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April 1, 2013

Statement on the start of RIKEN's third 5-year term

RIKEN President Noyori Ryoji

Today marks the start of RIKEN's third 5-year term. This is a new beginning with a totally new organizational structure directed at making meaningful contribution to society and attaining a level of science and technology on a par with the top research institutions of the world.

RIKEN's activities over the next five years will be defined by the Japanese government's fourth Basic Plan for Science and Technology which calls for the promotion of science and technology that leads to innovation and to furthering the reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. While we will continue to pursue basic research, we will also seek out, identify, and work to find solutions for critical scientific, technical and social issues, with a special focus on green innovation and "life innovation".

Our newly revamped organization will focus on making optimum use of our comprehensive strengths to bring research to a whole new level in the areas of developmental biology, brain science, quantitative biology, bioresources, computational science, synchrotron radiation, and accelerator-based science. This entails disbanding the Advanced Science Institute and dispersing its functions throughout RIKEN, and establishing a new Chief Scientist system that will include fixed-term as well as permanent research staff.

In the area of green innovation, we will be working on emergent materials for new energy sources and conservation measures; photonics research for new and precision lights sources for medical, safety and security applications; and sustainable resource science directed at developing technologies for recycling resources and energy.

In the area of life innovation, we will be pursuing integrated medical science research on the basic principles of homeostasis to contribute to the development of medical treatment and preventive medicine that is tailored to the individual. Our approach will build upon the research capabilities we have achieved to date to forge the technological foundations for the life sciences, drug discovery and medicine. And in this process we will be consolidating our organizational structure so that we can take a collaborative, inter-disciplinary approach directed at innovative results.

As Charles Darwin pointed out, many living creatures have disappeared from the face of the earth, but it is not the strongest who survive, rather those who are able to evolve and adapt. RIKEN is also a living, breathing organism. And we must evolve and adapt if we are to keep up with the changing times and meet the needs of society. It is no longer an era of science for the sake of science. Today, science is a part of society and must act to serve society. RIKEN has endeavored to change to fulfill this mandate.

 Signature of RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori

Ryoji Noyori, President