Director's message

Innovation Plaza, School of Engineering, Tohoku University
ProfessorMUTO, Izumi

Innovation Plaza, School of Engineering, Tohoku University was established in 2001 in order to encourage creative students through experience of fundamental experiments and practice. The Plaza is widely utilized for purposes such as the teaching of "Team-based Engineering for Innovation" for undergraduate first-year students, or the training of students or teachers. Other than that, this Plaza is also utilized for transmission of information related with science and engineering to the community, and natural science education for primary school, junior high school and high school.

The opportunity for the establishment of the Innovation Plaza arose when the Engineering Department started to offer "Team-based Engineering for Innovation" in 1996. This Course consists of many group training courses and each course is performed with a small number of students. This is one of the original and distinctive subjects offered by the Engineering Department which was aimed to nurture students’ creativity. Each session focuses on independent identification and solving of open-ended problems, so that the student can learn valuable experiences which are required to acquire insight and creativity.

By communicating with the supervising teacher, it is hoped that students would understand the attractiveness of learning, spiritual happiness and intellectual creativity through the interactions with professional researchers, whose careers and characters are exemplary to young aspiring students. "Team-based Engineering for Innovation" is one of the very popular courses, with about 580 first-year engineering students taking courses on about 100 topics each year.

In Innovation Plaza, there are rooms dedicated for machining process, material processing, material lab, computer room, digital prototyping, digital design and also multi-purpose rooms. Users can utilize these rooms for various research and experiments. Measuring and processing devices, experimental apparatuses and digital prototyping apparatuses are prepared in corresponding rooms. The users could also access PCs, printers and video conference systems.

To ensure user safety, safety training courses and various training courses for devices and apparatuses are held throughout the year at the Plaza. Users acquire mental attitude and tips for carrying experiments and understanding of the handling of the devices or apparatuses through specific manufacturing procedures and experiments.

"Science Campus for Children" courses are offered in the summer and autumn vacations of elementary schools every year with the cooperation of Board of Education, Sendai City. From 2017, this program was relaunched as "Tohoku University Science Campus" program, resulting from the integration with existing "Tohoku University Qatar Science Campus" program. Through cooperation with companies and educational agencies, this rejuvenated program retains its annual schedule. In "Tohoku University Science Campus" program, students of primary school, junior high school and high school enroll in "The hands-on STEM activities" handled by cooperating companies, while teachers of those schools participate in "Education Seminar" organized by educational agencies.

All staff members of Innovation Plaza, aim to promote the use of the Plaza facilities, including the apparatuses and programs prepared, while maintaining a holistic experience and easy-to-use environment for our users and the community.