Bulletin of Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology
  kyurizukai interview  
05 Citterio, Daniel 2 Japan has a favorable environment for researchers

      I had long enjoyed a life steeped in unrestricted research activities, conducting experiments at university labs and writing theses. But the moment I joined the company, such lifestyle was lost, which caused me to entertain anxiety about my future. I thought I was a researcher type after all.
      The fact is, at that time I was not so serious about returning to Japan. But there were two factors underlying my decision to revisit Japan. Firstly, I could communicate in Japanese by that time, which made me feel that I would have much less difficulty in staying in Japan again. Secondly, I had good impressions of the four and a half years at Keio during my previous visit. In the meantime, Professor Suzuki was kind enough to invite me to participate in a new project. I thus came back to Keio University’s Faculty of Science and Technology in 2006 as a non-tenured associate professor. From the academic year 2009, I became a full-time associate professor.
      At that time I was surprised to see many more overseas students on the campus than before. It must be an indication of progressive advance in internationalization.
      From 2007 on I focused on research into paper-based chips using the inkjet printer. I think Keio is complete with a superb environment for researchers.

You mean it’s a favorable environment for researchers?
      When we propose a research project and it is accepted, the university offers an adequate support environment and we can proceed with the project almost unrestrictedly. This is a great merit.
      Things seem to be changing a bit these days. Even so, I think Japan still offers an environment in which research budgets are available relatively easily. I also notice strong bonds existing among researchers like Professor Suzuki. They all value mutual human connections, which is good. For example, even when you want to know about something that is outside of your own specialty field, you can consult a specialist of that particular field through a network – a great environment.
      On the other hand, Japanese students are now undergoing difficulties in finding employment due mainly to the continued recession. There are quite a few students who wish to study overseas but are forced to give up, giving priority to finding employment. It’s a very regretful situation.

photoRecently we hear that students in general are becoming backward-looking when it comes to studying overseas. What do you think?
      In my view, they actually have motivations and opportunities for studying overseas. But the prevailing trend today is that they are anxious about securing employment as soon as possible. Meanwhile, there are those students who have changed their priority to studying overseas, the opportunity being exposure to the outside world by participation in international academic conferences. To study abroad, they of course need to jump over the hurdles of English language ability. I’d like to see more and more students gain self-confidence by attending international conferences and so on. Speaking of my own experience, I had hard time to learn Japanese but successfully learned Japanese technical terminology by positively attending technical seminars and academic society meetings. I’d advise them to avail themselves of such opportunities. Therefore, I am offering a lecture series where students can practice presentations in English, similar to an international scientific meeting.



1 Coming to Japan to broaden my horizons in life
2 Japan has a favorable environment for researchers
3 Why did I choose to become a researcher?
Profile Citterio, Daniel By creating and combining functional materials (dyes, polymers, etc.), his research work focuses on the development of (bio) chemical sensors for application in industrial, medical, and environmental analysis. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, he graduated from the Department of Chemistry of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) in 1992 and obtained his Doctor degree from the same school in 1998. After postdoctoral research at Keio University, he became a research associate at ETHZ. Through postgraduate studies, he obtained a Masters degree in Intellectual Property and joined a Swiss chemical manufacturer as a patent attorney. In 2006, he returned to Keio University, were he became a tenured Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Chemistry in 2009.

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