• Hyper Interdisciplinary Conference in Tokyo 2022

Special Trilogy of Past Society Presidents "Transcending and Connecting. Connecting. Changing the World."


The 2021-2022 season of the Association of Hyperdisciplinarity is finally underway. The Hyperdisciplinarity Conference is a forum for discussion and the creation of new knowledge that transcends all boundaries of different fields, industries, and affiliations. Now, 19 years after its inception, we are entering a period of change. What is the essence of a trans-disciplinary society? And how should it be updated in the future? Three past presidents of Liberace discussed.


Where is the essence of the conference?


Okazaki Today, the three of us would like to think about updating the super interdisciplinary conference, and as a starting point, I would like to begin our discussion from the point of "what is a conference in the first place".

Inoue. So to speak, you are tracing back to the source. So, the modern definition of an academic conference is "a place where experts in a certain field gather to discuss the certainty of the data presented at the conference.

Okazaki I have looked into the history of academic societies, and it is said that they originated from the Royal Society in the 1600s, when papers and academic journals first appeared. In other words, the fundamental idea is that knowledge obtained through research should be "shared" and "accumulated. I don't think the focus was necessarily on "verification of certainty.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan However, even at contemporary conferences, it is common to discuss preliminal data in poster presentations. The main purpose is to expand the possibilities of research itself by discussing hypotheses with a variety of people. Recently, there are more and more conferences with interdisciplinary elements. However, the basic premise is that biology is biology, so we have not yet reached the point where we can go beyond that barrier.

Okazaki In that respect, at the source of the Society, it was basically field-agnostic.

Inoue. In other words, it was a field of "science.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan I guess you could say that the current academic society is the result of gradual subdivisions from there.

Inoue. The concept of the Association of Transdisciplinary Research is to bring it back to "science" once again. However, in my opinion, it is not enough to simply say that people from a variety of fields have gathered at a transdisciplinary society. Rather, it is the result of a gathering of people who are passionate about doing something new, and as a result, there is a mixture of various fields here. In other words, it is important to say that as a result, the conference has become "super interdisciplinary.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan I think it is important to have people who have established their own core area of expertise and are looking for something that can be multiplied with other fields.

Okazaki It is a society that brings together not only diverse fields, but also diverse "aspirations.

Inoue. It is of course extremely important to pursue one's own field of study. On the other hand, there are things that can only be created by mixing fields. I believe that both of these are the essence of "research.


What "different fields" means


Inoue. What has been really interesting to me lately is the increase in online conferences due to the coronary disaster. That is inevitable, and there are certainly advantages to participating remotely. However, I really feel a sense of urgency about the fact that discussions are becoming less frequent because of the online presence.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan Indeed, looking back on past hyperdisciplinarity conferences, the most exciting part of the event is the poster room. The essence of hyper-disciplinarity conferences is that new things are born from real communication among people from diverse fields. In this sense, the loss of face-to-face discussions at conferences is a great price to pay.

Inoue. Especially at the super-discipline conferences, junior high and high school students who are working on their research also give poster presentations. The sparkle in their eyes, or rather, the pure passion they put into their research, brings even university professors back to the basics, saying, "Ah, this is what research is all about. I think that feeling is something that can only be experienced in real life.

Okazaki To add to this, the super interdisciplinary conference brings together people who are not often in contact with each other in academia, such as people from local factories and corporate research laboratories. I believe that a realistic environment is more conducive to communication between people with such different backgrounds.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan This is one of the characteristics and strengths of the Association of Very Different Fields. The "different fields" of the Association of Transdisciplinary Research is not just the fields of the major items of the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, but rather "different generations," "different jobs," "different career experiences," and "different fields. It is a very broad term that includes "different generations," "different jobs," "different career experiences," and so on.

Inoue. And even though we are from different fields, we share the same instincts as researchers, such as the desire to solve a problem or to test a hypothesis together with someone else. If such a gathering could be realized in a real setting, something interesting is bound to happen.


Knowledge sharing and vector dissemination


Okazaki The mechanism from the viewpoint of how to make something interesting happen is something we have been working on for the past several years.

Inoue. In my opinion, what is absolutely necessary to further this part of the project is "how to share the research that is being conducted within the company.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan For the corporate side, the balance between "open" and "closed" is the most difficult part.

Inoue. Exactly. However, it is extremely important for the future development of science and technology to understand this difficulty and still be open about it. In other words, there is an "invisible continent" for science and technology. Of course, there is the issue of intellectual property, but there must be a hint for the next evolution in opening the doors of research that companies are working on, even if only little by little.

Okazaki The system of intellectual property is also originally intended to promote technological and cultural development through the disclosure of knowledge. Just like the starting point of academic societies mentioned at the beginning of this article, "knowledge sharing" is necessary to create new knowledge. However, in market competition, there are naturally some aspects that must be kept secret.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan We have found a certain solution to this problem by continuing to hold super interdisciplinary conferences. What I mean is that it is not at all necessary to talk about what we know in detail. Rather, if we can communicate the vector of "this is what I am thinking about doing," then empathy will spread, saying, "Actually, I was thinking that way, too," and the seeds of new things will naturally be born.

Inoue. Competition is the "driving force" in capitalism. Because there are winners and losers, companies invest in research and development, which in turn leads to new value. In this sense, I think that what the Association of Hyperdifferent Fields should prove is that "incorporating the concept of hyperdifferent fields is itself a source of competitiveness for companies.

Okazaki In other words, we need to go beyond the stereotypes of the past and create a mechanism as a transdisciplinary society whereby greater results can be achieved by openly disclosing elements of research within a company.

Inoue. That is exactly what I mean. Of course there is a need for secrecy, but I would still like to involve companies in the challenge of disclosing from where possible.

ladder form of "high bridge" used in ancient Japan By "invisible continent," you include researchers who have not yet attended a transdisciplinary conference.

Okazaki Personally, I honestly believe that research can be self-satisfying. However, it is important to "share the knowledge" gained from the research and to "transmit the vector" of "what I want to do. Whether in academia, a company, or a craftsman at a local factory, I believe that all people who have discovered something through trial and error by formulating a hypothesis are researchers. Even if they do not identify themselves as researchers, it is natural that they all possess such knowledge. By integrating this knowledge for the future of humanity, a new world will open up.

(Composition: Hikaru Tsukagoshi)



President, The Association of Hyperdifferent Fields Takashi Okazaki

D. in Science from Osaka University. After working as a special researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), he joined LEVANES Corporation in 2010. He is involved in research seeds discovery, matching industry-academia collaboration, human resource development, regional acceleration, and other activities.

Representative Director, Vice President CTO Jyo Inoue

D., Pharmacist, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences. Founding member of LIVERNESS. While conducting research and development, he is a researcher involved in launching joint research projects with universities and research institutions and supporting the establishment of research institutes. He also holds several posts in academia, including Professor of Advanced Pharmacy at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University.

Executive Officer Hiroyuki Takahashi

D. from Yokohama City University in 2009. D. in Science. He has contributed to the creation of new research projects between industry and young researchers, including the establishment of the "LIBERNESS Research Fund" and the "Association of Hyperdifferent Fields". Also serves as a director of NEST iPLAB, Inc.