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The University of Queensland-Japan program for Industry Experience (UQ-JPIE)

Overview

This was an intensive 2-week program supported by the New Colombo Plan of the Australian government and held in July 2017, designed to give selected Australian student engineers from the University of Queensland the opportunity to learn about the world-leading research and industries of Japan. During this program, 15 students attended seminars on cutting-edge engineering research at Kyushu University and conducted visits to leading Japanese industries, either based or with a large presence in the Kyushu area, such as Toyota Motors Kyushu and YASKAWA Electric Corporation. Furthermore, the students had the opportunity to study about Japanese Business Culture and become familiar with the Kyushu area in general.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony was held on Monday 3rd of July. Distinguished guests present included Prof. Chiharu Kubo, president of Kyushu University and Mr. Ian Brazier, Australian Consul-General Fukuoka.

            

(left) President of Kyushu University, Dr. Chiharu Kubo, gives a speech at the opening ceremony; (middle) Dean of the School of Engineering, Prof. Hiroshi Takamatsu, gives a speech at the opening ceremony; (right) A small lunch-party held after the ceremony to welcome the students.

Lectures: Industry pre-visit seminars

To prepare students for site visits, a series of 4 lectures from faculty specialist in relevant areas were given, such as a seminar about the Steel Industry by Prof. Ko-ichiro Ohno and Prof. Noritaka Saito. Here students were able to gain important background understanding to enable them to get the most out of their industrial visits.

    

(left) Students with Prof. Ryo Kurazume and a robot during the robotics pre-visit seminar; (right) A demonstration during the seminar by Prof. Katsuro Hayashi about ceramic technology.

Prof. Koji Gotoh gives students an introduction to LNG carriers and hull construction, prior to the visit to the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Lectures: World-leading research at Kyushu University

To exemplify the world-leading research being carried out at the School and Faculty of Engineering, students attended a number of seminars and lab visits with leading faculty members, including an introduction to urban Engineering and management with Prof. Shunsuke Managi and an overview of the mining history of Japan with Prof. Koichiro Watanabe.

    

(left) Dr. Potscavage explains to students during a tour of the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics Research (OPERA); (right) Prof. Syo Matsumura gives a lecture about electron microscopy research being carried out at Kyushu University.

Students have a lab tour with Assoc. Prof. Stephen Lyth, including a visit to Hydrogen storage facilities.

Special lecture series on Japanese industry

In addition to lectures related to the specific industries to be visited by the students, Prof. Kazuhide Ohta gave a 5-part mini course covering the history of Japanese industry and its context in the modern era.

Professor Kazuhide Ohta gives a lecture on Japanese industry.

Special lectures on Japanese business customs

As part of its rich cultural heritage, Japan has developed a somewhat unique approach to inter-personal communication during business. In order to give students an in-depth understanding of the business customs of Japan and insight into their origins, Ms. Miwa Gen from the Association of Independent Entrepreneurs gave a double-lecture including many hands-on practise activities. The students were then able to apply the skills learnt when interacting with company representatives during site visits.

Ms. Miwa Gen (center) with the University of Queensland students following their lecture on Japanese business customs.

Visit to the Kyushu Economic Federation

In order to gain in-depth knowledge about industry in the Kyushu region, students were kindly welcomed by the Kyushu Economic Federation in Tenjin to take part in the Kyushu Experience and Explore Program. Here the students had the opportunity to learn important background information not only about the Kyushu area and its industry but also its links to Australia, as outlined including a lecture by Mr. Ian Brazier of the Australian Consul-General Fukuoka. Time was also given over to free discussion and networking.

Mr. Masaki Nishi from Kyushu Electric Power Co., INC., gives a short lecture on the energy services business sector.

Students gather for a group photo with the Mr. Yutaka Aso, Chairman of the Kyushu Economic Federation (front row, third from left), Mr. Masaki Nishi of Kyushu Electric Power Co., INC. (far left) as well as Prof. John Chen, director of the International Education Support Center for Engineering at Kyushu University (far right).

Industry visits

In order to expose the visiting University of Queensland students to the wealth of industry that Japan, and particularly the Kyushu area, has to offer, a number of industry visits were arranged, including Hitachi Ltd. Rail System Company, Kasado Works and TOYOTA MOTOR KYUSHU, INC.

    

(left) Students compete against a robot in the YASKAWA Electric Corporation Miraikan; (right) Group photo at Hitachi Ltd. Rail System Company, Kasado Works.

TOYOTA MOTOR KYUSHU, INC. is home to the Lexus, and students had the opportunity to see this car being produced and learn about the philosophies underlying the construction process.

Students not only had the opportunity to visit the TOTO LTD. to see the ceramic products being built, but also had a tour of the recently-opened  TOTO museum, showcasing the history of TOTO LTD. since its founding over 100 years ago.

Students pose with large cranes at the Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Students also had the opportunity to visit NIPPON STEEL & SUMITOMO METAL CORPORATION YAHATA WORKS in Kitakyushu city.

Introduction to the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering course at Kyushu University

In addition to learning about the wide variety of industry in Japan, students also learned about the host institution, Kyushu University, and the courses and laboratories in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Prof. Shigero Aso gives an overview of the Mechanical and Aerospace course on offer Kyushu University

Special lecture by Prof. David Mee of the University of Queensland

Prof. David Mee of the University of Queensland gave a special lecture to Kyushu University Aerospace students.

Prof. David Mee gives a special lecture to Kyushu University students.

Group presentations and closing ceremony

University of Queensland students were given the opportunity to make a short presentation about their thoughts and experiences during their two week stay in Japan. In addition, a closing ceremony was held and certificates of participation were awarded by the Director of the International Education Support Center for Engineering, Prof. John Chen. This was followed by a short farewell party.

(left) Students from the University of Queensland reflect on their 2-week experience on the JPIE program; (right) One of the University of Queensland students receiving their certificate of participation from Prof. John Chen, Director of the International Education Support Center for Engineering.

Farewell party

To mark the end of two busy weeks and celebrate the strengthened bond between parties in Japan and Australia, a farewell party was held.

Students share their experiences and thoughts with each other during the buffet lunch.

The farewell party marks an opportunity for new friends to exchange gifts.

Participants of the farewell party gather for a final group photo.

Thanks

The staff of the International Education Support Center for Engineering would like to sincerely thank the lecturers for their kind support of this program and the companies involved for allowing us to visit their factories and museums, helping to make this program a great success. We also thank the representatives and tour-guides for taking the time to introduce the facilities and answering questions from students. Special thanks are also directed to the distinguished guests and members of the Kyushu Economic Federation who made time in their busy schedules to help inspire the visiting students and ensure that all could take home comprehensive understanding of Kyushu; both the University and the region as a whole.