Stratford, East London — Inside Lee Valley VeloPark’s indoor velodrome staged the second annual Global Fellows Programme — a collaborative workshop for doctoral students between Tokyo Institute of Technology and Imperial College London. First year PhD student, Jerome Silla, from Yamaguchi-Takada Laboratory joined the program from June 10-14, 2019. Aligned to its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, the program’s theme this year was “Climate Action” after its successful culmination of last year’s event under the theme “No Poverty”.
The five-day workshop was held inside the velodrome which had been used for cycling competitions during the 2012 London Olympics. Ensuring that the legacy of the Olympics endures, the Global Fellows Programme aimed at honing the students’ leadership and collaboration skills in a competitive setting in order to come up with practical solutions that adhere to this year’s theme. A total of forty students with an equal number of representation from both universities participated under the mentorship of Professor Hironao Kaneko, Professor Takehiro Inohara and Professor Yuto Koizumi from Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Dr. Paul Seldom, Dr. Helal Ahmed, and Dr. Caroline Hargreaves from Imperial College London.
Days 1-2: As the students were grouped into five different teams, the first two days were comprised mainly of academic knowledge exchange and team building activities. Keynote talks relevant to the theme were given by various lecturers from Imperial College. Jerome Silla particularly finds that the presentation on the IPCC’s incoming Assessment Report by Dr. Joanna Portugal Pereira, a Senior Scientist at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is relevant to Yamaguchi-Takada laboratory’s specialization in the sustainable development field.
Day 3: Visits to various educational institutions were conducted such as:
- The Crystal, a museum that homes one of the world’s largest exhibition of sustainable cities of the future;
- Imperial College White City Campus where the participating students had a training on engaging the community with researchers and universities; and
- Imperial College South Kensington Campus that is surrounded by iconic cultural establishments in London such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute.
Day 4-5: The collaborative activities among students in the first few days were designed to come handy for the main event of the program on the last day — an accelerator project from each group to propose a solution that adheres to Climate Action. Jerome Silla’s background in disaster risk reduction was particularly useful in his group’s proposal of a resource database and management application during disaster events. This proposed cross-platform application called “Action Mapper” would have been designed to encourage public participation to provide help during disasters by allowing individual users to donate goods or services that are particularly needed during a specific disaster event.
Among many things, the Global Fellows Programme has taught Jerome Silla that the core in addressing global issues that are inherently complex is through a collaborative approach and strengthened partnerships.