The First HU-UMA Virtual Symposium reconnected Polymer Science and Engineering Academics and Students

University News | March 26, 2024

Participants of the symposium

Event flier

Hokkaido University (HU) and its long-time partner the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) jointly organized the 2024 Hokkaido University – University of Massachusetts Amherst Virtual Symposium on Polymer Science and Engineering in the end of January.  The two universities have strengthened their inter-university partnership since the time of their predecessors Sapporo Agricultural College and Massachusetts Agricultural College, and the partnership has flourished via joint appointments of faculty members in the framework of the Global Institute for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CoRE) in recent years.  Last spring, President Kiyohiro Houkin of HU visited Amherst, and then welcomed UMass Amherst delegates in Hokkaido, which confirmed their mutual interest to deepen the bond of partnership.

President Houkin, HU

Chancellor Reyes, UMass Amherst (Right)

This first virtual symposium was arranged in a field of common research interests, Polymer Science and Engineering.  With facilitation by Professor Aya Takahashi, Executive Vice President (International Affairs), HU, Dr Kalpen Trivedi, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, UMass Amherst, and President Houkin, HU started the symposium and shared the background of the event and past communications between the two universities with the audiences.  UMass Amherst Chancellor Javier Reyes talked on his pre-recorded message that he was impressed by the inter-university partnership for nearly 150 years and looked forward to working with HU on the Program for Forming Japan’s Peak Research Universities (J-PEAKS) which HU was chosen as one of the twelve universities to get budgeted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.  Professor Jian Ping Gong from the Faculty of Advanced Life Sciences, HU and Professor Alfred Crosby, Head of the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst also delivered messages as two key laboratory heads who promoted academic exchange of early career researchers and students over years.

Prof Gong, HU

Prof Crosby, UMass Amherst

In the Research Showcase session, eight speakers introduced their laboratories and research activities, with encouragement for students and early career researchers of both universities to develop research collaborations: Professor Toshifumi Satoh from the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Shin-ichiro Nishimura and Associate Professor Xiang Li from the Faculty of Advanced Life Sciences, Associate Professor Hideyuki Mitomo from the Research Institute of Electronic Sciences, HU; and Professor Todd Emrick, Assistant Professor Reika Katsumata, Assistant Professor Melody Morris and Professor Steve Granick from the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst.

From top left clockwise: Prof Satoh, Prof Emrick, Prof Katsumata, Prof Morris, Prof Granick, Prof Li, Prof Mitomo, and Prof Nishimura

The two universities’ bond has been strengthened by continued connection and capacity building in various fields of research.  Professor Takao Masuda, Executive Vice President (Research, Industry-academia Collaborations), HU and Professor Laura Vandenberg, Acting Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement). UMass Amherst mentioned their high expectation towards the future research collaborations of the universities in their closing remarks.  The audiences included not only members of the two universities, but also those from the University of Michigan, University of Stavanger, IPB University, Chulalongkorn University, University of Southern Mindanao, Department of Science and Technology (Philippines), and Osaka University, and which showed keen enthusiasm in the field of Polymer Science and Engineering.

Executive VP Masuda, HU

Acting VC Vandenberg, UMass Amherst


(Text and screenshots provided by the Institute for International Collaboration)