Message from the Dean

Engineering Leads Integrated Knowledge

Dean of the Faculty of EngineeringIHARA Toshihiro

Engineering is a core field of study that is directly related to a country’s GDP, fosters industry, and fundamentally supports the affluent lifestyles of its citizens. In other words, it is the fundamental technology of society and the source of innovation that opens the way to the future. The Faculty of Engineering of Kumamoto University was founded in 1897 as the Faculty of Engineering of the former Fifth High School, and will celebrate its 130th anniversary in 2027. With this history and achievements, the faculty has already graduated more than 40,000 talented engineers, who are/were active in various fields in Japan and abroad as the key members of industry, government, and academia.

In today’s increasingly complex society, there are various problems that are difficult to be solved by simple approaches. For example, inequality and poverty, environmental issues, food and water, infectious diseases, technology and privacy, social isolation and health hazards… etc. Integrated or comprehensive knowledge is now attracting renewed attention as a concept for understanding these complex issues or as an effective approach to solving them. In the past, we have worked with the experts in the humanities, such as psychology, philosophy, and law, to design systems and rules for advanced medicine and genetic modification, not to mention for policy formulation and implementation. That is, comprehensive solutions have already been taken in the past, transcending the barriers between the humanities and sciences as necessary. I think this is a demand in an age of many multilayered social problems in the sense that reaffirming or redefining them as comprehensive knowledge may induce new awareness in people. Engineering is a body of technology that links science and real life, so it already has the character of comprehensive knowledge in itself and has a very high affinity with comprehensive knowledge. In other words, engineering can be a hub of comprehensive knowledge that bridges the elements of knowledge such as medicine, pharmacy, science, sociology, pedagogy, psychology, law, literature, ethics, and philosophy, all of which have been separately cultivated by humankind. I believe that you will find that the advantages of studying at the faculty of engineering in university are enormous.

Many unique and cutting-edge research projects are being conducted in the Faculty of Engineering of Kumamoto University, including disaster prevention and mitigation, water environment, pulsed power, magnesium alloys, inorganic nanosheets, semiconductors, and biomedical engineering. In addition, we have top-notch professors in a variety of other fields, including carbon neutrality, robotics, big data, natural language processing, various types of sensing, and sunlight utilization, all of whom are internationally highly regarded. The mission of our Faculty of Engineering is to continue to achieve excellence in both education and research in order to respond to technological advances and the needs of society and to build a sustainable future. In today’s post-high growth, globalized society, students are required to develop problem-solving skills and creativity in addition to acquiring specialized knowledge. We will strive to enhance our educational programs to develop young engineers who can cope with real and complex issues and contribute to society through comprehensive approaches such as interdisciplinary or design thinking, backed by state-of-the-art research projects as described above. In terms of career development, there are a great number of employment opportunities for graduates, irrespective of whether they are in the undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral programs. Based on the achievements and credibility of the more than 40,000 outstanding alumni, graduates can work in their desired fields, such as corporate research and development, public service, and academia. In addition, we will continue to actively support startups by creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship.

Kumamoto is now home to a large number of semiconductor-related companies and is forming one of the world’s largest bases for such companies. As you know, semiconductors are also known as the “rice (the staple food) of industry” and are increasingly positioned as a strategic commodity. This year, Semiconductor Device Program was newly established in our Faculty of Engineering. The “program” here is a parallel educational organization to the “department”, but it enables cross-disciplinary education by faculty members in charge of specialized education in each department, such as information, electronics, mechanics, materials, chemistry, etc. It can be said that this is a necessary educational format designed to nurture researchers and engineers engaged in the manufacturing and development of semiconductors, which is the fruit of highly integrated engineering capabilities. With the support of the national strategy, the Faculty of Engineering of Kumamoto University will be able to further enhance its educational and research environment. We sincerely look forward to learning and growing together with you in this wonderful environment at this once-in-a-century opportunity.