Establishment of QREC
QREC was established on December 1, 2010 to address Kyushu University’s growing need to systematically build an entrepreneurship education that encourages students to challenge themselves to create new values, as well as an MOT (Management of Technology) education that teaches students how to transfer their research results and technologies to society.
Dr. Robert T. Huang, a prominent alumnus of Kyushu University who has achieved significant success in the United States, made a substantial donation to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Kyushu University.
With his funding, Kyushu University was able to reorganize and reshape its Venture Business Laboratory, where the main activity had been supporting R&D projects to facilitate venture businesses, into the new QREC. The great success of the Robert T. Huang Entrepreneurship Program of Kyushu University (QREP), which has been held in Silicon Valley annually since 2006, prompted Dr. Huang to make a donation toward the establishment of QREC. QREC plays a significant role in spreading the results yielded by QREP to even more students, and in spreading its spirit as a full-fledged entrepreneurship education and research center.
Venture Business Laboratory
The Kyushu University Venture Business Laboratory (VBL), the predecessor of QREC, was established by an allocation in the 1995 government budget that covered “Expenses For Promotion of Creative Research and Development Centered Around Graduate Schools[d1] ,” and commenced its activities in April 1996. The objectives of the VBL were to carry out creative and advanced interdisciplinary studies, as well as to support research projects that nurture young entrepreneurs. Kyushu University’s VBL not only conducted research activities, but also provided various education programs that integrated the humanities and science, supported programs for undergraduate and graduate students in their research activities, and offered the “Venture Business Salon[d2] ,” a place where all those who are interested in start-up businesses could network. In other words, Kyushu University’s VBL worked to provide full-fledged support for university start-up companies, while serving an important role at Kyushu University in promoting industry-academia collaborations.
The following were the key activities of the VBL:
Educational Activities & Research Support
Kyushu University’s VBL carried out various educational activities designed to help develop the skills of young entrepreneurs, and QREC will continue these projects and programs.
■Challenge & Creation (C&C) (Student Project Support)
With the aim of providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to enjoy the pleasure of thinking for themselves and to express their creativity, we have implemented the C&C, a university-wide project subsidized by the President’s discretionary expense fund. We invite student proposals for research categorized as independent research, business plan research, or research on an assigned theme. The President’s Award shall be given to the student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in his/her research. QREC will continue with C&C as one of its core projects.
In order to create venture companies and new industries, we need to encourage the development of independent thinkers with an entrepreneurial spirit and management ability, and also encourage them to try new things, while conducting research activities that create seeds for innovation. The Kyushu University VBL has organized the annual omnibus style Entrepreneurship Seminar to provide students with interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education programs. The Entrepreneur Workshop will be renamed the Entrepreneurship Seminar, and will continue to be featured as part the QREC curriculum.
■Academic Challenge (AC) (Student Research Support)
In order to develop the research ideas of students in the embryonic stage for future innovation, AC provides students with an opportunity to generate their original ideas, engage in serious research, and express their creativity and adaptable thought processes.
AC is conducted as a university-wide project. Whether the student majors in the humanities or science or arts, all students of Kyushu University are eligible to submit an application for AC, and international students are more than welcome. Participating students carry out all the processes of research by themselves, from designing their research plan and searching for funding, to conducting research activities. In doing so, each student will develop their skills in “research management,” which is what AC aims at. QREC will continue with AC as one of its core projects.
■Joint Use Facility
The VBL provided facilities at EC Bldg. available for the joint use of researchers of Kyushu University (faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, research students, and students), all those who aimed to start businesses based on their research results, and newly created companies. QREC will continue to maintain these functions of the VBL.
■MOT Networking Meetings
The VBL organized MOT Networking Meetings to offer a forum at Kyushu University where students, alumni, faculty members, entrepreneurs and their supporters can get together to exchange opinions freely. This was established to lay the foundation for networking, so that aspiring entrepreneurs can meet, collaborate, and interact. (* This networking meeting was organized jointly with IMAQ, the Intellectual Property Management Center of Kyushu University.) The mission of MOT Networking Meetings will be performed in a different way by QREC.
■Supporting activities for researchers
In many ways, such as the exchange of personnel with overseas institutions, we have been cultivating and assisting young researchers who intend to industrialize their research, as well as those who aim to commercialize their research results. QREC will focus on the spirit of entrepreneurship and facilitate the exchange of young researchers with overseas partner organizations.