11th HOPE Meeting Overview
Date: Monday, 4 March – Friday 8, March 2019
Main Venue: OIST, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (Okinawa, Japan)
Subject Fields: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine and Related Fields
Organizer: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)
11th HOPE Meeting was attended by 104 doctoral students and young researchers from 19* Asia-Pacific and African countries and regions.
Japan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Lectures, Group Discussions and Panel Discussion
The 11th Hope Meeting featured the participation of six Nobel Laureates and two distinguished invited lecturers.
Over the course of the meeting, the Nobel Laureates and an invited lecturer delivered seven approximately one-hour lectures. In the lectures’ Q&A sessions and in group discussions, the young researchers enjoyed an opportunity to exchange views and interact with people who are pioneering the frontiers of global knowledge.
For the group discussions, the participants were divided into groups of about 20 persons, each group engaging in dialogue with one of the lecturers. In a highly spontaneous environment, these discussions saw spirited exchanges with the lecturer in which the young researchers broached topics of interest to themselves, such as matters encountered in their current research and their future career paths.
This HOPE Meeting, held at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, was given a new component, a panel discussion. In it, OIST president Dr. Peter Gruss gave a keynote speech on the theme “Science and Society,” followed by a discussion among a four-member panel, including Nobel Laureates Profs. Takaaki Kajita and Ben L. Feringa, monitored by JSPS executive director Dr. Yasuhiro Iye. Responding to the razor-sharp views exchanged among the panelists, volleys of questions were asked from the floor.
Among the members of the panel discussion’s floor were OIST students and faculty, people from universities affiliated with the University Consortium Okinawa, as well as the HOPE Meeting participants. Their numbers packed the hall, which pulsated in vibrant discussion.
The HOPE Meeting provided a platform for the young researchers to individually report on their research activities, which they did by actively carrying out flash talks and poster presentations. It also gave them the opportunity to carry out collaborative activities with their peers from the Asia-Pacific and Africa. In preparing for team presentations scheduled to be held on the last day of the meeting, the participants advanced opinion exchanges with their teammates as they strived to prepare highly innovative presentations within a short time frame.
During the flash-talk session held on the first day, each of the participants gave a one-minute summary of their research. As the organizing committee members and moderators also gave flash talks, the session provided an ideal opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.
During the HOPE Meeting, poster sessions were held in OIST’s Tunnel Gallery, in which each participant displayed a poster illustrating his or her research work. During the meeting, three poster sessions were held. Standing in front of their posters, the presenters fielded questions from and engaged in spirited discussions with other participants. Critiqued, five of the most excellent poster presenters were given the “Best Poster Presentation Award,” among whom one received the “HOPE Award” for the very best poster.
The 104 participants divided into 11 teams for the team presentations that would be held on the last day. Comprising members of diverse nationalities and research specializations, each team worked collaboratively to produce highly creative presentations that when delivered charged the atmosphere in the hall with an air of excitement. At the meeting’s closing ceremony, the Dr. Kajita, who chaired the organizing committee, presented the “Unique Team Presentation Award” and “Best Team Presentation Award” to two of the presentation teams.
●Site Visit and Cultural Experience
Dividing into groups of specific research fields, the participants visited several of OIST’s research facilities, some in their own field and some in other fields. The OIST tour gave the participants a close look at some of Japan’s most advanced research and educational facilities, while looking out over an environment surrounded by blue seas and green fields and hills. Some participants expressed a sense of awe when experiencing this uniquely Okinawan setting.
The participants were also given an opportunity to expand the cultural horizons by experiencing Okinawa’s distinct culture. They visited the Shuri Castle, which played an important role when the island was the seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, participated in the uniquely Okinawan bukubuku cha bubbly tea ceremony, and tried their hand at Okinawa’s traditional bingata dyeing.