Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.17
Asian Environmental Resilience Research Initiative featuring cooperative education by up-and-coming young Asian researchers
Report from the Asian Environmental Resilience Research Center, Nagasaki University
The Asian Environmental Resilience Research Initiative (AERRI2019) was held for a five-day period from November 11 to 15, 2019 (the initiative was held in English). Held by the Asian Environmental Resilience Research Center (AERRC) at the Graduate School of Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Nagasaki University, AERRI2019 was a program for fostering young researchers to consider important issues of environmental resilience research which contribute to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Asia.
With support from the Sakura Science Exchange Program, 10 graduate students from the Master Program at the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University (Thailand) and two supervisors (one of which was invited using funds supplied by the AERRC) were invited to the Faculty of Environmental Science at Nagasaki University. Also participating were 21 students from the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology (Taiwan) and 14 students from Nagasaki University, for a total of 45 up-and-coming young Asian researchers. The program consisted of activities such as a special lecture, international mini-symposium, intensive lecture, and environmental field tour. Through the program, participants learned about important research issues that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, such as air and water pollution, resource recycling, disaster prevention and regional development, and engaged in cooperative research and education while deepening discussions by dividing into PBL group.
An opening ceremony was held on the first day of AERRI2019. After a welcome greeting by Dean Hagiwara Atsushi, AERRC Director Umakoshi Kodo introduced educational and research activities at Nagasaki University aimed at cultivating interdisciplinary environmental science researchers. Next, there was an introduction of educational and research activities at Mahidol University and the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology. Also, from the first day, all of the participating 45 students divided into 8 mixed PBL groups. The students continued to engage in group work every day until the PBL group presentation on the final day.
At the International Mini-Symposium on Environmental Resilience in Asia (MSAERR2019) which was held on the second day, a total of 45 posters introducing each student's research were divided into two groups of even and odd numbers. Two-minute orals presentations were held to give an overview of research, and a poster presentation was held to facilitate discussion of research contents. Students stood in front of their posters and participated in a lively Q&A session. It was an excellent opportunity to deeply reflect on how individual research themes could contribute to achieving the SDGs in Asia.
On the third day, an intensive lecture-style research seminar was held. Instructors consisted of three faculty members from the Institute of Integrated Science and Technology (Faculty of Environmental Science), Nagasaki University and two instructors from the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University. Research seminars were held on the four themes of atmospheric environment resilience, water environment resilience, resource recycling resilience, and disaster-preparedness and regional reconstruction resilience.
On the fourth day, participants toured the outdoor field site of the Environmental Resilience Research Project in the Shimabara Peninsula Geopark area of Nagasaki Prefecture, which is a priority area of AERRC. In Shimabara City, participants took on-site tours of environmental resilience research sites in Nagasaki; for example, such as water resources centering on springs, regional reconstruction from volcanic disasters in Minamishimabara City, and clean energy using hot springs and geothermal heat in Unzen City.
On the fifth day, as the result of group work through repeated discussions within PBL groups, each group made a presentation on research issues considered as important for achieving the SDGs in Asia. Finally, the AERRI2019 completion ceremony was held and a certificates of completion were presented to participating students.
We plan to implement this program every other year. In the 2020 academic year, Nagasaki University plans to dispatch graduate students to the Environment and Natural Resources International Conference (ENRIC 2020) which is held every other year by the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University. In this way, we will continue to encourage mutual exchange.
Finally, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Sakura Science Exchange Program, Nagasaki University, officials from Shimabara Peninsula Geopark, and officials of other organizations and groups for supporting this program.