About Us

Message from the Director

The Okayama University Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) is one of the research institutes and centers (99) affiliated with the National Universities in Japan. Its research facilities consist of several research buildings and research fields (1.5 ha) in Kurashiki Campus. In brief, IPSR centers its activities on education and research in plant science. As for our educational goals, we are contributing to “Plant Stress Science” course in the Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science. Accordingly, Master’s and Doctoral degrees are annually awarded to students that reside at IPSR. As for our research, IPSR promotes the use of plant genetic resources and it develops basic knowledge for better understanding of plant stress responses. Since 2010, we act as nationwide Joint Use/Joint Research Center to provide support to broad research community in the designated fields of genetic resources and plant stress responses. Practically, we offer various tangible resources to researchers, improved research environment, such as our experimental field and research buildings, or established Kurashiki Guest House as a new convenient accommodation facility on Kurashiki campus. More than 500 collaboration projects have been supported so far, contributing to progress in plant science, not only in Japan.

In this century, the negative effects on the global environment, brought about by human activities, become exceedingly apparent. It is expected that various environmental problems will further accelerate by the middle of this century. In particular, food security under deteriorating environmental conditions, caused by global warming, represents one of the most serious concerns, especially when projected on trends of the rapidly increasing world population. The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) were proposed at the United Nations Summit, recognizing that it is necessary to urgently resolve these issues, as a problem of humankind, in order to build a foundation for sustainable society. It is no wonder that plant science should play a major role in this process. Accordingly, we aim at IPSR to accelerate basic knowledge of plant stress responses, throughout efficient utilization and expansion of genetic resources. We believe that our mission in the accomplishment of SDGs has become a very significant one.

It is thought that science and technology enters a time of significant change, as the social situation changes. In this century, breakthroughs in data science and communication technology have truly changed our lives, and will continue to change it even more in the future. Without exception, data analysis using latest mathematical and statistical methods, and artificial intelligence, are expected to accelerate social implementations of accumulated knowledge. In life science, invention of genome editing technology, recognized by the Nobel Prize in 2020, has enabled functional modifications of arbitrary genes in many living forms. Furthermore, nanotechnology and nanomaterials, while enabling development of new analytical methods and approached, are expected to scale up the social impacts in plant science.

When Magosaburo Ohara founded Ohara Agricultural Research Institute, now IPSR, about 100 years ago, he envisaged that this institute should unite “deep scientific research” and “practical applications of scientific inventions”. I think it is now time to honor this visionary view on promotion of agriculture, through practical implementations of our basic research. Therefore, apart from carrying out basic research on daily basis, we should be now much more aware of social implementations of such acquired scientific knowledge. Of course, it is not as easy as it may sound. It requires constant search for novel methods and technologies, smart development of human resources, and collaboration with organizations and industries that connect research with society. It means a long-term effort, cooperation of Plant Science Research Community as a whole, and fully opened minds for research-industry collaborations.

As for us at IPSR, we are strongly committed to undertake these challenges; as mentioned above – throughout development of human resources, extensive collaborations, and implementation of modern education.

Director Takashi Hirayama

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