Research Background and Purpose

Research on higher education internationalization has been conducted mainly at universities that have already made progress in international activities, such as those selected for the Top Global University Project ( However, due to the globalization of the higher education market and the decrease in the 18-year-old population, internationalization became an essential agenda for universities, and the number of universities promoting strategic internationalization as part of their university reforms has been increasing in Japan. In addition, amidst significant social changes and transformations such as the arrival of the global knowledge-based society, the shift to the 4th industrial revolution, and the realization of a sustainable society in light of the declining population, the local/regional revitalization and development where the population outflow (especially the 18-year-old population) is unstoppable is a critical issue. In this context, we aim to explore a new internationalization model for local universities, expected to contribute to local/regional revitalization and development. We aim to contribute to develop a typological and systematic understanding of the higher education internationalization by elucidating the process and practice of strategic internationalization of local universities whose primary mission is to serve as a hub of local/regional revitalization.

Specifically, this research has the following three objectives.

(1)Elucidate internationalization strategies and process of local universities by analyzing three strategies related to the development of human resources to support the local region and the creation of innovation for regional revitalization: a) strategies to develop global human resources, including student recruitment; b) strategies for collaboration with companies and other entities to retain human resources in the local region; and c) strategies for ensuring regional diversity and the function of creating new value.

(2)Develop a typological systemic understanding of higher education internationalization by analyzing the strategies and process of the strategic internationalization of local universities.

(3)Explore a new non-Western model of higher education internationalization, by conducting a comparative study on the internationalization of local universities in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, the non-English speaking countries of Northeast Asia facing similar challenge.

Definition of Local Universities

For the purpose of this study, local universities are defined as universities that meet the following two conditions: (1) exist in regions other than metropolitan areas (Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya; Korea: Seoul; Taiwan: New Taipei, Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung) and (2) have the primary mission of being the hub of regional revitalization.