The 7th Presidents’ Conference of German–Japanese university alliance HeKKSaGOn was held in Heidelberg University on 12 and 13 September. The first phase of HeKKSaGOn ended at the last presidents’ conference at Osaka University in 2018. It now enters into its second phase. This is the second time Heidelberg University is hosting this event since the first conference in 2010.
Kyoto University European Center is functioning as the liaison office for HeKKSaGOn since its establishment. It plays an important role by bringing together coordinators and vice presidents to prepare for events like presidents’ conference.
At the 7th Presidents’ Conference of German–Japanese presidents and vice-president, researchers, students and staff members from six universities got together to discuss the achievements and future of the network.
Apart from the closed presidents meeting, researchers and students gathered in working group meetings and workshops composed of students as well. In working group meetings, researchers from various fields presented and discussed their projects. Meanwhile, students participated in a workshop discussing how HeKKSaGOn can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support young researchers.
After these parallel sessions, representatives of each working group and students introduced their achievements and visions to all HeKKSaGOn members and in front of the presidents and vice-presidents. The conference was concluded by Rector Eitel from Heidelberg University promulgating the HeKKSaGOn Joint Statement composed by the presidents from the six universities. Its key points are the inclusion of SDGs into future projects and the focus on well-defined priority areas. It also addresses the responsibility of science towards society and the next generation of researchers. The HeKKSaGOn Joint Statement signature ceremony concluded the 7th HeKKSaGOn President’s meeting.
The next HeKKSaGOn Presidents’ Conference will be held at Tohoku University in 2021. Kyoto University European Center has a mission to fulfil by connecting Germany and Japan in the second phase of HeKKSaGOn.