The 21st century requires not just “technical innovation,” but a deepened understanding of the very nature of “human beings”, and demands the creation of values that better reflect user needs to provide greater satisfaction. Kyushu University opened the User Science Institute (USI)* under the FY2004 Strategic Research Center Development Program of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), financed by MEXT’s Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology. As an institute that seeks to combine user oriented technologies with kansei to better address user needs, the USI focuses on kansei as a means to deepen understanding of human beings and to enhance human skills, and is now working on the reorganization of knowledge in academic fields ranging extensively from the humanities and social science to science and technology.
At the USI, “users” are defined as individuals, groups and organizations who use the knowledge of natural science, social science, and humanities, and who benefit from this knowledge. In accordance with this definition, the USI is conducting research to help provide better lives for users by combining technologies and kansei from user viewpoints, thereby adding a new dimension to existing knowledge and creating new values focusing on human kansei needs.
It is hoped that the achievements arising from these research activities will be incorporated in the educational curriculum, and that mutually stimulating and beneficial relationships will be fostered between the university and society, as well as between academic researchers and industry. To this end, Kyushu University is going to open the Department of Kansei Science in the Graduate School of Integrated Frontier Sciences in April 2009, to encourage the integration of knowledge from a wide range of academic fields in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, including engineering, design, human “environmentology”, psychology, and medicine.
As an educational and research hub that uses the consolidated strengths of the newly integrated Kyushu University and the Kyushu Institute of Design, the Department of Kansei Science in the Graduate School of Integrated Frontier Sciences is the very embodiment of the evolution of new Kyushu University that continues to expand the horizons of knowledge.