Distinguished Educational Practitioners Award

SmartSE Smart System Education

Hironori WASHIZAKI (Waseda University)

After completing his doctoral studies at Waseda University in 2003, Prof. Dr. Hironori Washizaki worked at the National Institute of Informatics before joining the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Waseda University in 2008, where he currently serves as a professor.

While an urgent need exists for digital transformation (DX) in every industry, there is a shortage of innovative professionals and leaders who can handle and lead value creation by linking cutting-edge ICT to business. To respond to the social demand for such professional training and education, Prof. Washizaki leads a certification program named "Smart SE: Smart Systems and Services innovative professional Education program" (Representative: Waseda University). It is based on a nationwide, large-scale industry-academia collaboration with 13 universities and 21 companies and organizations (over 5,000 companies participate under this umbrella), including the Mobile Computing Promotion Consortium. It was initially proposed and adopted by the MEXT grant enPiT-Pro.

Smart SE is a systematic and practical recurrent professional training and education program from IoT sensor/communication to AI and business applications, and about 30 currently employed persons enroll in the program annually. Around 75%-95% of graduates each year answered that they were satisfied with the overall program. In a survey conducted one year after completion of the program, 80-90% of the graduates responded that the program had led to business improvements and development. Some of the participants demonstrated increased independence and entrepreneurship, evidence that the training provided through the program has been highly effective. The classroom portion of its courses is offered on JMOOC and edX, and approximately 90,000 people have registered for the courses. Due to the significant achievements of the program, Prof. Washizaki has received a Commendation from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the e-Learning Award Special Prize, the IMS Japan Award Special Prize, and the KDDI Foundation Award.

In addition, he has established a consortium for further development and networking among graduates, lecturers, and collaborating partners. He is promoting technology dissemination, awareness-raising, and further research through numerous seminars, industry-academia matching, exchanges, surveys and research on DX strategies, and regional development of professional training and education in collaboration with Ishikawa Prefecture, Komatsu, and others. In this way, he has promoted cutting-edge recurrent professional training and education and beyond through research, practice, and exchange, and his achievements have been truly remarkable.