Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives



As the diversification of academic fields continues to progress, making it necessary for the university to collaborate with society, we established the Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives (OTRI) in January 2017 in order to further advance leading interdisciplinary research through cooperation beyond the boundaries of organization, society, and nationality.


Drug Discovery Science Division

Director : Kazutake TSUJIKAWA (Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor)

The Drug Discovery Science Division supports basic research and promotes the sharing of university research results with society. Specifically, the division further improves and develops basic research on various diseases at Osaka University and leads results of research to the development of new treatment drugs and diagnostic agents.
At Osaka University, there are also many technologies that can lead to the drug development. This division also supports such technology, i.e., research special to university and not possessed by companies, and serves as an intermediary toward commercialization.
Currently in a project in which this division plays a central role, drug discovery as well as research and development in a wide range of applications is in progress. We want to contribute to creating an environment where young researchers can devote themselves to research by giving back results from joint research with various companies.


Laser Co-Creation for Photon Science Division

Director : Ryousuke KODAMA (Graduate School of Engineering, Professor)

Osaka University has various core competencies in photonics, photon-quantum beam technologies, and their applications in the field of photon science, and has achieved a great deal in a wide variety of fields. This division will promote the realization of diverse co-creation through interdisciplinary collaboration, international collaboration, facility collaboration, and industry-academia collaboration, based on internationally competitive laser technology that is highly versatile. For this purpose, we will fully utilize the potential of lasers not only in the university but also in Japan, and realize a "Consolidation of Science Wisdom" that overcomes the boundaries of disciplines, projects, universities, institutions, and departments. As a result, we will contribute to the creation of new wisdom and the realization of innovation through the circulation of diverse intellects inside and outside the university. In addition, we will foster human resources capable of conducting cutting-edge research by utilizing various types of collaboration in a comprehensive and integrated approach in a diverse variety of co-creative fields. In addition, we will promote greater cooperation with large research facilities and universities at home and abroad in improving basic research on photon science and establishing technological foundation. At the same time, in cooperation with domestic networks of photon science, we aim to become an international hub for playing a key role in promoting integrated research on photon science. Furthermore, we will develop world-class young researchers by using this division as the most suitable place for interdisciplinary human resource development to nurture a broader research perspective of photon science.


Global History Division

Director : Shigeru AKITA (Graduate School of Letters, Professor)

In this division, world history researchers at Osaka University gather to share their research results with the world and promote personal exchange by holding research seminars, workshops, international conferences with international researchers in attendance, as a core of international network of global history research and a hub of research and education in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Global History Research group in the Graduate School of Letters, whose establishment was approved in 2014, will play a leading role in strengthening the education and research network. Global history research will lead not only to historical science, but also to various fields of study, such as Asia region studies including Japanology, international relations, cultural comparison, world-systems theory, and modern economics. As high level international communication abilities are required in these interdisciplinary fields, we will cultivate young researchers who can be active on an international stage beyond existing fields of study. In addition, as part of outreach activities, we collaborate with senior-high school teachers in history, in order to improve and renovate history-education at secondary education and at general education curriculum of universities.


Integrated Frontier Research for Medical Science Division

Director : Kohji NISHIDA (Graduate School of Medicine, Professor)

Osaka University has proven the clinical applicability of translational research using results obtained from basic research in Japan. During the progress of translational research, further clinical questions has been arising. To solve these questions, Integrated Frontier Research for Medical Science Division aims to promote reverse translational research by the collaboration of basic biomedical science and clinical medicine, and to create a new academic field.


Transdimensional Life Imaging Division

Director : Takeharu NAGAI (The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Professor)

Bioimaging research at both microscopic and macroscopic spatial scales has allowed us to make many significant discoveries at each level. However between microscopic single cell imaging and macroscopic population or organism imaging there is a vast scale gap: the number of cells can differ by a factor of 103-106, leading to discrepancies in the findings between the two length scales. To take the next major steps in life science research fields such as medicine, pharmacology and agriculture as well as biology, it is essential to fill in this gap by solving the paradox between microscopic and macroscopic levels to gain a comprehensive understanding of biological phenomena. As such, this gap between length scales is a vital frontier for the life sciences, and therefore trans-scale imaging technology to measure and analyse hierarchies across the levels has long been hoped for. In the Transdimensional Life Imaging Division, we integrate in an organized manner various cutting-edge and state-of-the-art technologies that Osaka University provides. These include single-molecule fluorescence imaging, whole tissue cells imaging, fluorescent and chemiluminescent probe technology, image analysis, and big data analysis. With synergistic integration of these technologies we aim to establish a unique bio-imaging device that will allow us to “see the forest for the trees” within the same sample. Moreover, we wish to widely share this device in order to encourage research that contributes to the promotion of healthy and longevity society.


