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History

History of CoSTEP

Despite mounting expectations of science and technology, related problems such as children’s science phobia and public anxiety and distrust of science and technology have recently been highlighted. Given this background, there is strong demand for science and technology communicators to serve as a bridge between specialists in science and technology and the general public. The 2005 White Paper on Science and Technology, for example, pointed out the need to foster “individuals who fill the gap between science and technology experts and the general public.”

CoSTEP was established at Hokkaido University in July 2005 to meet social needs.

During the 2005 through 2009 academic years, CoSTEP implemented educational activities as part of a commissioned project (the Communicators in Science and Technology Education Unit) under the Science and Technology Promotion Adjustment Grant provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. A total of 316 students completed the program, and now they serve as science and technology communicators in various fields – not only at universities, research institutions, government and municipal offices and private businesses including the media, but also in educational organizations, such as science museums and schools, and at NPOs and other regional front-line sites.

In April 2010, CoSTEP made a fresh start as an independent Hokkaido University project as it evolved from a project commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Today, the Communication in Science and Technology Education and Research Program (abbreviated as ‘CoSTEP’) has been established at the Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education.

CoSTEP has now developed into an education and research center regarding communication in science and technology. In addition to its educational contributions, including the Communicators in Science and Technology Education Program, which has been completed by more than 300 students over the five years through the 2009 academic year, CoSTEP plays a role in the university’s PR and communication activities, and is engaged in cutting-edge research activities in related fields.

History

2005 July Establishment of Hokkaido University Communicators in Science and Technology Education Unit
October Admission of students in the Communicators in Science and Technology Education Program for the 2005 academic year
2006 March Course completed by 40 students of the 2005 academic year (regular course: 10, elective course: 30)
May Start of the education program for students of the 2006 academic year, full-scale operation of e-learning lectures
2007 March Course completed by 51 students of the 2006 academic year (regular course: 26, elective course: 25)
May Start of the education program for students of the 2007 academic year
2008 March Course completed by 77 students of the 2007 academic year (regular course: 32, elective course: 45)
May Start of the education program for students of the 2008 academic year, establishment of two classes (A and B) at the elective course
2009 March Course completed by 70 students of the 2008 academic year (regular course: 20, elective course: 50)
May Start of the education program for students of the 2009 academic year
2010 March Course completed by 78 students of the 2009 academic year (regular course: 24, elective course: 52) 
May Start of the education program for students of the 2010 academic year
April Reorganization into the Communication in Science and Technology Education and Research Program, Center for Research and Development in Higher Education
October Reorganization into the Communication in Science and Technology Education and Research Program, Higher Education Research and Development Division, Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education
2011 March Course completed by 65 students of the 2010 academic year (regular course: 22, elective course: 43) 
May Start of the education program for students of the 2011 academic year, establishment of the training course
2012 March Course completed by 65 students of the 2011 academic year (regular course: 22, elective course: 37; training course: 6)
2013 March Course completed by 65 students of the 2012 academic year (regular course: 20, elective course: 39; training course: 6) 
2014 March Course completed by 64 students of the 2013 academic year (regular course: 21, elective course: 40; training course: 3) 
2015 March Course completed by 69 students of the 2014 academic year (regular course: 24, elective course: 41; training course: 4)
April Reorganization into the Communication in Science and Technology Education and Research Program, Center for Open Education, Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education.