President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
Aiming for Further Progress in the Natural Sciences
The National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) is an inter-university research institute corporation comprised of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), the National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), the National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS), and the Institute for Molecular Science (IMS). An inter-university research institute is a type of world-class organization unique to Japan. In response to the research community, it has been organized as a core base to provide a center for collaboration and external use by researchers across Japan. In addition, NINS has been advancing leading-edge and interdisciplinary research as a center of excellence and has been active in promoting activities which develop new research fields, and construct new fields in the investigation of nature. As its core, the Center for Novel Science Initiatives has been established. Along with the Department of Brain Sciences and Department of Imaging Science which have been already underway, the new Department of Astrobiology was set up in this fiscal year. Presently, many planets outside our solar system have been identified, and these include many potential terrestrial planets. NINS has two research institutes for biological subjects, NIBB and NIPS, and a research institute for the universe, NAOJ. Taking advantage of this, NINS has decided to promote and support the new interdisciplinary research field of “Astrobiology”. With this, we look forward to the expansion of this research field community in Japan and to the further development of research.
Many universities and research institutes in the Tohoku district and North Kanto were devastated and suffered great damage by the Great East Japan Earthquake that took place two years ago in March 11. Of these, the loss of biological genetic resources dealt a serious blow to the life science research of universities. Supporting and helping the research activities of devastated universities is the responsibility of NINS as an inter-university research institute corporation. NINS conducted activities to support the early recovery of research and education activities and to maintain research resources. NIBB launched the “Inter-University Bio-Backup Project for Basic Biology” (IBBP) to back up biological genetic resources at universities, etc. last fiscal year. This past March, the “NIBB IBBP Center” which will become a key part of IBBP was completed and the germplasm preservation of animals and plants, microorganisms, cultured cells, etc. was begun. This way, NINS will be able to back up biological genetic resources at universities, etc. and to make a significant contribution to avoid the damage or loss due to an unanticipated accident, disaster, etc.
NINS received the high commendation of “made good progress” in the annual evaluation of the National University Corporation Evaluation Committee and a lot of our notable work about the improvement in the quality of education and research received recognition. Last fiscal year, the “NINS External Evaluation Committee” which is composed of researchers in related areas together with researchers in other fields such as cultural studies and intellectuals in the mass media business was established to get a detailed evaluation of NINS’ activities from the outside. NINS received a lot of valuable advice on the creation of new fields, the fostering of young researchers, gender equality, the whole concept of the headquarters of NINS, health and safety, graduate education, etc. It is our desire to improve the organization and operation of NINS using examples from the advice on the further promotion of gender equality, etc.
Now and in the future, NINS would like to further develop the results of our research endeavors, to create new sciences in the 21st century by carrying out cutting-edge academic research in various fields of the natural sciences including astronomy, energy science, life science, and material science, and by developing advanced new fields which overcame the barriers that exist between different fields, and to contribute to society.
We are grateful for your continuous support of our vision.
President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
Institute Charter, National Institutes of Natural Sciences
Natural science that aimed to achieve wider and deeper understanding of nature caught up with development during the 20th century, and understanding of humans towards nature improved dramatically. According to the rapid progress in science, borders between various fields of natural science became versatile, and it is becoming increasingly important to make academic studies more comprehensive and create new academic fields.
On the other hand, it is necessary in the 21st century for science to cope with complex and a wide variety of tasks due to expanding human activities. Those who are engaged in natural science studies are expected to tackle these tasks with heightened awareness and contribute to constructing an affluent and steady society.
In a normal situation, development of academic studies is achieved based on unrestrained thinking and autonomy of researchers. Through mutual respect among researchers towards their creative studies and active exchange of opinions and cooperation beyond the border of academic fields, creation of new academic studies that can contribute to society becomes possible.>
Based on this principle, this Charter is comprised with the aim of improving understanding of nature and making contributions to the development of society, through collaboration and cooperation among inter-university research institutes that are engaged in studies of various fields in natural science, such as space, matter, energy and life.
NINS is a federation of inter-university research institutes in various fields of natural science.
NINS shall work on clarifying nature from an overall perspective.
NINS places unrestrained thinking and autonomy of researchers at its essential basis and will strive to explore new academic fields.
The basic activity of NINS is creativity and academic research in Institutes comprising NINS.
Institutes comprising of NINS shall respect one another’s research and shall participate in the operations of NINS on equal terms.
Institutes comprising of NINS shall contribute to researchers’ community in each academic field as an inter-university research institute.
NINS shall actively participate in graduate education and shall foster high caliber human resources for each generation.
NINS shall try to cooperate with research institutes outside NINS and shall engage in reinforcing academic research in Japan.
NINS cooperates with society and is an international research institute open to the public.