Industrial Biotechnology Initiative Division

Director : Eiichiro FUKUSAKI (Graduate School of Engineering, Professor)

This research department focuses on "food", which is the source of life, and "biological production", which protects life. Regarding "food," food metabolomics and plant genome editing are core competencies, ensuring "safety and security," reducing food loss, and the science of "deliciousness," which is the basis of food technology in the 21st century. For "bioproduction," we will develop practical technologies for the production of biopharmaceuticals such as antibodies, vaccines, and iPS cell production, in addition to further advances in the production of useful products by microorganisms. Our research division promotes the purpose of the SDGs while being environmentally friendly. In addition, we would like to deepen cooperation with industry, further develop a strong international exchange network centered on Southeast Asia, and train young researchers in industrial biotechnology.


Innovative Catalysis Science Division

Director : Mamoru TOBISU (Graduate School of Engineering, Professor)

Catalysis science is, by its nature, an interdisciplinary academic field covering chemistry, physics and biology. Toward the future, catalysis science is expanding to cover an even wider range of emerging subjects, encompassing quantum chemistry and data science for precise catalyst design or mechanistic analysis. A seamless collaboration with material sciences is also essential to accelerate the development of new materials by using newly developed catalysts. The Innovative Catalysis Science Division brings together leading experts not only in catalysis science but in theoretical, data and materials sciences from across Osaka University to promote cutting-edge research in this area.


Research Division for Future Society that Values Life with a focus on “New Disaster Prevention”

Director : Takuo DOME ( Social Solution Initiative, Professor)

The research department regards countermeasures against disasters as a turning point for reorganizing the social, economic, and spatial structures of distressed cities and regions. Such measures are crucial for creating suitable living environments for the current and future challenges of disasters. This department aims to establish an interdisciplinary research program for "new disaster prevention" and also instigate practices that support the realization of a future society that values life.
This program is underpinned by the concept of the “World of Life” which constitutes an interconnected society of nurtured, bonded and protected lives created by coordinating and integrating four conceptually defined layers: Nature and ecosystem", "the Physical", "Social relations", and "the Mental" worlds. In reality, the socio-spatial systems within which these layers are constructed became huge and rigid following the Second World War. However, the relationships among these layers have become divided. For this research program, we contend that the conception and engagement with “real world”—consisting of nature and ecosystem, physical, social relations and the mental worlds— from the perspective of new disaster prevention needs to be critically questioned and reorganized through action research. The program also attempts to bridge the gaps between these layers by forming a “virtual world” between the mental and the “real world”.


DX Society Research Division

Director : Masayuki MURATA ( Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Professor)

The DX Society Research Division promotes the following activities in order to make the use of advanced information technology ubiquitous in all fields and to penetrate and develop DX in industrial and economic society as well as in our daily lives.
1) To form a group of researchers whose main research field is information science and technology at Osaka University, and to establish a new academic field of information science.
2) To make our division a platform for the further development of academic exchange among researchers in fields related to information science and technology, and to promote interdisciplinary research aimed at solving social issues using information technology.
3) To strengthen Osaka University's research capabilities based on information science and technology with the aim of creating new industries.


Spintronics Research Network Division

Director : Kohei HAMAYA ( Graduate School of Engineering Science, Professor)

In this division, we explore the potential of materials properties with the electron “spin” degree of freedom to the ultimate level. By cultivating excellent human resources for pioneering novel theories and application developments beyond the conventional spintronics field, we create new innovations to solve several social issues. We strengthen unique collaboration through spintronics interdisciplinary research network and develop it into the center for global academic research and industry-academia collaborative research based on the innovation.


Life and Medical Photonics Division

Director : Katsumasa FUJITA ( Graduate School of Engineering, Professor)

The Division of Life and Medical Photonics conducts interdisciplinary research into the development of healthcare technologies, precision medicine, and environmentally friendly food production, focusing on photonics and sensing that enable measurement, analysis, and processing over a wide dynamic range from molecules and proteins to cells and living tissue. We will also provide photonics measurement technology that will revolutionize basic science in biology and medicine, creating a new research field called "life and medical photonics". Through these activities, we will build a photonics innovation hub where industry, academia, and government co-create, continue to develop key technologies, and provide a platform to contribute the society by realizing the next generation of medicine, clinical treatment, drug discovery, and healthcare.


RNA Frontier Science Division

Director : Tetsuro HIROSE ( Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Professor)

RNA is an essential biomolecule underpinning a broad range of life phenomena, from the origin of life to the brain function. In the history, new discoveries of RNA functions have revolutionized the life sciences, which has been continuing up through today. Recently, great attention has been paid to pharmaceutical research targeting such diverse functions of RNA, as well as those utilizing RNA functions that has been put to practical use as COVID19 vaccines. The Division of RNA Frontier Science brings together RNA researchers from various departments of Osaka University in the fields of nucleic acid chemistry, basic biology, medicine, and pharmaceutical sciences, and conducts cutting-edge interdisciplinary research to create new basic knowledge and co-create multifaceted RNA drug discovery through industry-academia collaboration. In addition, we will foster young researchers who will lead the next generation and promote the original and innovative RNA frontier science research.


