December 22, 2017

Making sure Japanese science counts

Hiroshi Matsumoto, President, RIKEN

There has been a great deal of concern in Japan recently regarding the international competitiveness of the scientific research conducted in the country. As a result, at RIKEN, we are planning a series of reforms to address these problems, which I explain in detail on page 29. These reforms will become major parts of our next mid- to long-term plan, which we will embark on in April next year.

One of the key features of these changes will be to install systems that make sure that our discoveries at RIKEN are more effectively funneled into innovation pipelines and put into use by industry. The ultimate aim is both to raise the level of science and technology in Japan and to help us to better contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society. With regards to the latter, I would like to draw your attention to a report on the Sixth Global Summit of Research Institute Leaders, which you will find on page 9. This year, leaders of 20 institutions from 12 countries gathered in Kyoto to discuss how we can work together as global research institute leaders to further global sustainability goals.

Also, as an exciting example of work researchers at RIKEN have performed that could lead to a more energy efficient and healthy society, scientists from one of our laboratories at the Center for Emergent Matter Science have developed a stretchable photovoltaic cell that can be incorporated into clothing and can even be put through the wash. These solar cells could be used to power biosensors integrated into our clothing. The details of that work are on page 26 of this issue.

(RIKEN Research 2017 Winter issue)