The Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences seeks to enhance human welfare and contentment by stepping beyond established disciplines to create new frontiers in modern science and technology. Science today has focused on highly specialized explorations in compartmentalized disciplines, which often clouds the interrelationships between those fields. Given the demands and flux of modern society, it is important to construct a new transdisciplinary platform for science to solve the pressing issues facing humankind. We believe that this approach will enable us to achieve the essential knowledge oriented to the real world.
The Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences comprises three departments: Advanced Materials Science, Advanced Energy, and Complexity Science and Engineering. Correlating basic science with engineering, the Department of Advanced Materials Science engages in pioneering research and in comprehensive and systematic education at the frontiers of materials science. The Department of Advanced Energy offers courses and research programs that deal comprehensively with issues relating to energy in such areas as cutting-edge physics, materials, systems, and the environment. Through an approach that fuses science with engineering, the Department of Complexity Science and Engineering aims to create multi-scale complexity sciences and technologies from the nano to cosmic levels, and to educate talented practitioners in these fields. These departments are grounded in a broad spectrum of disciplines spanning applied physics, applied chemistry, materials engineering, energy science, aerospace engineering, plasma science, electrical engineering, informatics, mathematical engineering, control engineering, nonlinear science, and earth and planetary science. Representing such diverse disciplines, our faculty seeks to realize our division's core principle of generating new frontiers through transdisciplinary approaches, such as teaching cooperative courses in collaboration with faculty in other departments in our division and smoothly sharing information with fellow inter-organizational course instructors.
The division also includes three cross-department educational programs for the Nuclear Fusion Research, the High-Dimensional Data-Driven Science, and the Deep Space. By bringing together the best of what has been achieved in nuclear fusion research at the University of Tokyo, the Nuclear Fusion Research Educational Program nurtures talented individuals who will become leaders of international nuclear fusion research in the future. The High-Dimensional Data-Driven Science Education Program explores new methodologies and philosophies in spatiotemporal information extraction from imaging, information identification and conceptualization, and simulation-based design of problem-solving. It provides inter-disciplinary curriculums to educate professionals with broad perspectives. The Deep Space Education Program, launched in 2018, nurtures future professionals who have scientific imagination and engineering sense in space exploration of the moon and outer space. It fosters the mindset and ability to set valuable scientific themes and put them into practice.
The Division organized the Material Innovation Research Center in cooperation with the Institute of Solid-State Physics and the School of Engineering in 2016. The center aims to form a hub of collaboration between industry, academia, and the public and private sectors for promoting the creation of new value based on the research outcomes of materials science and for spreading this new value throughout society.
In 2016, the Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences was evaluated by an external agency. The agency endorsed the three-division structure as a platform for transdisciplinary research and education. It gave high marks to our basic approach to creating new science frontiers and solving the issues facing humanity. Looking ahead, we will continue to create new transdisciplinary fields. We will also reinforce efforts to develop new research and education activities by utilizing the alumni network, to combine modern measurement techniques and computer technologies, and to create new value in collaboration with industry, academia, and the public and private sectors. We will enrich transdisciplinary education programs to educate and train talented individuals who will take the lead in solving difficult and complex problems.
Chair, Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences
The Division of Biosciences, under the “transdisciplinary approaches” philosophy of the GSFS, pursues the elucidation of the molecular principles of self-replication and evolution i.e., the “essence” of life. Ranging from viruses and microorganisms to higher plants and animals, research and studies are conducted to clarify and deeply understand the various aspects of adaptation and symbiosis observed in a variety of environments on the earth. The novel findings also promotes human well-being and development of talented professionals capable of conducting interdisciplinary international studies.
The “essence of life” arises from the replication and expression of genetic information in molecular level; this is known as the central dogma of molecular biology. Elucidation of the diversity and the robustness in biological phenomena requires an integrated comprehension of multilevel data on evolution, polymorphism, modification, and other aspects of the genetic information in individuals and populations. Returning the research fruits to society often requires multi-faceted data analysis involving national systems and cultures, in addition to research on biological phenomena. Moreover, there is a rapidly growing need for the literacy in data science to solve problems in the frontier aera of life sciences. In this light, the Division of Biosciences consists of two departments: the Department of Integrated Biosciences and the Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences, each having a unique research and education system in cooperation with other departments of Univ. of Tokyo and external research institutions, where students from many different backgrounds enroll.
