Issues surrounding us in the recent years are becoming more and more complex as society undergoes rapid changes. Aiming to solve these complex social issues, a new concept called “integrated knowledge” has been proposed. This term refers to the gathering of diverse knowledge and the creation of a vitality of knowledge that creates new value. This suggests that in order to contribute to solving the complex and wide-ranging social issues of recent years, we need not only traditional approaches but also more diverse ones.

Society consists of humans and their activities. Considering this, it is important to focus on the principles of brain activity and brain information processing that are the basis of human cognition and behavior, and to understand humans themselves and humans within society. I believe this will lead to a deeper understanding of society and what happens therein. Thus, neuroscience may prove to be one of the candidates for a variety of approaches to solving social issues.

The Brain Research Center (HIAS-BRC) at Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study was established within Hitotsubashi University with this mindset. It aims to build upon the University’s strengths as a comprehensive social science university, while striving to apply brain function measurement and the ideas of brain science to research in the social sciences and furthermore, utilize knowledge from brain science to solve social issues.

By using neuroscientific methods to understand the cognition of the people who constitute society, the decision-making that is the basis of social phenomena, and the diverse values of people in society, we will pursue to link social science and brain science to create new ideas. By combining the knowledge accumulated at Hitotsubashi University, where many world-class social science researchers gather, with the knowledge of brain science, we will bring a new perspective to understanding society and establish a unique approach to the complex social issues of our time.

Furthermore, by utilizing and providing the University’s facilities for brain function measurement, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) available at this center, to researchers outside the university, we will be able to collaborate not only within our university but also with other universities, research institutes, and private companies both domestically and internationally. We hope this will lead to further development of social sciences and the realization of neuroscience that contributes to solving social issues.

HIAS-BRC will promote cutting-edge research through the fusion of brain science and social science, striving to provide new insights and creative solutions to complex social issues of our time.

Haruaki FUKUDA
HIAS Brain Research Center