About TMI

Where Our Story Begins

In the 1990s, Japanese industry was repeatedly criticized for its poor ability to manage its abundant technology assets and translate them into value due to a lack of grand designs and strategies for effectively integrating them. Around the start of the new millennium, calls to address this weakness grew louder in the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, as well. Given this, the school reasoned that they needed to set up a new department to engage in management-oriented education and research. These calls were made in response to the clear prevailing need for Japan to exert more strategic management in order to navigate its way through complex interactions among the various factors involved in an increasingly uncertain and globalizing business environment. In 2001, these calls prompted an official discussion at the school involving parties such as the dean, councilors, professors who would most likely engage in education and research on technology management, and relevant administrative officers. As a result, the school initiated a trial program for technology management in April 2003. Subsequently, a steering committee was formed in 2004 to establish the intended department, which was essentially granted the necessary approval in August the same year. In the following rounds of discussion, emphasis was placed on departing from technology management in a narrow sense; in other words, moving away from management concerned only with the application of technologies for business purposes and corporate management focused on technologies. The department would eventually adopt the name Department of Technology Management for Innovation (TMI) in line with its intended role in pioneering a new discipline that would facilitate discussions of the national and social value of technologies, how they could be harnessed in social and industrial development, and desirable ways of enhancing such value. That is, TMI would be expected to not only train industry professionals capable of running businesses by strategically integrating research, development, production, and management but also foster political and administrative leaders capable of building new economic policy systems or social systems with science and technologies at their core. Some other graduates would spearhead the way for researchers to leverage their collective capabilities while remaining mindful of the progress in research and development being made around the world. Continued efforts were made to embody this underlying philosophy in the curriculum and incorporate voices from industry, with TMI finally being established in April 2006.


As a fledging department, TMI welcomed its inaugural class in April 2006. Ever since then, it has worked tirelessly to offer a broader range of perspectives. A new program was set up to allow students to study the international aspects of technology management. Meanwhile, the relationship between technologies and policies has been explored through involvement in another university program (Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance [STIG]). Similarly, the relationship with social management has been explored through engagement with the Global Leader Program for Social Design and Management (GSDM). The department also thought to apply engineering with a special focus on consumer behavior by setting up the Chair for Global Consumer Intelligence. In doing this, TMI has consciously sought to grow the capacity of its students to strategize and take the initiative in applying their expertise while staying mindful of both the economy and society as a whole. It continues to reorganize the curriculum and enrich its research through the pursuit of synergy with other initiatives. Sometime later in 2015, the University of Tokyo announced its Vision 2020 under the leadership of its president, Makoto Gonokami, who stressed the important role that the university is expected to play in helping to lead Japan and human society over the next 70 years through the adoption of tangible actions with a clear roadmap. This vision laid out the direction that the university will take in seeking to serve as a global base for knowledge collaboration through the concurrent pursuit of excellence and diversity. The vision that was set out for research, education, cooperation with society, and university operations matches exactly what TMI strives to achieve through engineering. Accordingly, TMI expects to be able to deliver an even more conducive environment for the advancement of education and research in the coming decade.

Table: Key milestone since the foundation of TMI
  • 2003–2005 (A trial technology management program is run prior to the foundation of TMI.)
  • April 2006 TMI is founded and its inaugural class is welcomed.
  • October 2010 Enrolment in TMI’s International Technology Management Program[1] begins.
  • 2011 The Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance (STIG) Program[2] is launched. TMI joins the program.
  • 2013 The Transdisciplinary Education Program on Resilience Engineering[3] is launched. TMI joins the program.
  • October 2013 The Global Leader Program for Social Design and Management (GSDM)[4] is launched. TMI joins the program.
  • 2014 TMI sets up its Chair for Global Consumer Intelligence (GCI)[5].
  • [1] An English degree program was set up in the School of Engineering as a part of the Global 30 Project initiated by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
  • [2] This program was set up at the University of Tokyo to serve as a hub for basic research and human resource development to support the Science for Redesigning Science Technology and Innovation Policy (SciREX) Program initiated by MEXT. It seeks to prepare governance professionals who can take the lead in advancing science, technology, and innovation in society. To this end, the Graduate School of Public Policy and the School of Engineering have taken the lead in building a common platform and running joint education programs in different graduate schools at the university. They do so in tandem with industry professionals and researchers from the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the Graduate School of Economics, the Graduate School of Medicine, and the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, among others.
  • [3] This is the first inter-departmental education program initiated by the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. The member departments work together to offer extensive interdisciplinary perspectives on resilience engineering with the aim of helping students apply their acquired expertise in various fields.
  • [4] Combining studies across the liberal arts and sciences, this interdisciplinary degree program plays a role in the Program for Leading Graduate Schools initiated by MEXT. Under this program, 9 schools and 21 departments from the University of Tokyo work together to help nurture versatile global leaders.
  • [5] This chair was set up in TMI through an initiative led by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry together with companies engaged in data collection and analysis. It engages in research and human resource development in the field of consumer intelligence (i.e., the ability to obtain an overall understanding of consumers through data analysis). Research and development initiatives undertaken in partnership with corporate partners are put into practice in the business world to address real issues faced by companies.