About “Program for Leading Graduate Schools”

In 2011, MEXT(Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) started recruitments for graduate programs in order to foster global leaders in various fields. The following is mentioned in their application advertisement.

“The Leading Programs in Doctoral Education works to advance the establishment of university graduate schools of the highest caliber by supporting the dramatic reform of their education programs in such a way that they will institute degree programs recognized as top quality around the world. To foster excellent students who are both highly creative and internationally attuned and who will play leading roles in the academic, industrial and governmental sectors across the globe, the program brings top-ranking faculty and students together from both in and outside Japan and enlists participation from other sectors in its planning and execution, while creating continuity between master’s and doctoral programs and implementing curricula that overarches fields of specialization.”

Leading Program contains three categories; “All round category”(programs integrate such as humanities, social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering), “Composite category”(Cross-discipline programs on one of following seven themes: environment, life and health, safety and security, material objects, information, multi-culture society, or cross-sectional theme), and “Only-one category”(singularly unique worldwide programs).

Hiroshima University Leading Graduate Program for Phoenix Leader Education Program was adopted as “Composite category(cross-sectional theme)” in December 2011.

JSPS web site
MEXT web site


Background of Phoenix leader education program

The use of radiation for the industry, medicine and energy has brought about significant benefits to humankind. However, its improper use can result in significant damage to people and environment, or the complete destruction of communities, as seen in the atomic bomb disasters in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Based on its Five Guiding Principles, Hiroshima University is the world’s first University founded in a city which suffered from atomic bombing, and has been supporting the city’s rehabilitation from A-bomb damage. The Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine (RIRBM), among other institutions, has been among the World leaders in the field of radiation casualty medicine. In the Hiroshima University 21st Century COE Program “Radiation Casualty Medical Research Center”, Hiroshima University has developed new frontiers of radiation casualty medicine based on radiation genetics and has advanced the cultivation of human resources in the field of radiation casualty medicine. Moreover, as a “tertiary radiation emergency medical institution in the Western Japan bloc,” Hiroshima University has been proving medical care in response to radiation emergencies, and is engaged in RANET and REMPAN, as well as the global radiation emergency medicine information network of IAEA and WHO.

figure09Right after the unprecedented Tohoku-Pacific Ocean Earthquake in March 2011 and the consequent damage to the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Hiroshima University sent more than 1300 personnel to Fukushima Prefecture as part of its “Radiation Emergency Medical Assistance Team”. The team has contributed to the safety and security of the residents in Fukushima Prefecture by providing medical care to those affected, carrying out assessment of the effects of radiation exposure on the residents and conducting evaluation of possible environmental contamination. During the recovery operations we saw first hand that nuclear power station disasters cause not only direct human injury and environmental contamination due to radiation exposure, but they may also destroy human relations and degrade the fabric of society. Additionally, we found that recovery from the radiation disaster requires global leaders who are capable of directing the recovery in coordination with the international community with a clear vision of reconstruction, based on a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary knowledge including radiation science, environmental science, and social science. However, not only Japan but also the global community has a definite shortage of leaders with these abilities. The development of global leaders is not limited to affected regions like Japan and Chernobyl, but is considered a high priority issue of the international community.