Project summary


Shouraizou is a study project that aims to investigate the technological innovations in Japan, both in industry and research centers. This project, starting March 2004 and ending 1 April 2005, is carried out by 35 Electrical Engineering students from the University of Twente. Theme of the study project is 'technical innovation': knowledge-based changes in products and processes, in technical industry, technology and science.

Research project
Because innovation is closely related to -among others- politics, economy and culture, we will extensively study these things for both the Japanese and Dutch situation. We will investigate technological innovation on the macro-level (society and industry in general), the meso-level (several sectors in the area of Electrical Engineering) and the micro-level (individual companies). Therefore we organize several courses before the summer holiday that will be awarded study points that can be used in the Electrical Engineering curriculum. Students that follow some additional courses can complete an entire ‘minor’!

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Study tour
Since one cannot find everything in literature like books, articles and the internet, in November 2004 we went to Japan for approximately 3 weeks to see with our own eyes what's going on there. We visited companies, universities and insititutes to take a look at some leading-edge technology and see how people innovate there. Moreover, we were very curious to see, feel and undergo all of the culture and the ambience in Japan. We surely learned a lot about Japan and its innovation in our preliminary researches, but when we came back we were amazed!

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Contract research
Moreover, it is compulsory for every participant to do contract research to raise some funds for the project. A contract research is an assignment or project for a third party (which can be a company, institute, faculty etcetera) in a fixed amount of time (120 hours in principle). This research can also be awarded study points.

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Results of the contract research and research project will be published in two reports, one published before the tour and to be published in March 2005.

Other parts of the project include a unique language course, excursions to companies in The Netherlands, symposia on Japan and innovation, and a final symposium on 1 April 2005. Finally, we also organize social activities that make sure that the group of participants have a great time together, which is –after all- one of the most important things!


The Shouraizou study project aims to investigate the technological innovations in Japan, both in industry and research centers. ‘Innovation’ (or: knowledge-based changes in products and processes, in industry, technology and science) is a real buzz-word in The Netherlands these days: there is much worry about a lack of innovation and knowledge in our country, which resulted for example in the foundation of the Innovation-platform, with Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende and the Rector Magnificus of the UT, Frans van Vught (member of our Board of Recommendation). But why did we choose for ‘innovation’ as the theme of our study project?

One of the main goals for participants in a study project is to get to know a non-European country from 2 different views: on one hand the project is a study of activities in Electrical Engineering, the level of education, research and the ways they are implemented, on the other hand it is a study of culture, economy, social aspects and much more. Since innovation is closely related to both of these aspects, we believe that by looking at technological innovation in Japanese culture and industry and comparing this with the situation in Dutch culture and industry we get a better understanding of innovation and, more important, we learn what to do with in it our future careers.

Read more about the project window and goal


Although we have a great time with participants doing all the research and spending some time in Japan, of course this is not the reason to start a project like Shouraizou. Some of the goals that we'd like to achieve with our participants are:

1. Get to know a non-European country from 2 different views:
a) study of culture, climate, politics, geography, language, economy, social aspects, etcetera;
b) study of activities in Electrical Engineering- the level of education, research and the ways they are implemented;

2. Learn some of the aspects from the work of an electrotechnical engineer, within a company in a non-European country;

3. Get to know people in companies, research institutes and universities, both in The Netherlands and abroad;

4. Gain some knowledge in a working area of Electrical Engineering.

As a committee, we do our very best do achieve this and make the project a success like never before! Will you help us?