"Tell the World: Global Research Outreach at the University of Tokyo" Event Held

January 28, 2016

Date of activity: January 26, 2016

You do great research. So how do you tell the world about it? That was the topic discussed at the "Tell the World: Global Research Outreach at the University of Tokyo" event held at the Hongo Campus on Tuesday, January 26th by the University's Public Relations Office. Over 50 participants—students, professors, researchers and staff, both Japanese and international—attended the afternoon-long event, which featured talks by four guests followed by a poster session.

After opening remarks by Professor Shinji Suzuki, director of the University of Tokyo's Public Relations Office, Dr. Ayumi Koso, a project researcher at the Public Relations Office, spoke about how the Public Relations Office can help researchers engage in public outreach through press releases and UTokyo Research. She also highlighted the benefits of publicizing one's research: doing so can help researchers develop presentation and communication skills, lead to additional funding and new research ideas, as well as raise one's research profile.

Next, Mr. Yoichi Komatsu of the University's Information Systems Department spoke about the UTokyo Repository and how submitting papers to the Repository can increase the visibility of one's research. Initiated in 2006, the UTokyo Repository is an electronic archival system that holds more than 30,000 items including bulletins, theses, academic journal articles, preprints, books and other educational resources. Mr. Komatsu emphasized that the benefits of having the full-text papers available for the public to view are substantial.

Associate Professor Jonathan Woodward of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences then gave a presentation on his experience of promoting his work at UTokyo, his past outreach activity involvement in the U.K., and future possibilities for outreach while in Japan. In particular, he addressed both the short- and long-term positive impact he has experienced after submitting his research to UTokyo Research and the UTokyo Repository, such as how his work got covered by multiple international media outlets and how he has been invited to participate in collaborative research with another UTokyo professor. He also talked about his youth outreach activities back in the U.K., some of which he himself had coordinated, in which he worked to make chemistry exciting and fun for children ages 10-18. Professor Woodward asked researchers to consider "what aspects of your studies/research fascinate you most," and if they could "excite others with these things." His final advice regarding engaging with the public was to "just do it!"

The final speaker was Dr. Anupreeta More, a project researcher at the University's Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU). Dr. More discussed how citizen scientists can be mobilized to contribute to scientific discoveries. As an example, she referred to a crowdsourcing project called Space Warps that she helped create to search for gravitational lenses. Space Warps will soon embark upon a new project using data from the Hyper Suprime-Cam mounted on the Japanese Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, and Dr. More expressed her hope that Japanese people would contribute to the project.

Two lively question-and-answer sessions took place between and after the four talks, during which participants and speakers discussed submitting research to UTokyo Research and the UTokyo Repository, facilitating outreach activities for children and younger students, how the language barrier affects outreach, using social media to promote one's research, and encouraging more researchers in the humanities and social sciences fields to submit their work to UTokyo Research.

The event concluded with a poster session, during which several participants presented original posters describing their research and projects in which they are involved. Staff members and researchers representing the UTokyo New Library Project, the Art x Science Programs at Kavli IPMU, UTokyo TV and Todai Navi were among the presenters. A representative from the New Library Project praised the event, saying it "provided us with a unique opportunity to receive feedback about the library from international students and researchers face-to-face." Other presenters echoed her comments as they passionately explained their projects to interested attendees over tea, coffee and snacks.

* This event was funded by the International Students and Researchers Support Group as part of the Second University of Tokyo Contest for Planning of International Exchange Events.

** This event was recorded by UTokyo TV and is free to watch on their website at the following link:

*** Presentation materials from the four speakers can be downloaded here:

  • Attendees enjoying the poster session
    Attendees enjoying the poster session
  • Participants listening intently as the event begins
    Participants listening intently as the event begins
  • Dr. More and Professor Woodward taking a question from the audience
    Dr. More and Professor Woodward taking a question from the audience
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