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News Releases 2007
Tie-up with Waseda University in a project for support and growth of students in the field of next-generation web technology
March 6, 2007
ITOCHU Corporation and School of Science and Engineering Waseda University (located in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; Shuji Hashimoto, Dean; hereinafter referred to as Waseda University) have concluded an agreement for a tie-up in the field of next-generation web technology. The object of the tie-up is joint promotion of activities for the support and growth of students aspiring to the development and commercialization of innovative ideas and technologies in this field.
As evidenced by the Web 2.0 movement, efforts to expand the market for web business are gathering momentum. Many companies that are associated with Web 2.0 and getting high ratings are searching for new business seeds and means of advantage in more innovative and unique technologies and ideas. The point is to heighten customer satisfaction by ongoing provision of new services while upgrading versions in short cycles.
Under these circumstances, attempts to increase Japan's international competitiveness in the Internet industry, which has extremely low transborder barriers, will depend on the activities of young engineers, creators, and entrepreneurs who conceive of and develop innovative and unique technologies and ideas.
The aim of this project of industrial-academic collaboration is the unearthing and development of talent for these next-generation tasks. To this end, it will give students opportunities for proposal of web services deriving from their own free conception. It will also provide arrangements for feasibility studies (FS) encompassing actual program development for the most promising proposals, and thereby assist preparations for their realization and future commercialization.
Objectives and roles
In September 2006, ITOCHU Corporation organized the ITOCHU Web Technology Labs (T Labs), a technical corps devoted to the Web 2.0 transition of e-business in the ITOCHU Group and development of new web business. We are aiming for the creation of business grounded in technical capabilities that is not bound by conventional trading firm thinking.
Through this tie-up, we intend to search for the seeds of next-generation web business through interaction with the very front lines of technical research and development in a university. We would also like to lay the foundation for venture investment in futuristic technology by constructing a network with links to talented students who want to go into business.
This project will furnish aid in the financial aspect for FS and provide support mainly in the business aspect through advice backed by our reservoir of service and business development know-how accumulated to date. After the conclusion of FS, we will consider the prospects for commercialization together with the students, depending on the findings. Furthermore, we plan to invite students who have made outstanding achievements to tour Silicon Valley in the United States, the site of leading-edge business in the field of web technology.
Through this project, Waseda University is going to pursue practical education in the field of Internet-related technology. It intends to generate university-born technical ventures along the lines of Utagoe Ltd., which concluded a capital and business tie-up with ITOCHU in January 2007, and thereby help to stimulate the development of advanced technology and venture business in Japan.
This project will be led by Youichi Muraoka, Professor of School of Science and Engineering Waseda University. Waseda University is going to establish and run a project secretariat on the campus. The secretariat will offer technical advice and support by external mentors selected by Prof. Muraoka and other faculty members.
3. Outline of the Fund
The project will call for proposals from students, provide an environment enabling FS for the most promising ones, offer support in both the technical and business aspects, and aim for eventual commercialization of the proposals.
The theme is development of next-generation web services (or applications capable of incorporation into such services) based on innovative advanced technologies and ideas.
The project will be open to students (undergraduate or graduate, individuals or groups) enrolled in the School of Science and Engineering Waseda University, and majoring in computer network engineering or information networks.
|Start of acceptance of proposals on campus
Screening by a steering committee
* The steering committee will be composed of representatives of Waseda University and ITOCHU Corporation, and external mentors.
End of April 2007
|Determination of proposals deserving FS|
|Start of FS|
|Interim FS report|
|Final FS report|
April 2008 –
|Examination of the option of commercialization
(depending on the findings)
Invitation to students who have made outstanding achievements to tour Silicon Valley