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RIKEN is a high-profile institute at the heart of scientific research in Japan, and a distinguished world leader in a diverse array of scientific disciplines. Central to RIKEN’s success as a top-class research hub is the collaboration and support between its many centers, laboratories and state-of-the-art research facilities, distributed over many different locations within and outside of Japan.

RIKEN’s activities can be divided into four main categories: Strategic Research Centers, Research Infrastructure Centers, Chief Scientist laboratories, etc. and Cluster for Industry Partnerships. These four groupings interact within an integrated research system, bringing together pioneering science and top-class research facilities to meet national and social needs, and are further enhanced by active collaborations both within and outside RIKEN, and Japan.

Research System of RIKEN

Diagram showing RIKEN's system

Strategic Research Centers

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RIKEN’s Strategic Research activities aim to further fields in science and technology, focusing on the life sciences and green innovation. Fields of particular interest are developmental biology, brain science, quantitative biology and the medical sciences, with the Center for Developmental Biology, the Brain Science Institute, the Quantitative Biology Center and the Center for Integrative Medical Sciences. RIKEN is also focusing its activities on advances in materials science, photonics and chemical biology. The newly-established Center for Emergent Matter Science, Center for Advanced Photonics and Center for Sustainable Resource Science are dedicated to research in these key fields.

Research Infrastructure Centers

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RIKEN is well-known around the world for its world-class research infrastructure: the synchrotron radiation facility SPring-8 and X-ray electron laser SACLA at the SPring-8 Center; the supercomputer ‘K computer’ at the Advanced Institute for Computational Science; the radioactive isotope beam factory RIBF at the Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science; and the BioResource Center. These facilities support RIKEN’s wider research efforts and enable researchers from around the world to conduct advanced scientific investigation at RIKEN.

The RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies was recently created to facilitate the development of key technologies for breakthroughs in the medical and pharmaceutical applications of life science, as well as conduct groundbreaking research in the life sciences.

Chief Scientist laboratories, etc.

To stay at the forefront of emerging fields of research RIKEN offers researchers the possibility to set up their own laboratory and carry out their own research within RIKEN. Chief Scientist Laboratories, Distinguished Senior Scientist Laboratories and the Global Research Cluster carry out pioneering research in emerging fields of science and technology.

Cluster for Industry Partnerships

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Innovation is supported at RIKEN by the Cluster for Industry Partnerships, which supports the exchange of knowledge and discoveries between individual RIKEN researchers, companies and other institutions, to ensure that knowledge and know-how generated at RIKEN contribute to the global society. The RIKEN Innovation Center is an office in the RIKEN Cluster for Industry Partnerships, which manages the Baton Zone programs - programs supporting the transfer of RIKEN’s scientific achievements into commercial products through partnerships with private companies.

The Program for Drug Discovery and Medical Technology Platforms and the newly-created Preventive Medicine and Diagnosis Innovation Program ensure that RIKEN focuses the full force of its diverse and inter-disciplinary capabilities on challenges such as new green technology for a more sustainable society, drug and diagnosis discovery and the development of new medical technology.

The HPCI Program for Computational Life Sciences and the Advanced Center for Computing and Communication provide the framework needed to support the use of Japan’s high-performance computing infrastructure, and in particular the powerful K computer, by the scientific community within RIKEN and in Japan.