Message from IPADS Director

We are practical, relevant and challenging.

Even in these days when the majority of the people around the world are using PC or smart phones, and newest technologies such as gene editing are available, more than 800 million people worldwide are still living under poverty without sufficient nutrition they need. The number of undernourished in the world again started to increase in 2018 and this situation is even more aggravated due to climate change, COVID-19 and conflicts.

The framework for development used to be that the needs are in “developing countries” and “developed countries” support them. This structure was changed a few decades ago so in both developing and developed countries, the gap between rich and poor has been widened to the point of serious concern, and the “development” to overcome the situation of those in need has even become more important now.

The International Program in Agricultural Development Studies (IPADS) inaugurated in 2010, is a unique program at the University of Tokyo that is dedicated to the development in the 21st century of the regions and situations in need around the world, in particular for the tropical Asian and African countries, based on a variety of research and education related to livelihood, society, and the environment. Agriculture provides not only food, but also materials, energy, and cash income to the people, and the importance is agriculture related industries is increasing more than ever, not only in rural areas of developing countries, but also in technologically advanced and urbanized societies.

The new paradigm for agricultural development in the coming era must not be based on massive inputs of materials and fossil fuel energy. All research and technological development should be conducted in the context to pursue real benefits and better livelihoods for people through the successful use of information technology and biological functions and possibilities. With this new way of thinking, and the principles described below, IPADS offers comprehensive cutting edge education and research to students from all over the world.

  • We address real problems in the “field”. Whether it is a farmer’s field in a developing country or a government department office working for policy decision, we try to visit or be in close contact of the society and conduct realistic research, not just staying in the campus offices or laboratories.
  • We carefully avoid mistaking established research areas or approaches/technologies to be purposes, but rather we conduct researches with a clear awareness of the needed objectives and work sincerely to achieve them.
  • We seek to be intellectually honest and not deceptive. We do not say, for example, that we will save the world by discovering one gene or developing one tool, because IPADS faculty and students are to be equipped with scientific approaches to estimate the impact of researches objectively and quantitatively. By the same token, we are not unnecessarily swayed by flowery coined terms of the lifespan of only a few decades.
  • We do not hesitate to enter into political discussions when necessary. But we will do so by ensuring fair and equal participation. We will always be mindful of the socially, economically, and informationally disadvantaged people and seek solutions for them.
  • We are highly valuing genuine creativity, which provides fresh perspectives on real-life issues through new frameworks, and will encourage the full employment of new ideas to solve complex problems.

We have also continued a joint educational program with the Center for Development Studies (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, Germany since 2014. Through this collaboration, students are enjoying opportunities to encounters with various students and faculties from ZEF and learn true interdisciplinary sciences for the development by the joint lectures and field practices.

We are looking forward to receiving your applications to this program and working together to contribute to the world as global citizens.

 

Kensuke OKADA, PhD.
IPADS Director