Nagoya University Global COE Program: From Earth System Science to Basic and Clinical Environmental Studies



Welcome to the website. As GCOE Leader, I would like to take a moment to set out our structure and our aims below. You should be able to find comprehensive information on all aspects of our COE elsewhere on the site, or you can contact us directly on gcoe-sec (at)

Our Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) Program (FY2009-2013) is called "From Earth System Science to Basic and Clinical Environmental Studies". It is the successor to our previous 21st Century COE Program, "Dynamics of the Sun-Earth-Life Interactive System (SELIS-COE)" (FY2003-2007) and has been developed to directly build upon the successes of SELIS-COE.

The SELIS-COE program allowed us to develop a new approach to earth science. Based on this, the new GCOE will attempt to bring together disciplines traditionally seen as mutually exclusive to create an innovative approach to environmental studies; those, such as science, that we consider to be ‘diagnostic' (in other words, dealing with understanding how the Earth-Life system interacts with human society) and those, such as engineering and agricultural studies, that we consider to be ‘treatment-based' (meaning that they are concerned with providing technological or regulatory solutions to environmental problems). The core pillars of the GCOE will be Clinical Environmental Studies, which concerns itself with the diagnosis of regional environmental problems, and Basic Environmental Studies, which treats a range of common problems and universal issues that affect the entire global community - transcending discrete regions - through multidisciplinary collaboration between the humanities and the sciences.

Three courses in this area have traditionally been offered at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Now, the Department of Biosphere Resources Science at the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences has been included, resulting in the creation of a new course, the Integrated Environmental Studies Course. This doctoral course will comprise overseas fieldwork and multidisciplinary training and research. It is designed to foster young and talented researchers who are equipped with a broad perspective across all related fields, from general global problems to specific regional issues. It is also designed to generate within researchers with flexible, innovative minds that can generate and are open to practical solutions to real problems.

Another crucial element of our GCOE is the Study Consortium for Earth-Life Interactive System (SELIS), which is an internal university organization established as a lasting legacy of our 21st Century SELIS-COE program. SELIS will become the center for coordinating our new GCOE research activities in environmental studies, within the university, throughout Japan and in collaboration with universities and organizations overseas.

We also have a strong educational structure. The educational focus of our GCOE will be the Integrated Environmental Studies Course, a doctoral course linked closely to the Global Environmental Leaders Program at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Nagoya University has an excellent reputation and record internationally. We have carried out extensive fieldwork in Asia; we are also active in promoting collaborative relationships in clinical environmental studies with research and educational institutions throughout the world, in Japan, Asia and the rest of the world.
Our GCOE will also create and maintain close relationships with partnership universities and institutions, such as Wageningen University and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Berkeley College and the Santa Barbara College of the University of California, USA. These partnerships are designed to foster development of confident researchers and specialists, internationally recognized for being well versed in basic and clinical environmental studies. Our GCOE will be the spawning ground for a new generation of talented, innovative researchers and specialists who will be charged with leading industry, government and commerce, working in international organizations, national and local government authorities, and companies and other private organizations.
We are also both delighted and privileged to welcome at Nagoya University a wonderful line-up of unrivalled international leaders in the field of environmental studies. We have enjoyed the full understanding and support of three eminent scholars, Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Professor Hans-Peter Dürr, and Professor Syukuro Manabe. We are lucky to be able to count on their continuing support as we look to develop our educational and research activities in environmental studies in the future.
Any organization looking to establish itself as a leading international center of education and research must have in place strong and effective systems for promoting and supporting students and researchers. Our GCOE has in place an Educational Planning Office, a Research Promotion Office, an On-site Research Training (ORT) Support Office and a Project Evaluation Support Office. Each office has a dedicated team leader at its head. These leaders have pledged their firm support for the development and success of the Center over the next five years.

Thank you for visiting our site and I hope that you will take the time to look around and find out more about the innovation and academic excellence that characterizes our activities.

Tetsuzo Yasunari, GCOE Leader
August 2009

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