore, it is expected that this project will also
contribute to the prevention of environmental destruction in those countries. It is,
therefore, considered that this program has great social significance for both Japan and
(2) The effects of educational improvement by university collaboration
Since Kyushu University and Hokkaido University have education programs with different
features, it will be possible for them to develop a high level of human resources, which
neither of them would be able to realize on their own, by collaborating and sharing their
education resources. Moreover, regarding the development of resources management education,
which is essential for Japan’s resources education in the future, they will be able to
realize top-notch education, although it is difficult for them to do alone, by sharing the
connections with business people and overseas teaching staff that they have respectively.
In Japan there are only a few universities offering resources education. Among them
Kyushu University and Hokkaido University have education programs with different features.
They, however, have common performance of satisfactory international education and roles in
“JICA KIZUNA Program” (mainly education for faculties in resource-rich countries).
Therefore, there are few obstacles in collaboration between them, which enables them to
promptly achieve the high-level resource education required from the society. In the future,
they will experiment with the planned education program and verify its effects in order to
launch a collaborative education program. Furthermore, this project aims to construct “a
KIZUNA that will never be cut” with other resource-rich countries in the world by making the
most of the connections formed while Japanese students and foreign exchange students from
those countries study together.