Greetings from Head of Department
Energy acquisition and flow in ecosystems form an integrated system. To optimize the balance between energy acquisition and consumption, organisms adapt to their environment to maximize their performance. Through natural selection, species that are well adapted to the environment survive and those that are not go extinct. The flow of energy through the ecosystem maximizes energy efficiency. It is believed that control of this flow is the mechanism of natural selection. This concept applied to the human world implies that we can form an efficient community/society by identifying people's strengths and working hard with others in an environment where they can utilize their strengths.
In the Department of Environment Systems, we attempt to understand the flow of materials and energy associated with human activities and the material cycle in the natural world. By clarifying their mutual interactions, we can understand environment systems and create an environment-friendly society. To achieve this goal, a systematic approach that clarifies the properties of each element that comprises the system and elucidates the cooperation mechanism between elements is important.
Advances in technology have led to economic growth. However, in developed countries, the middle class is shrinking, economic disparity is widening, and poverty is increasing. Although the economic and social conditions must change, at present there is no blueprint for such change. Under these circumstances, the creation of an environment-friendly society, which our department advocates, will become increasingly important. I invite those who are willing to establish environmental system science as a comprehensive science and help bring about a new era to join our department.
Head of Department
Department of Environment Systems
The production of artificial materials, the discharge of wastes, and the development of Earth's surface, underground and ocean have significantly affected the environment systems which are composed both by natural environments and human societies, and have degraded the wealth of ecosystems and the quality of human life. To tackle and overcome these problems, it is quite important to understand the material and energy cycles, and to clarify the interaction among sub-systems which constitute the whole environment system. In addition, it is highly expected to develop problem-solving methodologies and their application through the detailed study by natural scientific and engineering approach together with the integration of economics, policy science, and international cooperation. The viewpoints of risks and safety are also fundamental importance for our activities.
Department of Environment Systems conduct researches and education to design and realize the sustainable societies by analyzing the interaction and relationship between human societies and natural environment, developing the model to represent the environment systems based on the detailed analyses, clarifying the causes of the problems using the systems model, and investigating the possible solutions and the way to manage the system. We expect highly motivated students and researchers to join in our group to collaborate to achieve the objectives.
Research fields of Environment Systems
In the natural world, materials and energy are exchanged among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. Human society extracts materials and energy from the natural world and creates various artificial objects. This activity has an impact on the natural world through the discharge of waste and excessive development. To solve environmental problems, the study of environment systems attempts to understand the flow of such materials and energy, and comprehensively deals with the ideal state of social systems from various aspects, such as technology, economy, system, law, education, ethics, risk, and safety.
Modeling of Environment Systems and design of sustainable societies
To study environment systems, we build an environment system model that consists of human society and natural subsystems. To understand the interrelationship between the human world and the natural world, we introduce technologies and policies to the environmental system model and analyze the response of the system. Our ultimate objective is to design a sustainable environment-friendly society by combining approaches such as control and adaption.
Fields of Environment Systems
The complex challenges we currently face must be analyzed from multiple perspectives. The traditional approach of considering a problem in an individual discipline is insufficient. Therefore, the Department of Environment Systems is involved in various research fields. We have established a system that enables strategic and flexible analysis and discussion from a bird's-eye view to solve environmental problems and realize a sustainable society in collaboration with faculty members from various specialized fields.
We are conducting research in collaboration with various organizations in Japan and overseas.
An agreement was signed on October 14, 2005, between the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies to cooperate with each other to further enhance educational and research activities in the master's and doctoral programs of the University of Tokyo, as well as research at the National Institute for Environmental Studies. This is expected to contribute to the development of environmental studies in Japan by promoting their achievements and disseminating their results. The National Institute for Environmental Studies has outstanding achievements and potential for research in the field of a sound material-cycle society. It also has prominent researchers. The cooperation program aims to promote the development of research and education on the transition to a cycle-oriented society.
Imperial College London (Exchange Agreement)
An exchange program has been established between the Department of Environment Systems and the Department of Ocean Technology, Policy, and Environment and the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, one of the UK's leading science colleges. Since 2009, we have sent and accepted several master's students every year. Students are expected to learn about general environmental problems and their expected impact, and the currently considered countermeasure technologies and their effects. Through lectures and exercises in each country, the program aims to develop future engineers and technology policy-makers who will be responsible for international negotiations on environmental issues.