The Department of Integrated Biosciences investigates the elementary processes and associated mechanisms of life phenomena based on genomic information, and uses the knowledge obtained from the research to elucidate the universality and diversity of life, the cooperation and competition among organisms, the origin and evolution of life, with the perspective of structure and function. Talented professionals are nurtured who will contribute to further advancement of the research. The Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences was founded in 2015 by a merger of the departments of Computational Biology and Medical Genome Sciences. The department aims to accelerate data science research for medical innovation by bridging cutting-edge knowledge of gene expression mechanisms and functional bio-molecules to the medical field. In addition, the Biomedical Innovation Course, a unique educational course in the GSFS, offers transdisciplinary research and education of arts and sciences, to treat issues on social systems necessary for the efficient deployment of advanced scientific results to medical care and industry, as well as ethics, property rights, and regulations.
In close cooperation with the Life Science Data Research Center (LiSDaC) in GSFS, the Life Science Research Division operates the Data Scientist Training/Educational Program (DSTEP) and strongly promotes the development of human resources with literacy in data science.
Chair, Division of Biosciences
The Division of Environmental Studies (formerly the Environmental Studies Department) was established in 1999. In its research and education programs, the Division aims at providing solutions to complex and diversified environmental problems through close collaboration among experts from different disciplines based on the core principle of “transdisciplinarity.” We aim to shift from the science that merely pursues truth or principles by analyzing phenomena and events to a science that establishes a new academic field that encourages synthesis of the different components associated with complex environmental issues and postulates plausible approaches to conflicting issues.
The Division of Environmental Studies consists of six departments: Natural Environmental Studies; Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment; Environmental Systems; Human and Engineered Environmental Studies; Socio-Cultural Environmental Studies; and International Studies. These departments are not structured according to specific traditional disciplines. While having their own unique viewpoints and focus areas, they embrace multiple disciplines with the aim of treating various environmental issues in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Based on this structure, the Division of Environmental Studies aims at establishing environmental studies as a new academic field that will lead to the design and creation of the future environment through a transdisciplinary approach.
“Knowledge Explosion” represents how remarkable the every-increasing speed of the evolution of intelligence and technology has become. In addition, the development of means to communicate information has greatly altered the quality of human life. Today’s world has diverse needs for an affluent society and for the expansion of living space. On the other hand, global-scale social problems such as regional differences and economic disparities have become more evident. What is more, the global environment, notably the issue of climate change, has become a critical issue for all humankind. The problems that need solving extend spatially and temporally, and they are complexly intertwined. When we ponder the problems of the environment under such conditions, aiming for the optimization of a snapshot at each moment does not suffice. We must develop a clear image of the vision of an ideal future, and we must also consider rational and practical ways to connect the goals and the present moment through a seamless transition. Acknowledging the diversity of values and then discovering far-reaching optimized solutions is challenging; yet all the more reason for creating a new paradigm through transdisciplinarity beyond existing academic frameworks and for making this the mission of environmental studies and research.
The Division offers inter-department educational programs in addition to the individual curricula of the departments. They include the Graduate Program in Sustainability Science-Global Leadership Initiative, a degree course in which all the courses are taught in English; and certificate programs such as the Environmental Management Program; and the Integrated Environment Design Program. These programs are intended to provide students with the skills required for solving multi-tiered environmental problems through a broad perspective and for developing human resources capable of creating new industries based on the same outlook. The university-wide transdisciplinary programs in the Department of Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment are good examples of how integral interdisciplinary education is to the Division
Internationalization is another important theme for the Division of Environmental Studies, with its emphasis on creating an environment where students from all over the world can study together by taking such concrete steps as increasing the number of lectures in English, providing more scholarships for foreign students, and providing various services to foreign students to support their living experience in Japan in addition to supporting their research and academic experience at The University of Tokyo.
The Division of Environmental Studies has a one-of-a-kind structure for research and education under the concept of “transdisciplinarity,” and has gained a renowned position internationally as a center of excellence in the field of environmental studies.
Chair, Division of Environmental Studies