Nagoya University's Strong Bond with the Philippines

In an era where the global competitiveness of Japanese universities is being increasingly scrutinized, Nagoya University continues to strengthen its relationships with partners in different countries. In fact, it has a long history of international cooperation and exchange with institutions throughout Asia. Due to its geographical proximity, some of its closest partners are in the Philippines. A person in Nagoya can fly for four hours and land in Manila. Nagoya University has been educating and training people from this island nation since 1975. As of November 2023, there were 39 enrolled students from the Philippines. Eleven were undergraduates and 28 graduate students.


Recognizing the warm relations with various institutions in the Philippines, in October 2023, Nagoya University President Naoshi Sugiyama and a delegation of 16 faculty and staff members visited the country. President Sugiyama is the former dean of the Graduate School of Science. This was his first visit to the Philippines since assuming office in 2022. During the two-day visit, President Sugiyama exchanged views with several Filipino counterparts in Manila and Los Baños. Most readers are likely unfamiliar with the activities of Nagoya University in the Philippines. Therefore, this Campus Story will briefly highlight some initiatives that showcase Nagoya University's warm relations with various Filipino organizations.


Educational Institutions


Nagoya University has established close ties with several educational institutions in the Philippines. These include the University of the Philippines (UP), the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). Working closely with their counterparts, Nagoya University faculty members have developed programs that enhance the academic quality and capacity of both sides, and promote mutual understanding and friendship.


The University of the Philippines (UP)

Nagoya University and UP have a strong relationship in education and research, dating back to 1983. During their visit to the Philippines, the Nagoya University delegation, which included the Deans of the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences and the Graduate School of International Development, met with UP President Angelo Jiminez. President Jiminez received the visit at the President's Office, a large building on the sunny and leafy campus in Quezon City. Both sides discussed several areas for future cooperation in education and research. Nagoya University will offer a transnational PhD program in Civil Engineering and Environmental Science as part of its Asian Satellite Campuses Institute (ASCI) starting in 2024. In an official summary of the meeting, President Jiminez said, "We are renewing our mutual commitments and charting an enhanced path of cooperation that promises to reach new heights of academic and research excellence."


President Naoshi Sugiyama of Nagoya University and UP President Angelo Jiminez discuss relations between their two institutions in the President's Office in Quezon City. (October 9, 2023)


University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)

In addition to its cooperation with the University of the Philippines System, Nagoya University has been collaborating with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in research and education. Cooperation with UPLB began in 1995 at the college level with the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) and the Graduate School of International Development (GSID) of Nagoya University. Later, it expanded to include collaborative research and faculty and student exchanges in disciplines related to health, international development, biotechnology, and agriculture. In 2014, the two institutions signed a university-wide agreement to develop more interdisciplinary programs. A year later, UP and Nagoya University signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to host the Nagoya University Asian Satellite Campus-Philippines at the UPLB campus. There is also an MOA for the use of an office and UPLB teaching and research facilities to support Filipinos pursuing their Ph.D. at Nagoya University.


Asian Satellite Campuses Institute (ASCI) at UPLB

Established in 2015, Nagoya University maintains its ASCI at UPLB. Through the ASCI, Nagoya University offers specialized research-based doctoral programs for government officials and academics in selected Asian countries. The program offers flexible arrangements for individuals who wish to pursue a Ph.D. but do not have the time to move to Japan as a full-time student. Participants enroll part-time so that they do not have to interrupt their careers or leave the Philippines. As of October 2023, 9 Filipinos have graduated from ASCI - 8 from the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Science and 1 from the Graduate School of International Development. There are currently 13 Ph.D. students enrolled.


Dean Mikio Nakazono of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences stands next to the Asian Satellite Campuses sign on the UPLB campus. (October 9, 2023)


ASCI Director Dr. Akira Yamauchi speaks at the entrance ceremony for new students at the SEARCA auditorium. (October 9, 2023)


Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)

Another important partner of Nagoya University is the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). This institute, also on the UPLB campus, was established in 1966 by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). Its mission is to strengthen institutional capacity in agricultural and rural development in Southeast Asia through graduate education, research, and knowledge dissemination. 


SEARCA offers the Nagoya University-SEARCA Joint Ph.D. Research Scholarship in Agriculture to Filipinos on the Nagoya University Satellite Campus hosted by UPLB. It also offers the scholarship to Cambodian applicants on the Satellite Campus for Bioagricultural Sciences hosted by the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Phnom Penh.


