March 30, 2018

Embarking on a new chapter

Shigeo Koyasu, Executive Director, RIKEN


As this issue of RIKEN Research goes to press, we are preparing to embark on our fourth mid- to long-term plan, encompassing the period between April 2018 to March 2025. As part of our continual efforts to strengthen interdisciplinary work—already a hallmark of RIKEN's structure—we are planning to establish a new collaboration hub called the Cluster for Pioneering Research (CPR). While our national guidelines articulate our main mission—to conduct research and development—the organization’s charter described in the ‘RIKEN Act’ also calls for us to “raise the standards of science and technology” in Japan. Hence, we see pioneering new areas of science as an important component of our mission. The CPR will help us realize this objective. The CPR’s principal investigators will be guaranteed employment until retirement age and will run Chief Scientist Laboratories within the cluster. These principal investigators will engage in independent research, while developing new areas of science through collaboration with colleagues in different disciplines. In addition, we will work on improving the progress management of interdisciplinary RIKEN projects. We also hope to maximize Japan’s research output by encouraging the shared use of RIKEN’s cutting-edge equipment and facilities.

As one example of the interdisciplinary work conducted at RIKEN, the Single Cell Project is highlighted in this issue (page 28). This project was set up in collaboration with several life-science centers with the aim of better understanding cell behavior at a single-cell level—a major advance from the genomics division at RIKEN, which until now has primarily focused on the genomes of entire organisms.

Future issues will bring further updates on the new mid- to long-term plan.

(RIKEN Research 2018 Spring issue)