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Message from the President

Aiming for Further Progress in the Natural Sciences

Akio Komori,
President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences The National Institutes of Natural Sciences consists of the five research institutes of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the National Institute for Fusion Science, the National Institute for Basic Biology, the National Institute for Physiological Sciences, and the Institute for Molecular Science and by consensus of the research community as an inter-university research institute, strives to enhance the roles and functions of each research institute and energetically presses ahead with cutting edge research in one’s respective specialized fields. Additionally, in order to strengthen collaboration of different fields and to develop a new research horizon with an eye toward the further clarification of natural sciences, the five research institutes established the Center for Novel Science Initiatives at NINS as one of the merits of being a corporation. As a result of this, the Astrobiology Center was installed last year to create a new field of research directed toward the origin and evolution of life in the universe. Various goals including those that set numerical targets are raised in the third mid-term plan of NINS that begins with this year. Within these goals, we have the promotion of collaborative research between different fields in greater detail and the development of new fields as major goals.

These concur with what universities across-the-country aspire for, to carry out organizational reforms beyond departments as a part of university reform and to develop new research that is not restricted by existing specialized fields. Because lifting the barriers from the five research institutes is difficult at the current moment in the case of NINS, alternatively, we would like to build up a new joint research system implemented as NINS instead of each research institute independently carrying out joint use and joint research which are the most important functions of NINS as has often been the case in the past. At the introduction of this system, the barriers of the research institutes will practically be out of the way and regardless of advocating collaborative research between different fields, domestic and international researchers and graduate students can participate irrespective of the field. As well as achieving a major breakthrough on collaborative research in each specialized field, from the fact that we expect to develop and create new research and fields, in addition to the Center for Novel Science Initiatives, it may be said that this is a potent way to improve functional enhancements.

Additionally, numerical targets associated with the employment of international and female researchers, etc. in the third mid-term plan are set, however, these are unrealizable unless each research institute is flexible and clear as NINS in totality. As just described, to make certain practices a reality in NINS, we take it as a given that it is vital to implement following adequate consultation and agreement across NINS more than ever and more specifically operate by breaking down the boundaries of the research institutes from here on.

NINS is aimed at conducting world-class academic research in each field, creating learning befitting the 21st century, and contributing to society. We look forward to your continued support and cooperation to NINS.

April 2016
Akio Komori,
President, National Institutes of Natural Sciences