President Naoshi Sugiyama and Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Nur Azura Binti Adam (Deputy Director for Programs at SEARCA) exchange greetings. (October 9, 2023)


Research Institutions


Besides collaborations with universities, Nagoya University has a long history of collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). IRRI, also based in Los Baños and hosted by UPLB, works to improve rice production and food security in Asia and Africa. Founded in 1960, it helped develop rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution. Although individual researchers have collaborated with IRRI for many years, the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2019 to strengthen their partnership in rice research and education. Together, they have contributed to the advancement of rice science by co-authoring many important scientific papers. In fact, a recent graduate of the ASCI program working at IRRI has already co-authored several papers with faculty members from Nagoya University. Separately, collaborative research between IRRI Cambodia and the Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences has led to the development of new fertilizer application guidelines. Through this partnership, Nagoya University and IRRI have contributed to food security and rural development in the Philippines and other countries.


The collaboration with IRRI also has an educational component. As part of overseas training of the Women Leaders Program to Promote Well-being in Asia of Nagoya University, several students from different graduate schools of Nagoya University visited the experimental fields and research facilities where they observed the development of various varieties of IRRI rice, and laboratories where women scientists lead the research activities.


Researchers explain research being done in IRRI rice fields to the Nagoya University delegation. (October 9, 2023)


Intergovernmental Institutions


In Manila, Nagoya University graduates also contribute to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Established in 1966, the ADB is a regional development bank dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific by investing in infrastructure, health services, and financial and public administration systems. Nagoya University has trained several ADB staff through its graduate and short-term programs in economics, public policy, and engineering. The Graduate School of International Development (GSID) has played an important role in building the relationship. 


The ADB-Japan Scholarship Program (JSP) provides about 135 graduate scholarships annually for studies in economics, business and management, science and technology, and other development-related fields. Under this program, GSID offers ADB scholarships for the Master of Arts in International Development. Students enter the program in April each year with applications due in early July of the previous year. For more information on eligibility and other related issues, please visit the link below.


Dean Aya Okada of the Graduate School of International Development at the entrance of the Asian Development Bank. (October 10, 2023)


Other Partners


Japanese Embassy in Manila

As a national university, Nagoya University also cooperates with Japanese government institutions. Staff from the Japanese Embassy in Manila provide valuable advice and guidance for Nagoya University's activities in the Philippines. During President Sugiyama's two-day trip, Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa warmly welcomed the Nagoya University delegation and four new ASCI students to his residence. President Sugiyama introduced Nagoya University's activities in the Philippines to the Ambassador. The Manila Times, among other local news agencies, asked questions about Nagoya University's activities during the press conference that followed. 


Nagoya University Philippine Alumni Association

The Nagoya University Alumni Association Philippines branch (NUAL-PH) plays a key role in maintaining Nagoya University's presence in the country. NUAL-PH is an organization of alumni who have graduated from or worked at Nagoya University and now work or live in the Philippines. To maintain and strengthen the network among alumni, it organizes events and activities such as reunions, seminars, social gatherings, and charity events. Members also advise and help current Filipino students at Nagoya University. During the October visit, the Nagoya University delegation met with the alumni association for dinner and discussions at a hotel in Manila.


President Naoshi Sugiyama chats with Nagoya University alumni at the NUAL-PH dinner in Manila. (October 10, 2023)




In conclusion, Nagoya University and the Philippines will continue to build on their already close relationship in various fields and sectors. The short distance between Nagoya and Manila provides great opportunities for mutual learning and cooperation. Nagoya University was especially grateful for the warm hospitality and friendship shown by everyone during the October visit. In addition to building relationships with institutions in the Philippines, Nagoya University is expanding and diversifying its international partnerships in Europe, Asia, and North America. Through the Global Multicampus (GMC) Framework, connections with North Carolina State University, the University of Freiburg, Singapore National University, and the University of Edinburgh have grown stronger - but those stories are for another day.


The sun sets on rice fields at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños. (October 9, 2023)


Nagoya University Asian Satellite Campuses Institute
Asian Development Bank Scholarships in Asia and the Pacific
Nagoya University strengthens partnership with the University of the Philippines by expanding PhD Programs offered on its satellite campus at the UP Los Baños (UPLB)
IRRI, Nagoya University strengthen partnership in rice research and education
UP, Nagoya University expand PhD program, Manila Times, October 12, 2023 *subscription required to read full article


By Matthew Linley, Nagoya University International Communications Office