What is an Environmental Innovator (EI)?
The term “Environmental Innovator” very broadly describes a person who tackles environmental issues using the tools of business and economics.
So-called “Environmental” issues are typically viewed as problems to be solved solely through government policy, with the occasional nudge from motivated private organizations or citizen groups. The track record of that approach so far is mixed, and truly sustainable initiatives have proved difficult to establish and maintain. An Environmental Innovator works to overcome that trend, uses market mechanisms to carry out environmental policies, builds a career with the environment at its heart, and/or develops a sustainable company/community/society while taking on real environmental problems.
What is the definition of “Environment” in the Environmental Innovators program?
In general we use the term to mean the natural or scientific environment, which is quantifiable. Because the program brings together several fields of study the term necessarily encompasses social and cultural aspects, and includes ecological, urban, and global perspectives.
What are the main features of the Environmental Innovators Program?
The Environmental Innovators Program is one of a handful of graduate schools worldwide that is devoted to mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its effects. Its main features include:
1) theory AND practice – The program requires students to learn both in the classroom and in the field. Fieldwork ensures that practical experience supports and extends the knowledge gained through the study of theory, and vice versa.
2) Multi-disciplinary Integration - Professors and students excel in their fields of specialisation but are also comfortable working in the margins where fields overlap.
3) Project-based learning - Taking advantage of the multi-disciplinary environment, students are able to undertake multiple project-based courses under the guidance of staff from different fields. Alternatively, students are also free to focus on a single subject and devote their efforts to studying it in depth.
4 ) ICT - SFC is a leader in the application of information technology. Students can participate in classes and research seminars either face-to-face or remotely, allowing working professionals to effectively manage their curriculum, and for students working in the field to connect to colleagues and instructors from a distance.
What topics are taught in the Environmental Innovators Program?
The overarching themes covered by the program are mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its effects. Emphasis is on Asia and Africa, both areas of the world where the challenges are expected to be most pronounced.
Because the school is multi-disciplinary the topics covered are quite broad, and attack the central issues from many directions. Possible areas of study include:
Architecture and urban design (Environmental Design)
Environmental Policy and Planning (GIS, remote sensing, statistical data analysis)
Environmental Business (Low Carbon society)
Social Entrepreneurship (business model planning, social innovation)
What is the Environmental Innovators Program Certificate ?
A Certificate is awarded to students who earn the required number of credits (currently 34). It signifies achievement in the field of climate change research, and is intended to highlight that accomplishment. For students from outside Japan it is also a very useful document that can be used by institutions to assess the level of expertise that a student achieved while in Japan.
When do we receive the Certificate?
In order to receive the Certificate, it is necessary to fulfil the requirements of the Graduate School of Media and Governance. Therefore, the Certificate is issued upon completion of the Program.
What types of careers are expected for students after the completion of the course?
In consideration of the kinds of problems that will be faced as the effects of climate change accumulate, we expect our graduates will find opportunity in a broad spectrum of organisations including: government agencies, think tanks, private companies NPO’s, architectural offices, environmental consultancies, business consultancies, and so forth.
What is the difference between the Environmental Innovators Program and the Environmental Innovators Course?
Despite the slight difference in their names, what they intend to achieve is equivalent. The Environmental Innovators Program is a generic term for a human resources development program at Keio University, as part of the “Strategic Program for Fostering Environmental Leaders” project. Within this human resource development project, the Environmental Innovators Course was established in order to foster professional talents in the Graduate School of Media and Governance.
How does the Environmental Innovators Program relate to other existing programs (e.g. Environmental Design and Governance) at SFC?
The Environmental Innovator Program is primarily composed of existing programs within the Graduate School of Media and Governance and Environmental Design and Governance. Faculty members from the Human Security and Communications program (HC), the Policy Making and Social Innovation Program (PS) and the ICT Advanced Collaboration Course (ICT) are also participating as faculty in the Environmental Innovators Program. Consequently students enrolled in the Environmental Innovators Program may take lectures from other programs within SFC.
Why should I join the Environmental Innovators Program?
The major advantage of taking the Environmental Innovators Program is the opportunity to take part in a curriculum that is leading the field in research devoted to mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Further, because the program is project-based and built on compulsory internships and fieldwork students have the opportunity to take real action where it matters. Students will not only acquire basic knowledge about the environment in the classroom but also participate in socially relevant practices in parallel.
The Environmental Innovators Program is a project subsidised by the federal Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). This gives the program credibility on the national stage, and also opens the possibility for students to receive financial support for fieldwork (undertaken in Asia and Africa) and to give presentations and lectures at international conferences.
Are there any disadvantages to joining the Environmental Innovators Program?
In the Environmental Innovators Program, it is necessary to earn 34 credits in order to receive the Certificate. This is 4 credits more than what is required to earn a Master’s degree in the Graduate School of Media and Governance, which may be regarded as a disadvantage. Those 4 credits account for internships and fieldwork.
What kinds of students are expected to apply to the program?
The program is actively recruiting students who are passionate about climate change research and who are interested in combining classroom education with fieldwork.
