The 21st Century COE Program

The 21st Century COE Program, launched by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in FY 2002, establishes, and infuses prioritized funding into development of, research and education bases of the highest world order in a wide range of scientific and academic fields. In so doing, it seeks to raise the standard of research in Japan’s national, public and private universities, while fostering creative young people capable of becoming future world leaders in their respective fields. Ultimately, the Program works to build universities with a radiant institutional culture and strong prowess to compete internationally. In the selection process, consideration is given to the applicant’s ability to meet the following four expectations:

  1. To produce excellent research results in the subject field; possess the potential for enhanced capacity in the future; and have the capability to foster people who can do highly advanced research.
  2. To establish a COE that, under a management setup led by the university president, is capable of carrying out research and education at the world’s highest level through a powerful capacity to implement highly original future plans.
  3. To yield both creative and epochal results through the pioneering of markedly unique academic disciplines.
  4. To continue their research and education activities at the highest world standard after the funding program has ended.

113 COE programs were selected in FY2002, 133 COE programs in FY 2003,and 28 COE programs in this fiscal year.
Kobe University ,Graduate School of Business Administration was awarded the COE program grant “Research, Development and Education Center for Advanced Business Systems” last fiscal year.

The greater part of the above explanation is quoted from the JSPS(Japanese society for the Promotion of Science) site.

Needs and Objectives of the Program

Our program is designed to re-examine the Japanese corporate system from the perspective of business systems (BSs). Major Japanese corporations acquired a competitive advantage in the global arena by introducing a corporate governance structure primarily led by banks, and by carefully establishing long lasting inter-firm transaction systems and locally embedded systems to nurture and develop businesses in various parts of Japan. Although these systems worked in the past, the recent decade has witnessed a decline in their power, indicating the need for the transformation or renewal of Japanese business systems into more advanced forms. Our center for excellence aims to delve into theoretical and practical issues by use of the Kobe method, which is a happy blending of practically oriented research and research-based education. This method will both foster the development of capable young researchers and lead to fundamental changes in Japanese business systems.

What is the Center of Development and Education for Advanced Business Systems?

The COE plan we propose–to conduct research-based (and at the same time practically oriented) education–endeavors to create a new framework for the development of business, to pinpoint emerging strategies for inter-organizational relations, and to formulate new models for governance. Engagement in these endeavors will provide guidelines for the effective restoration of our competitive position in the global arena, which in turn will help determine the key to the recovery of the Japanese economy. In pursuit of these practical aims, we intend to prepare the next generation of young capable researchers through our program of research-based education.


Plan for the Formation of the Research Center

Our proposed program will consist of the following:
Main research areas: (a) Governance, (b) Supply chains, (c) Venture business
Research organizations: COE members, supporting members such as faculty members at the graduate school, post-doctoral COE researchers, graduate students, overseas universities, business industries, and staff at the school
Overseas branches: Beijing in China and London in the EU
The role of overseas branch offices: To be sites for collecting and analyzing information, developing a new business system, carrying out collaborative research and education, and incubating and supporting businesses.

Education Implementation Plan

Capitalizing on these bases both in Kobe and in other parts of the world, we plan to experiment with and further promote our Kobe Method of research-based education. There are four areas of intended activities:
(a) nurturing the next generation of young researchers with high potential in business education and research; (b) providing opportunities for continuing education for core executives through our research-based MBA program; (c) refining the skills and enhancing the competence of middle managers through our research-based MBA program (d) designing and implementing a management development program for top executives through an executive program, (e) organizing a series of workshops and symposia to disseminate knowledge to the broader business community.