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McGill & Kyoto University create joint PhD program

Delegates from Montréal’s McGill University and Kyoto University, Japan, had much to celebrate this month after the establishment of a ground-breaking joint PhD between the institutions. The program marks the first time McGill has entered into a joint PhD program with another university.

Kyoto Universitys the second oldest Japanese university, one of Asia's highest ranked universities and one of Japan's National Seven Universities. Photo:Wikimedia CommonsKyoto University is the second oldest Japanese university, one of Asia's highest ranked universities and one of Japan's National Seven Universities. Photo:Wikimedia Commons

Upon successful completion of the program, the PhD degree will be awarded jointly by the two universities

The goal of the McGill-Kyoto collaboration is to develop joint international research in the field of gene medicine and to educate the next generation of scientists.

“We think that this is going to be critical for health care and for health research”

As reported in McGill’s newspaper, participating students will study and conduct research in the field of human biology, train to identify disease-predicting biomarkers, disease-susceptibility genes and other techniques that will be “indispensable for the future development of personalised medicine”.

A ceremony marking the partnership program was attended by associate provost (international) at McGill, Phil Oxhorn, dean for the Graduate School of Medicine at Kyoto Univerisity, Shinji Uemoto, and Fumihiko Matsuda, deputy executive vice-president for international affairs and director at the Center for Genomic Medicine.

“The issue of using genomic and related data, big data, is very much at the centre of medical science in the 21st century,” said David Eidelman, dean of medicine and vice-principal (health affairs) at McGill.

“We have made it a top priority for our university and certainly for our faculty…we think that this is going to be critical for health care and for health research.”

It is understood that four students per year – two from each university – will be enrolled in the program, with participants spending a minimum of one year at the partner university and, in addition to completing the curriculum coursework, will conduct their research under the supervision of an academic advisor from each.

Upon successful completion of the program, the PhD degree will be awarded jointly by the two universities.

The partnership was initially established with support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under its Top Global University Project, which is intended to foster interna­tionalisation of Japanese universities.

Also taking part in the ceremony were Rémi Quirion, chief scientist of Québec and Hideaki Kuramitsu, consul general of Japan in Montréal.

“I am very pleased to see the concretisation of this agreement between two great institutions,” said Kuramitsu, describing such academic exchange as “one of the pillars of the Canada-Japan relationship”.

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