Summary of interviews: GCOE Programme
The GCOE centres of both Osaka University and the University of Tokyo aimed to create an internationally oriented, interdisciplinary education and research environment that went beyond conventional organisational structures. However, while both universities relied on their existing organisational structures for the GCOE Programme, the centres were not part of the ordinary organisation of the university and their administration was somewhat autonomous. Osaka University’s centres are seen as roughly equivalent to university-wide education/research centres. Both universities made use of this intermediate characteristic to provide interdisciplinary and innovative education and research opportunities that would have been hard to provide within the universities’ existing organisational structures. The centres can therefore be understood as a force for reform.
Led by the director of the centre, the centres hire for the project professors/ researchers and postdoctoral fellows, who engage in education and research in the centres. In addition, graduate students are hired as research assistants. Since the universities do not administer the GCOE centres, a small administrative staff is hired using grant funds; professors and specially appointed project professors are primarily responsible for administration of the centre. However, the administration of the host university does provide support for accounting and processing. Also, as the university has several GCOE centres, there is some joint administration, for example for university-wide public relations.
Both universities actively engage in exchanges with related centres in Japan and abroad in addition to the collaboration that takes place among the university’s GCOE centres.