Freshman Course "Researchers and Society"
The "Freshman Course" (two credits) is designed for newly-enrolled students of SOKENDAI with the aim of introducing them to some essential skills and knowledge necessary at graduate level.
In the current society, researchers are expected to have not only expertise in their specialized field but also the capacity to respond to wider society. Therefore, as part of the Freshman Course, we offer an intensive course "Researchers and Society" in which participants learn and discuss researchers' roles in society through workshops and lectures. This course is divided into the following three sections:
- Section 1 "Research Ethics": This section starts with a workshop where participants form small groups and create images of the "good" researcher as a gateway to the ethical discussions of research activities. Each group then gives a presentation on the images they created. It is followed by a lecture on issues of research ethics, including research misconduct, authorship, peer review, and conflict of interests. Through this lecture, the instructor and participants discuss how to handle ethical issues that may arise to them.
- Section 2 "Social History of Research": The social roles and responsibilities of researchers have changed with the times. This lecture section gives a historical overview of the process through which research has become a profession and of the changing relationships between researchers, states, and industry. This section pays particular attention to the ethical dilemmas and social responsibility of researchers that became apparent in Twentieth-century warfare.
- Section 3 "Science Communication": Researchers have to communicate messages on their research to a wide variety of audience in society. In doing so, miscommunication occasionally happens when different stakeholders have different perspectives on research activities. This section discusses this issue of miscommunication with the example of GM crops. Through workshops and lectures, participants consider important questions such as what messages researchers should communicate to society and how to understand the different values of different stakeholders.
"Researchers and Society" (Japanese, FY 2016) is scheduled for April 5-6, 2016. "Researchers and Society" (English, FY 2016) will be delivered in early October. The details of the latter course will be announced on the SOKENDAI website as well as on this website.