Okayama University


Kick-off Meeting Marks the Adoption of a New Human Resource Development and Higher Education Project Titled “State-of-the-Art Research and Development to Solve Local and Global Health Care Issues”

December 11, 2020

Okayama University has teamed up with Tohoku University (leading university) and Hokkaido University (cooperating university) to formulate the “State-of-the-Art Research and Development to Solve Local and Global Health Care Issues” Human Resource Development and Higher Education Project. The project was conceived in answer to The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s (MEXT) “Human Resources Development Industry-Academia Collaboration Project to Accelerate Open Innovation and AI Research and Development in the Field of Health Care” and has been successfully adopted by MEXT. On December 9, 2020, a kick-off meeting was held at the Medical Research Archives Building on Shikata Campus (Former Nutrition Science Building). Over 70 participants from Okayama University, as well as cooperating universities and businesses, attended the meeting in person and online.

The project aims to foster individuals who will learn to carefully gather information on local medical issues and design creative solutions using AI by promoting the implementation of a doctoral program focusing on human resource development across the country in collaboration with universities, research institutes, private enterprises and local governments. In anticipation of a future in which dwindling society may lead to a labor shortage, the need for innovative AI solutions is rapidly increasing. With this in mind, we have created an AI Human Resource Development education model with a curriculum that emphasizes lectures on state-of-the-art AI research and exposure to real-world issues in the medical field that can benefit from the use of AI. In April 2021, Okayama University plans to open a new doctorate program at the Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences called “Medical AI Course”. The curriculum has been designed in line with the vision mentioned above and will become a forerunner for human resource development in the field of AI by encouraging students to come up with ways in which AI can be optimally used to solve actual issues in the medical field.

During the opening remarks at the kick-off meeting, Okayama University President MAKINO Hirofumi said, “We hope that the introduction of this new doctorate program will lead to innovation in AI, and that the program will become a model that inspires reform in other educational institutions.” Director of Medical Education Division at the Higher Education Bureau at MEXT MARUYAMA Hiroshi sent in a voice message, saying, “We hope that your program will facilitate the training of specialized medical personal and that the model advanced by the program will inspire other universities.” Vice President for University Hospital Management at Tohoku University, TOMINAGA Teiji added, “We hope that this project will produce solutions to local medical issues in Tohoku, Hokkaido, and Okayama”. Vice President Tominaga also outlined the characteristics of the collaborative human resource development project described above.

Following his explanation, examples of Okayama University’s past and current medical AI research and AI projects were introduced, for example, a video clip introducing the speech synthesis technology program used at the Faculty of Engineering was broadcast. After a word from Professor of Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine KUDO Kohsuke, Okayama University Executive Director for Research and Vice President NASU Yasutomo closed the meeting.
Selected segments of the kick-off meeting will be uploaded to a designated website.