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Mason Explores Partnership with Hokkaido University

Two professors from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan visited the George Mason University’s School of Business on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 to share ideas and explore partnerships with the School of Business’s Masters in Technology Management and Masters in Management of Secure Information Systems programs and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Professors Tsunehisa Araiso and Janichi Kaneko were accompanied by Yuki Imamura, president of the Washington Strategy Group and founding chair of the Washington Innovation Network, who sits on the advisory board for the Mason MS in Technology Management program. Ten years ago, Imamura facilitated the partnership between George Mason University and Tokyo’s Waseda University, which led to the cofounding of the International Academy of CIO and to joint efforts with the World Bank, United Nations, International Telecommunications Union, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,  and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

From left: Mahesh Joshi, Yuki Imamura, Janichi Kaneko, Tsunehisa Araiso, Jean-Pierre Auffret, Angelos Stavrou, Kumar Mehta and Kevin Rockmann

From left: Mahesh Joshi, Yuki Imamura, Janichi Kaneko, Tsunehisa Araiso, Jean-Pierre Auffret, Angelos Stavrou, Kumar Mehta and Kevin Rockmann

Mason’s proven expertise in entrepreneurship and research, product development, and commercialization of innovative technology products and services attracted interest from Ariaso and Kaneko, who are professors in the Hokkaido University Center for Innovation and Business Promotion. Araiso is also former president of the Japan Society of Intellectual Production, an organization fostering university-industry collaboration and comprising 300 universities and private sector members. He has been recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for his efforts on the Hokkaido Platform Entrance (HoPE), an organization promoting technology commercialization and innovation in Hokkaido.

The pair has already begun efforts to build an entrepreneurship curriculum at Hokkaido University, facilitate business creation in the region, and secure industry-academic partnerships in Hokkaido but have faced roadblocks due to the tough Japanese economic climate.

“The challenge is to fashion a business and policy environment that enables research and innovation to be translated into products and services in companies that are both scalable and sustainable,” said J.P. Auffret, director of executive degree programs at the School of Business. “We’ve worked with policy makers globally on these issues and are looking forward to partnering with Hokkaido University.”

Angelos Stavrou, associate professor in computer science, shared some of the challenges of fostering innovation within a university and offered his experiences in bridging the gap between research and the start of a successful company.

The Hokkaido University representatives expressed an interest in working with Mason to develop their entrepreneurial curriculum, as well as partnering in technology areas including cyber security, analytics, sensors and mobiles.

“We had a wide-ranging and fruitful discussion about how we might collaborate in the future and enrich the relations between our universities,” said Auffret.

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Mary Crowson

Mary Crowson is a program operations specialist for the Research Partnerships and Grants Initiative within George Mason's School of Business.

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