Life-omics Research Division

Director : Masaru ISHII ( Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Professor)

The goal of the Osaka LiCHT is to comprehend the diversity of biologicalsystems amongst human bodies through cutting-edge technologies thatcapture key physical states. The key differentiator of LiCHT is that we will establish strategies to holistically study individual traits developed in response to life events, which cannot be uncovered using traditional genetic or epigenetic approaches. We establish a novel cross-disciplinary research field "Life-omics", which integrates data from various technologies that are both untargeted and unbiased longitudinally across lifespan in a holistic manner. This center will provide fertile ground to spark groundbreaking ideas that will advance life-omics science and ultimately lead to societies that can effectively respond to global health challenges.
Nikon Imaging Center, an international collaboration hub for promoting live imaging sciences, is installed within this division.


ICT Innovation Center for Human-centric Living Design (i-CHiLD)

Director : Shinji SHIMOJO (Cybermedia Center, Professor)

i-CHiLD: ICT Innovation Center for Human-centric Living Design was established in July 2017 as a place for industry–academic co-creation. The center focuses on “human living space,” which is one of the elements in the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan “Super Smart Society” (Society 5.0) promoted by the Japanese government. It aims to build a human-centered society where everyone can live a comfortable, vibrant, and high-quality life while being connected with the IoT.

What kinds of industry–academic co-creation are done at this center?

To create new global innovations, we have combined the knowledge of advanced information science fields at Osaka University with a wide range of know-how from air conditioning technology and industrial technology possessed by Daikin Industries and established the “Daikin Information Science Research Unit (Di-CHiLD).” Air conditioning should be an area where new value can be created for individuals and industries by fusing with AI and IoT, which have developed dramatically in recent years. In this research unit, researchers at Osaka University and engineers from Daikin Industries focus on practical use of research results centered on the theme of “comfort, productivity, energy efficiency, safety, and contribution to the environment” in the living space and its related industry. These research results are scheduled to be implemented in our Minoh New Campus, which will open in Minoh Senba Handai Mae in 2021.

Another role of i-CHiLD is to co-create the future through collaborative activities with many companies focused on the theme of “space where people live in wellness.” We expect a profound industrial participation. Additionally, this center provides the AI Human Resource Development Program as an education initiative for social workers, which aligns the recent popularity of ICT and AI. We hope that these efforts will lead to a paradigm shift in the research style across all industrial sectors. Please contact us if you are interested in AI-experts training.


Symbiotic Intelligent Systems Research Center(SISReC)

Director : Hiroshi ISHIGURO (Graduate School of Engineering Science, Professor)

The Symbiotic Intelli-gent Systems Research Center, purports to build a future robot society, which is expected to come after the current infor-mation society, and in which human beings and robots live together. For this purpose, the Center will conduct fundamental research across multiple disciplines including intelligent robotics, cognitive science, etc., as is shown in the figure above. Japan has significant technological and cultural advantages over other countries in robot research and development. By establishing the Center in Japan, we will lead the world in new interdisciplinary fields concerning intelligent robots and human beings.
The mission of the Center is to develop a society in which human beings and robots live together. The Center will realize this mission in the following way: by developing new intelligent systems (including intelligent robots) as means to study macro-level properties of human beings and their societies, and more concretely, to conduct social-experimental studies for pursuing fundamental problems of human beings, such as intelligence, embodiment, multi-modal synthesis, intention/desire, consciousness, social relationships, etc.


Co-Creative Incubation Center

Director : Tsuyoshi SEKITANI (SANKEN, Professor)

The Co-Creative Incubation Center aims to solve diverse social issues facing Japan and the world and co-create a future society in collaboration with a wide range of members. These include Osaka University researchers from the humanities and science fields, joint researchers from other universities, Japanese government and local government officials, and partners within the business and industrial sectors. We are also dedicated to strengthening research capabilities and nurturing young researchers. Subsequently, we will share the cutting-edge research outcomes and scientific technology accumulated at Osaka University with society in an interdisciplinary manner.


BIKEN Innovative Vaccine Research Alliance Laboratories

Director : Takeshi KOBAYASHI (Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Professor)

There are several infectious diseases that pose a serious threat to the human population, for which no effective treatment or preventive therapy are available. In recent years, Influenza virus and Ebola virus outbreaks, in addition to the current COVID-19 pandemic, have demonstrated the ferocity with which viruses can spread worldwide, in a very short period of time. It is thus clear, that there is an urgent need to develop vaccines to protect ourselves from these arising menaces.

In response to this demand, the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (BIKEN) has established a new research organization, called “The BIKEN Innovative Vaccine Research Alliance Laboratories”, to promote a multi-disciplinary and cooperative working environment, aiming to develop new technologies that will pave the way for the design of next-generation vaccines with the “all-made-in-Japan” prestige.