The Environmental Innovators Program is focused on research related to climate change mitigation and adaptation to the effects of climate change. Beneath those large themes there is room for a very broad group of interests and topics for study. In particular we encourage students to apply to the program who are interested in Environmental Policy, Environmental Design, Environmental Business, Social Entrepreneurship, and Local Development.
Topics of study that might be interesting for applicants include “Global Environment”, “Climate Changes”, “Urban City”, “Farming Villages”, “Local Areas”, “Development”, “Disaster Prevention”, “Low-Carbon Society”, “Ecology”, “Eco System”, “Mitigation”, “Adaptation”, “Environmental Business”, “Environmental Management”, “Environmental Education”, “Environmental Policy”, “Sustainable Development”, “Environmental Design”, “Architectural Design”, “GIS”, “Remote Sensing”, “Urban Planning”, “Environmental Planning”, “Growth of Developing Countries”, “Environmental Preservation”, “Resource Use”, “Recycling”, “Energy”, “Green Innovation”, etc.
Is it possible to enter the Environmental Innovators Program if I did not study environmental subjects in my undergrad education?
Yes it is possible to be accepted into the program without previous education in fields directly related to the environment. However it is important to be aware that the application process requires a research plan and has other requirements that might be difficult to satisfy without some related work experience or deeper knowledge acquired outside of your formal education.
Each applicant in this situation will be different, and we recommend contacting the secretariat of the program or a member of the faculty for further guidance.
I do not speak at the native level in English – Is that OK?
In principle, the Environmental Innovators Program is provided in English. However we are able to give some consideration to those who do not have complete fluency in the language. Course materials, including assignments will be prepared both in Japanese and English. Instead of focusing only on English skills, what we strongly emphasise in the Program is the collaboration and support among students from different countries and the quality of the work that students produce.
How should I prepare a research plan at the time of the application?
A research plan should concretely and concisely explain past research themes and results, as well as the research theme that will be developed while a student in the program.
The research plan should describe your objectives, methods, expected results and implications of the work. If you expect to need special research tools or facilities these should also be mentioned.
The following forms are available as guidelines, although their use is not mandatory:
Form 1: http://ao.sfc.keio.ac.jp/ResearchPlan-form1.pdf
Form 2: http://ao.sfc.keio.ac.jp/ResearchPlan-form2.pdf
Is there a recommended research theme?
The Environmental Innovators Program promotes the following research themes:
1) Business models and designs for creation of a Low-Carbon society
2) Climate change mitigation/adaptation planning and policy in Asia and Africa
3) Research and development of early warning systems that monitor, evaluate, and forecast disasters that arise as a result of climate change.
4) Business proposals to create a green and fair society, and training for project delivery
5) The design, renewal, and application of resilient cities, communities and buildings
Research themes are not limited to the ones listed above. To the contrary we are very receptive to original and creative ideas and proposals.
Does research have to be focused on areas outside of Japan?
The Environmental Innovators Program focuses primarily on climate change in Asia and Africa. Naturally Japan fits within this scope and research conducted within the country and overseas is equally encouraged.
Is it possible to contact a member of the faculty prior to sending in the application?
Applicants may contact the members of Graduate School of Media and Governance Committee prior to sending in their application. Inquiries can be made through the following web-based faculty contact form:
Graduate School of Media and Governance: Faculty Contact Form
Please be sure to compose your questions clearly, and send queries to a faculty member who has an affinity to your research.
Is it possible to take courses while working?
We provide a learning environment for working professionals, such as e-courses and research seminars via our Web Conference system. There is no difference in terms of registration between regular students and working professionals and the same amount of assignments are given to all. The workload may be difficult to manage but there are no impediments from the perspective of the university to working and studying at the same time.
Are scholarships available for Japanese students?
Yes. For details, contact the Student Life administrator. An explanation is also given at the time of admission.
For existing scholarships for foreign students refer to the following: Student Aid + Scholarships
Do note, the timing of applications differs for each scholarship. Also, be aware that in almost all case where scholarships require an application before travelling to Japan, the applicants must be accepted first to the Graduate School of Media and Governance before they can apply for the scholarship. The Monbusho (MEXT) Scholarship is an exception to this rule. Please be sure to check on the conditions and requirements for each scholarship before applying as they can differ substantially.
There are a number of scholarships that can be applied to after admission to the program. For further details, please look into the Scholarship information website at the International Centre. Keio University scholarship information (http://www.ic.keio.ac.jp/en/life/scholarship/intl_student.html)
Is housing available?
Keio University has student dormitories close to the Hiyoshi campus (an area in the city of Yokohama) as well as in Tokyo, however they are slightly far from the SFC campus and may be inconvenient in reality. More information can be found here: Keio University housing information (http://www.ic.keio.ac.jp/en/life/housing/ryu_boshu.html)
What is the best area for the students to live?
Many students find an apartment around Shonandai Station which is the nearest train station to the SFC campus, or alternatively in areas along the Odakyu Railway Line, Yokohama Municipal Subway Line or the “Sotetsu” Sagami Railway Line.