What is agricultural science? The Science Council of Japan defines agricultural science as follows:
“An epistemological or cognizing science aligned with designing sciences and at the same time an integrated science in the life science domain. It deals with food, commodities for living, life, and the environment with three objectives: (1) the search for, development, use, and conservation of bioresources; (2) the sophistication of infrastructure for production in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; and (3) the conservation and use of the multiple functions of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries” (Science Council of Japan, Daigaku Kyoiku no Bunyabetsu Shitsu Hosho no Tame no Kyoiku Katei Henseijo no Sansho Kijun: Nogaku Bunya [subject benchmark statement for designing and organizing curricula for quality assurance of university education: agricultural science], October 2015).
The point is that agricultural science is a designing science and an integrated science. In short, the former refers to a science oriented toward problem-solving. In other words, agricultural science aims to elucidate the roots of a number of challenges facing humanity, the public, ecosystems, communities, and individuals in the areas of food, life, and the environment and come up with what should be done about them. For this reason, agricultural science is always a practical science.
Making agricultural science an integrated science requires mobilizing the widest range of approaches offered by life sciences and social sciences for educational and research purposes. The integrated nature of agricultural science manifests itself, for example, in the sheer range of scale levels it focuses on – from genome to global.
With such education and research in agricultural science in mind, the Graduate School of Agriculture of Meiji University offers four programs centering on food, the environment, and living organisms. These are the Agricultural Chemistry Program, the Agriculture Program, the Agricultural Economics Program, and the Life Sciences Program. All these programs are designed to put agricultural science into solid practice as both a designing science and an integrated science.
The School boasts advanced research equipment that fully meets the needs of cutting-edge life science research. Our rich research infrastructure has been enhanced further recently to support our vigorous activities. In 2011, the School established the Advanced Plant Factory Research Center. In 2012, it opened the Kurokawa Field Science Center in a satoyama (village forest) setting as a facility designed to harmonize with the environment, nature, and community. The School also completed a new campus building fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
Taking advantage of such a favorable research environment, many of our students have taken the lead in preparing high-level academic papers and making conference presentations. This constitutes a source of pride and joy for us the faculty. We will continue to take every opportunity to introduce new facilities and technologies and further improve already excellent faculty members, thus contributing to society through our research activities.
The School also aims to train talent capable of implementing designing sciences and integrated sciences. With this in mind, the School offers a range of support for its students. These include the research associate program aimed at nurturing young researchers; the program for teaching assistants (TAs) and research assistants (RAs), which constitutes training for teachers and researchers; a system designed to assist students in reporting at international conferences, various types of scholarships; and a career support system designed to assist students in making decisions on career paths. The School is ready to take every opportunity to improve the enabling environment for our students so that they can lead a fulfilling graduate school life.
You are encouraged to conduct research in this fascinating science called agriculture at the Graduate School of Agriculture of Meiji University – which offers an excellent enabling environment for such research – to produce innovative research outcomes.
Dean, Graduate School of Agriculture