Prof. Hajime Nakagawa, Director, DPRI, Kyoto University
I took office as the Director of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University on 1 April 2017. I am grateful to my predecessor Prof. Kaoru Takara for the excellent work carried out to enhance the research and academic capabilities of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) during the past two years.
I joined the Sabo Research Section (current Sedimentation Disasters, Research Center for Fluvial and Coastal Disasters) in 1981 and have served DPRI for 36 years. I have proudly observed the progress it has made over the years, and I am deeply and strongly attached to this institute. It is, therefore, my greatest honour to serve as the Director of DPRI. I count on your guidance and support to carry out the tasks at hand.
First of all, I would like to introduce the new staff members who have joined the Disaster Prevention Research Institute as of 1 April.
There were five new members as follows:
- Prof. Ryosuke Uzuoka, Geotechnics, Research Division of Geohazards
- Prof. Yoshiki Ikeda, Earthquake Resistant Structures, Research Division of Earthquake Hazards
- Associate Prof. Akira Yoshida, Field Research Section for Fluvial and Coastal Hazards, Research Center for Fluvial and Coastal Disasters
- Senior Lecturer Florence Lahournat, Innovative Disaster Prevention Technology and Policy Research, Research Division of Disaster Management for Safe and Secure Society; and
- Program-Specific Assistant Prof. Kensuke Takenouchi, Meteorological and Hydrological Risk Information (endowed by JWA), Research Division of Atmorspheric and Hydrosheric Disasters.
In addition, Rie Kurisu joined as a technical support staff member.
I hope the new members will familiarize themselves with the work of DPRI and we will see more research results in the future.
I would like to share with you my visions and plans anticipated during my term as the director of the institute.
First and foremost, it is all about research! DPRI is a unique institute in disaster prevention and disaster mitigation especially in terms of its acclaimed facilities – nearly 15 observatory stations, laboratories, and facilities – a feature that is not seen among any other graduate school of the Kyoto University. In addition, DPRI is designated as a nationwide Joint Usage/Research Center for the Reduction of Natural Disasters and our facilities are open to researchers nationwide. We have successfully conducted many collaborative research projects producing applicable and valuable research results. In this context, I would like to strengthen our collaborative partnerships and continue to challenge new and unique research initiatives. I hope, our young researchers would stand-up to undertake new and unique challenges for research opportunities with a fresh fervor. Challenges push us forward to progression. We must significantly support our future generation of young researchers with their new research ideas and initiatives to tackle the global problems in the field of disaster prevention and risk reduction towards creating a disaster resilient world. Our young researchers – please do not hesitate to share your views and opinions with me. As for the senior researchers, I seek your support to strengthen our research activities and education in nurturing doctoral students to engage in generating outstanding research results and publications thereby contributing to the research excellence of DPRI.
Next is education, and international cooperation. The Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GADRI) was launched in March 2015 and the DPRI serves as its secretariat. As we saw recently at the 3rd Global Summit of Research Institutes for Disaster Risk Reduction, GADRI has become a recognized network in the world. To date, there are nearly 130 member institutes who have joined GADRI. In addition to this, DPRI has concluded agreements of cooperations with 56 overseas institutes (as of 31 March 2017). GADRI is a global network working in close cooperation with international stakeholders such as JICA UNESCO, UNISDR and other research bodies involved in disaster prevention/risk reduction in a globalized scale. Taking advantage of these prospects, we should move forward to improve collaboration and partnerships with the international community through academic exchanges and research collaborations and achieve globalization of DPRI research work. I would like to take this opportunity to invite those institutes who are yet to become a member of GADRI to join the network as soon as possible. In addition, I would like to promote the Strategic Young Researchers Overseas Visits Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation through academic exchange programmes.
Public Relations and Social Collaboration is another important sector – we need to disseminate our research results broadly and globally, and promote evidence-based practices around the world. While submission of papers and publications in prominent journals are of utmost importance, creating new research results and promoting them for practical use in the world is an equally important aspect towards overcoming barriers and promoting research result practices. Our basic principle is “to generate practical research results in disaster prevention and mitigation aimed at solving problems of the real world and contribute to a safe and a secure society”. Based on this principle, we should take advantage of our facilities and resources, and engage prominently to disseminate evidence-based research results among the local and international communities through various public relations activities and events such as public lectures, forums, campus publications, participation in international conferences, workshops and symposia, and also through collaborative research projects and activities.
Another important area is databases – Integrated Disaster Reduction Systems, Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems has been maintaining the natural disaster database “SAIGAI” (http://maple.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/saigai/) with a collection of more than 100,000 data from around the world. The Research Center for Disaster Reduction Systems has been working in cooperation with the Natural Disaster Research Council and various research studies and considerable work were carried out to build the databases. However, much improvement is needed in terms of collecting data, data input, computer searching systems and policies of published materials, etc. These tasks are currently piled-up and their resolution is an urgent issue. I truly count on your support to improve the database system and bringing it up to date.
Last but not least, recently, we have heard of numerous reports of fraudulent accounting at research institutes, rise in plagiarism of articles and reports which are quite disturbing. While working to improve research, education and social contributions, I would like to urge you to maintain a higher standard of ethical conduct in your activities.
In closing, I would like to introduce my team of executive officers who would be serving with me during the coming two years:
- Prof. Tomoharu Hori, Deputy Director in charge of “Future Plan”
- Prof. Takuo Shibutani, Deputy Director in charge of “Research and Education”
- Prof. Norio Maki; and, Deputy Director in charge of “Public Relations & International Exchange”
- Prof. Yoshihisa Iio, Chairperson of the Self-evaluation Committee
Much work lies ahead of us. Together, with your continued guidance, cooperation and support, we can accomplish our goals and make the Disaster Prevention Research Institute a world renowned Center of Excellence in the field of disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction.
Prof. Hajime Nakagawa
Director, Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI)