In collaboration with the University of Melbourne (Australia), L-INSIGHT held the meeting series “Challenge for Serendipity” in a virtual space using XR technology. Discussions took place between sixteen Australian and Japanese researchers, with six L-INSIGHT fellows each inviting individuals from the University of Melbourne whom they wished to meet. L-INSIGHT’s fellows were as follows: Assistant Professor Isobe Masanori (psychiatry), Assistant Professor Gomi Ryota (genomic microbiology and environmental engineering), Associate Professor Takahashi Yusuke (educational psychology, developmental psychology, and behavioral genetics), Assistant Professor Tanaka Tomohiro (civil engineering and hydrology), Assistant Professor Nakano Genta (Disaster Psychology), and Program-specific Assistant Professor Fujii Toshihiro (astrophysics and astroparticle physics). (Please see the details page for information on participating researchers from the University of Melbourne.)
Participants gathered in a virtual space that resembled the Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall. At the beginning, Justin Zobel, University of Melbourne Graduate and International Research Pro Vice-Chancellor, expressed his hope for the continuation of international exchange between researchers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Then, L-INSIGHT Program Manager Yoshikawa Minako offered welcoming remarks. The moderator was L-INSIGHT Program-specific Associate Professor Nakano Asa.
In the first half, all researchers pitched their research in front of posters, and then each moved to individual rooms displaying materials related to their research and “cross-talked” with people from various disciplines. In the second half, the researchers from the two universities who were matched in the first half divided into two or more person groups of their choosing and discussed research interests, as well as issues faced as researchers, while referring to the posted materials.
As these universities’ first attempt at academic exchange using avatars in a virtual space, from the preparatory stage, researchers and others involved from these two institutions developed a cooperative relationship, working together on connection and operation methods. In the cross-talk session, participants enjoyed themselves while opening the door to concrete and sustainable collaborations. In some cases, this led to L-INSIGHT fellows planning to work with a different researcher than the one they had invited.
We would like to thank Mark Gregory and Maria Roitman, University of Melbourne International Research Project Officers, for their efforts to make this program possible while being unable to access their campus due to the pandemic.
L-INSIGHT will continue to provide opportunities that support the international activities and new endeavors of early career researchers.
Cooperation: Microsoft Project Users Forum, HunsLab.inc, United Japanese Researchers Around the World