As part of a joint project between Kobe University and Tallinn University (Estonia) supported by Erasmus+, a European grant programme to support education and training, Professor Heli Kaldas, Director of Tallinn University ‘s Haapsalu College, and Tiina Tambaum, Researcher of the College, visited the Kobe University’s Advanced Research Center for Well-being for a research exchange from May 10 to 17.

Estonia is located across the Baltic Sea from Finland and is known as one of the most digitalized countries in the world. Professor KATAGIRI Keiko, Director of the Advanced Research Center for Well-being, hosted their visit and organized an academic seminar as well as visits to Kobe University’s cutting-edge research projects with the support of the Kobe University’s office of Research Management. Active research discussions on the relationship between the elderly and digital technologies in both countries took place.

1. Courtesy visit to Professor KONDO Norihiko, Dean of the Graduate School of Human Development and Environment (May 11)

During the meeting, Director Kaldas introduced Haapsalu College has started a new educational curriculum on communities in an aging society. Dean KONDO expressed his hopes for future collaboration with student exchange.



 (From left end, Dean KONDO, Director Kaldas, Dr. Tambaum, Director KATAGIRI, Ms. Eri Anno, URA from the Office of Research Management)

 2. Research visit to ‘Cognicare’ Project (May 12)

The delegation experienced the ‘Cognicare’ exercise class and received an introduction of the project from Professor KOWA Hisatomo from the Kobe University’s Graduate School of Health Sciences. ‘Cognicare’ is a novel health care service developed by Kobe University based on the FINGER study for prevention of dementia and lifestyle-related diseases that brings together head and body exercise classes, health promotion seminars and health status visualization.


 (Left end: Professor KOWA)                    (Cognicare Exercise Class (Fukae Classroom))


3. Research visit to the laboratory of Professor NAKAMURA Masahide, Deputy Director of the Center for Mathematical Data Sciences/ Professor of the Graduate School of Systems Informatics (May 15)

 The delegation visited the Deputy Director NAKAMURA’s laboratory and learned about his latest research in Gerontechnology, an academic field related to ICT and IoT technologies to support the elderly. Deputy Director NAKAMURA demonstrated a developed virtual agent, Mei-chan. Three students from Director KATAGIRI’s laboratory joined the discussion.


(Three from the left end: Director KATAGIRI’s students, second from the right end: Deputy Director NAKAMURA, right end: Professor CHEN Sinan, Assistant Professor of the Center for Mathematical Data Sciences)


4. International Research Seminar at the Advanced Research Center for Well-being (May 15)

An online international research seminar was held at the Advanced Research Center for Well-being. The seminar was moderated by Director KATAGIRI, and featured a lecture by Dr. Tambaum on older people and digital technologies in Estonia. After the lecture, Professor UCHIDA Atsuhiko, Assistant Professor of the Graduate School of Human Development and Environmental Studies, and Director Kaldas engaged in a lively discussion with seminar participants, including students and researchers. They exchanged their ideas and thoughts related on the challenges of digitalization in aging society in Estonia and Japan, including the necessity and methods to acquire and improve digital skills among the elderly.



 (Program)                                         (Scene of the seminar)

 During their stay, the delegation also visited the Ashiya City’s Silver Human Resources Center and Hyogo Inamino Senior Citizen’s Colleague to learn about Japan's efforts toward active aging in a super-aging society. The Advanced Research Center for Well-being began discussions with the delegation on several specific joint research projects. Center initiatives are expected to contribute to further academic exchange with Tallinn University.

 (Advanced Research Center for Well-being, Office of Research Management)