Energy is central to human societies. On the one hand energy use is driving human economies and caters for multiple human needs at different levels. As such secure and reliable access to cheap energy is seen as a policy priority in almost all countries globally. On the other hand energy production and use can have multiple direct and indirect sustainability impacts, ranging from contribution to anthropogenic climate change and ecosystem degradation, to impacts on human health and wellbeing. Notably many of these direct and indirect impacts are distributed unequally, with poor countries and communities facing some of the most severe negative impacts of unsustainable energy production and use pathways. As a result many scholars, policymakers and practitioners have perceived the transition to clean and affordable energy systems as a priority area for achieving sustainable development.
Considering this centrality for sustainable development, energy systems have been recognised with a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), namely SDG 7 (Affordable Clean Energy). However, energy systems intersect strongly with multiple other SDGs such as SDG 9 (Industry, Infrastructure and Innovation), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 13 (Climate action), among others. Considering the important ramifications of current energy systems on ongoing climatic change, ecosystem degradation, and unsustainable production and consumption pathways, there is an urgent need to generate interdisciplinary knowledge to understand these linkages and develop solutions at the interface of these SDGs.
Ultimately, achieving progress and impact for the SDGs will require academia, business, policymakers and civil society to work closely together in a transdisciplinary manner. The University of Tokyo has been at the forefront of energy-related research internationally, and has been embarking in interdisciplinary initiatives with the university such as the new Collaborative Research Organization for Comprehensive Energy Sciences to further expand this expertise. To support all potential stakeholders, Springer Nature – publisher of Nature Energy and various SDG-relevant publications – plays an important role in advancing the discovery and dissemination of evidence-based and impactful sustainability research across diverse communities and sectors.
To highlight these transdisciplinary connections and to achieve progress and impact, the University of Tokyo and Springer Nature will be co-hosting a symposium on 29 March 2022 (in English). In alignment with the UTokyo Compass strategy, this event hopes to provide ideas and perspectives for early career researchers who seek to attempt impactful and transformative energy-related research.
We wish to take this opportunity to invite some of Japan’s renowned researchers working at this interface of energy systems and SDGs to actively discuss how research can both explain these multifaceted phenomena and develop effective solutions with high societal relevance and impact. We look forward to your participation in this event.
Teruo Fujii became the 31st President of the University of Tokyo on April 1, 2021, with a six-year term. He was previously the Executive Vice President in charge of finance and external relations for the university. He also served as Director General of the Institute of Industrial Sciences (IIS) of the University of Tokyo from 2015 to 2018. He received his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1993, held research positions at IIS and RIKEN Institute, and became a Professor at IIS in 2007.
He has served as an Executive Member (part-time) of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan since March 2021. He was also an advisor to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) from 2005 to 2007, the Co-director of LIMMS-CNRS/IIS, a joint research lab between CNRS, France, and IIS, from 2007 to 2014, and the President of Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS) from 2017 to 2019. His research specializes in applied microfluidics systems and underwater technology.
Ryuji Matsuhashi is Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems (EEIS) at the University of Tokyo since 2011, and the Director of the Collaborative Research Organization for Comprehensive Energy Sciences, established on July 1st, 2021.
Before that he was a Research Associate (1990-1993) and an Associate Professor (1994-1998) at the Department of Geosystem Engineering, University of Tokyo. Subsequently he served as an Associate Professor (1999-2002) and a Professor (2003-2010) at the Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Tokyo. He earned a B.Eng. in 1985 and a D.Eng. in 1990 both from the Department of Electronics at the University of Tokyo.
His intensive research on the analysis of energy systems and global environmental issues has produced various books and academic papers. He is currently a member of the Japan Society of Energy and Resources, the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan, and the Japan Institute of Energy.
Hiroshi Segawa is Professor at the Department of Multi-Disciplinary Sciences, University of Tokyo. He is also a Professor at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) and the Komaba Organization for Educational Excellence (KOMEX) at the University of Tokyo.
In 1995 he joined the University of Tokyo as Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. From 1997 he has also been affiliated with the Graduate School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo, and was promoted to a Professor in 2006. He received his Ph.D. from Kyoto University in 1989.
His research focuses on next-generation high-performance photovoltaics using organometal halide perovskite. His research has achieved high energy conversion efficiencies of perovskite solar cells and its monolithic mini-module. He has received several awards, including the Prize for Science and Technology (The Commendation for Science and Technology by MEXT, Japan, 2019), and the Second Solar Award (Solar Award Executive Committee, Japan, 2013).
