October 6, 2017

RIKEN’s direction under the next mid- to long-term plan

picture of Shuichiro Itakura

Shuichiro Itakura, Executive Director, RIKEN

Since assuming my position as RIKEN’s newest executive director in April this year, I have been focusing on the organization’s management plan and general affairs. This year is a particularly important one for the institute since we will embark on a new seven-year plan next April and discussions regarding this matter are already underway.

One major topic in has been how we can strengthen our research in big data analysis and artificial intelligence in line with the goals of the government-led Science and Technology Basic Plan including to create a ‘super smart society’—dubbed Society 5.0. Another key discussion point has been the need to reorganize our life science centers so that we can strategically tackle issues such as how to create a healthy society for the aged.

A major focus will be efforts to pioneer new areas of science by encouraging interdisciplinary research. And, of course, we will continue to maintain and improve our world-leading infrastructure centers including SPring-8, the K computer and the RI Beam Factory, which we make available to researchers around the world. Of significance will also be the adoption of cutting-edge technology so that we can lead the way in all areas, as mandated by our new status as a Designated National Research and Development Institute.

For researchers, we will be working to provide increased career stability with the adoption of a system of indefinite-term employment. As always, we hope to continue to actively recruit young researchers from Japan and abroad, to develop RIKEN into a science-and-technology hub, and to strengthen our links with the private sector with these initiatives.

All of these efforts will go hand in hand with the current work that President Matsumoto announced under the RIKEN Initiative for Scientific Excellence. We will continue to flesh out our plan in anticipation of the first quarter of next year, when we will take our first steps into our second century of existence.

(RIKEN Research 2017 Fall issue)