In addressing the social problems faced globally (and especially in Japan) with respect to the extreme aging of society and the accompanying increase in medical costs, the responsibilities shouldered by the life sciences are growing every greater. Disease prevention science is the subject of high expectations as one source of solutions.
A paradigm shift is taking place in the life sciences, particularly with respect to the information being generated in exponentially greater volume in recent years from the elucidation of individual genes (whole-genome analysis) and from various medical and other devices. In addition to their past role in understanding disease through the analysis of individual genes, the life sciences are being called upon to analyze information of the system as a whole (environment included) in order to produce disease prevention solutions that could not be found with past techniques.
The needs of society
Since disease prevention science is a new field for which it would be difficult to design courses at existing graduate schools, we will establish a new course based on the unprecedented concept of transcending graduate school boundaries to combine the life-science strengths of four Tokyo-based universities (Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Ochanomizu University, Gakushuin University, and Kitasato University).
In the design of this course, in order to reflect the needs of society with respect to graduate school doctoral program education, we carried out surveys and interviews with stakeholders (companies, academic societies, and government bodies) and with businesspersons in related fields. Concrete requests such as the following were received.
(1) Human resources with the ability to view disease prevention problems from a broad perspective. A program with opportunities to discover and solve problems in society while still in school. (Pharmaceutical company, major research institute, think tank)
(2) A basic understanding of, and ability to use, statistical analysis. An ever greater volume of information is going to be generated by sensors and other devices, and it will be necessary to analyze that information, so human resources with data analysis abilities should be developed. (Medical device manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, major research institute, think tank)
(3) Development of human resources who have a wide perspective and can be active in society by using their international sensibility, language ability, communication ability, and management ability and by engaging in research activities with the making of a social contribution in mind. (Medical device manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, major research institute, think tank)
(4) Formation of a personal network that will serve as a foundation for development of open innovation and joint research with outside institutions. (Major research institute, think tank)
With requests such as those above as a base, we will nurture human resources who can be active as future leaders in society. The concrete content is covered in the four points below.
(1) Place “disease prevention in its entirety” at the center in order to develop human resources with a broad perspective.
(2) Hold classes on data science as a method of discovering and solving problems.
(3) Have programs for learning management theory, global trends theory, and intellectual property theory so that, while they are still at school, students acquire the ability to adapt to society.
(4) Provide support for the active formation of personal networks
In course design, build an education system that reflects the needs of society by actively incorporating the opinions of stakeholders and businesspersons from related fields even after the program starts and by having such people actually participate in the course.