Ed Gerstner is the Director of Journal Policy & Strategy at Springer Nature. He is responsible for the development and implementation of policy and strategy across the entire Springer Nature journal portfolio. He is also the Chair of Springer Nature's SDG Programme Steering Group, whose task is to coordinate and enhance the company's support of research and researchers who are seeking solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
He has been an editor with Nature journals for over sixteen years and helped found Nature's first mainland China office in Shanghai, where he built a team of editors from across the Nature family to live and work in China. He has travelled extensively throughout Asia to learn about the ongoing research in the region, to teach researchers how to improve the impact of their scholarship through greater openness and transparency, and to help them to publish their research in the world's best journals.
Akari Hayashi is Professor at the Kyushu University Platform of Inter- /Transdisciplinary Energy (Q-PIT). She also serves as a Professor at the International Research Center for Hydrogen Energy, which is part of the Department of Hydrogen Energy at Kyushu University.
Akari holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis. After receiving her PhD, she worked at the industry and in a national laboratory. She started her academic career as an Associate Professor at Nagoya Institute of Technology, and joined Kyushu University as an Associate Professor in 2011.
Her research focuses on Hydrogen energy through the production, storage, and use of hydrogen. She started hydrogen research in 2006, with her most recent interest being on the combination of renewable energy and hydrogen energy, with a focus on a key technology, namely water electrolysis.
Masahiro (Masa) Sugiyama is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Future Initiatives(IFI), University of Tokyo. Prior to joining the University of Tokyo in April 2014, he was a Researcher at the Socio-Economic Research Center, the Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry. He holds a Ph.D. in climate science and a MSc in technology and policy, both from MIT.
His research areas include scenario analysis of climate and energy policy and governance of climate engineering from the public engagement perspective. His most recent book is “Controlling the Climate: The Risky Last Resort of Global Warming Countermeasures” (published by KADOKAWA). He is a Lead Author of the Working Group III’s contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC).
Gregory Trencher is an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University. Before joining Kyoto University, he worked as an Associate Professor at Tohoku University (2017-2021) and Clark University in the USA (2014-2017). Gregory holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Science from the University of Tokyo (2014) and MA in Global Environmental Studies from Sophia University (2011).
Gregory’s research specializes in innovation processes and policies for advancing urban sustainability and transitioning to a sustainable energy system. His current research examines the governance strategies used by government and industry in Japan, China and Korea to accelerate the transitioning to electric mobility, as well as the phase-out of gasoline vehicles. He is also examining coal divestment in Japan, and the policies and company strategies influencing the decarbonization of Japan’s electricity market. At the same time, he leads a project on the phase-out of environmentally unsustainable substances, technologies and processes. Finally, he conducts research on urban sustainability, with an interest in smart cities aimed at solving social challenges.
Muhammad Aziz is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), University of Tokyo. He worked previously as an Associate Professor (2015-2019) and Assistant Professor (2011-2015) at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, as a Researcher at IIS (2009-2011), and as a mechanical designer at Seiko Epson Corp. (2008-2009). He received B.Eng., M.Eng., and D.Eng. degrees from Kyushu University in 2004, 2006 and 2008, respectively, in the field of mechanical engineering.
His general research areas are advanced energy conversion systems. His research interests include power generation, renewable energy utilization, process modeling, smart grid, electric vehicle, battery, and hydrogen production, storage/transportation, and utilization.
Nicky Dean is the Chief Editor of Nature Energy, one of the Nature research journals.
He began working on the journal in 2015, which then launched in 2016. Prior to that, he was a Senior Editor and Team Manager at Nature Communications, which he joined in 2011 following his post-doctoral research work.
Nicky holds a D.Phil. in condensed matter and atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford.
Antoine Bocquet is Vice President Institutional Sales, Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania for Springer Nature. He also holds the position of Managing Director of the Springer Nature companies in Japan. He is responsible for all Institutional sales in the regions of Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.
He has over 25 years’ experience in the academic publishing industry in the Asia-Pacific. During his career he has led publishing programs in Asia, founded a medical communications business in Japan and been a book commissioning editor. Tony holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Tokyo and is a graduate of Griffith University in Brisbane.
Yukari Takamura is Professor at the Institute for Future Initiatives, The University of Tokyo. After receiving Master of Laws (Public International Law) from Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, she was appointed Associate Professor at Shizuoka University. Before joining the University of Tokyo in 2018, she worked as Professor at Ryukoku University, Kyoto, and Professor at Nagoya University, Japan.
Specializing international law and environmental law, her research focuses on legal and governance issues relating to multilateral environmental agreements as well as climate and energy laws and policies. She is member of the Editorial Board of Journal Sustainability Science and of the Editorial Advisory Board of Journal Climate Policy.
She serves as member of governmental advisory bodies, among others, Central Environmental Council as President, and Procurement Price Calculation Committee for Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy as Chair. She is also member of the Advisory Group on Climate Change and Sustainable Development of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). She is member of Science Council of Japan and serves as Vice President since October 2020, and received Environmental Conservation Merit's Minister of the Environment Award in 2018.