Greeting from Dr. Shojiro Nishio
(Trustee and Vice-President at Osaka University)
Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to express my heartfelt thanks to you all for taking the time today to participate in this ceremony to celebrate the completion of our new research building at the Immunology Frontier Research Center. As in the gracious introduction I just received, I am Shojiro Nishio, a Trustee and Vice-President at Osaka University. On the behalf of the Board of Trustees and all of the Osaka University staff members, you have our sincerest thanks.
The very fact that we have this opportunity to hold this ceremony and party to celebrate the completion of our new research building is due to the efforts of so many dedicated individuals, including Mr. Kuramochi, the Director of the Research Promotion Bureau at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Mr. Imura, the Chairman of the WPI Program, Mr. Kuroki, the Program Director of the WPI Program, and Mr. Sasazuki, a Program Officer of the WPI Program, all of whom have honored us with their attendance here today. To all of those concerned, you have our deepest thanks.
For us here at Osaka University, aiming as we are for frontier research on a world-class level in the fields of science and technology, and furthermore, as "a University in Tune with the Needs of the Modern Society," the initiation of the WPI Program in October of 2007 presented a splendid opportunity for monumental development, and it also prompted a university-wide movement for globalization of our our research and educational efforts.
Looking back at the beginning of the Research Center, I believe it was not always the case that our support efforts were entirely accurate or sufficient. Therefore, shortly after I assumed the post of Trustee, I took part in the first on-site observation, and at the follow-up committee meeting we heard harsh but constructive criticism from Mr. Imura, who is in attendance here today, and various members of the WPI Program's Management Committee. I remember recognizing, at the time, just how important that criticism was, and the seriousness of the matter.
In the regard, as the Trustee and Vice-President in charge, I began to consider measures for retrieving the reputation of the IFReC in the midst of the critical situation.
However, including the Director of the Center, and the Deputy Directors, Mr. Taro Kinoshita and Mr. Toshio Yanagida, that harsh criticism functioned to spur us all into action. In fact, in terms of fulfilling the duties of the Research Center, we considered that criticism as vital advice, and it became the driving force for our serious efforts to promote the formation of the Research Center.
Thereafter, along with our efforts in the recruitment of distinguished researchers and staff members, the development of the actual facility proceeded, including both the "hardware" aspect of the facility and the development of "human resources." Accordingly, we have been graced by very high evaluations from many concerned, including members of the WPI Program.
Now, this occasion, the completion of the new research building, marks the collection of all of the various laboratories in one building, covering the various fields of immunology, imaging and informatics.
It is worthy to note that, after we heard the glad tidings that the revised budget included funds for the construction of the new building, the political party in power in Japan changed abruptly, bringing a certain amount of opacity to future prospects. Remembering how we asked the persons in charge at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for their help in realizing this project, almost everyday at the time, makes the pleasure this day represents all the more vital and poignant.
As the Director mentioned in his speech during the ceremony to celebrate the completion of our new research building, I believe it can be said that we have now achieved the environment required for transdisciplinary research. Personally, and I believe I can also speak for all of the executives at the university who have worked so hard during the past four years during the development of IFReC, I take deep pleasure in the completion of this new building and all that it represents.
Thank you all so much for your attendance.