On 24 April, the Primate Research Institute, the Interdisciplinary Unit for African Studies, and the Kyoto University Research Administration Office (KURA) jointly hosted a National Geographic Grants Seminar at Inamori Center, with over 50 students and researchers attending from the University and elsewhere.
Over the past 130 years, the National Geographic Society (NGS) has provided some 13,000 grants to researchers, conservationists, explorers, and others around the world.
The 24 April seminar featured two presentations related to grants intended for Asian researchers and students. One was delivered by Jay Lee, executive director of the National Geographic Society Asia, and the other by Yukinori Kawae, a research fellow at the Research Center for Cultural Heritage and Text, a part of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Letters. Dr Kawae was a 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer.
Executive Director Lee presented an overview of NGS grant programs, describing their purpose as supporting researchers who have a bold idea for making a difference, ranging from doctoral students to professors. He added that for grantees in their early careers, NGS provides step-by-step assistance so as to promote their long-term professional development.
Dr Kawae followed with a talk on “Analyzing Egyptian Pyramids in the Digital Age”. The researcher, featured multiple times in the Japanese television show Discovery of the World’s Mysteries, described findings from the advanced image analysis he had performed on pyramids in cooperation with program staff.
The event closed with remarks from KyotoU President Juichi Yamagiwa, who noted that NGS and Kyoto University share a focus on “exploration”. He explained that the year 2018 marks the 60th anniversary of some of the exploration milestones achieved by KyotoU researchers, such as conquering Chogolisa, Karakoram, and leading the first Japanese research expedition to Africa. It is through these and numerous other expeditions, he said, that the University has built its academic foundation, for which it has come to be known as an “exploration university”. Finally, as a researcher of gorillas, he shared his experiences of studying the apes’ biology under the late Dian Fossey, another recipient of NGS support.
KURA is committed to actively supporting KyotoU researchers with applications for National Geographic grant programs.