Speaker: Hanako Ricciardi (Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute for Technology, Tokyo, Japan)

Abstract: The World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is one way in which the Japanese government attempts to bring reform to the Japanese national universities’ ways of supporting research. The Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI), a WPI center, acts as a kind of ‘free-trade zone’ or a trojan horse within its host university, Tokyo Institute of Technology.

As an English-language institute with 40 percent of its researchers being non Japanese and tackling the fundamental question of life’s origins, we are, by character, multicultural and multidisciplinary. In addition to the challenges of communicating across such differences, we are mandated to build an organization best able to support and foster research midst an insular and highly bureaucratic environment.

My role at ELSI is best described as watch dog, sheep dog, and rescue dog of all issues relating to the internationalization of the institute. How do we explore and navigate change that is transformative to ingrained mind sets and systems? From tales of trials and tribulations, from the sublime to the ridiculous, real progress seems to begin with awareness.

Thursday, November 10, 12:30 p.m.
Institute for Advanced Study, 1 Einstein Drive, West Building Seminar Room, 2nd floor
Host by the Program in Interdisciplinary Studies