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June 29, 2018

Meeting social needs by maximizing on basic research

Hiroshi Matsumoto

Hiroshi Matsumoto, President, RIKEN


This is the first issue of RIKEN Research published after the institute has embarked on a fourth mid- to long-term plan, in effect from April 2018 to March 2025. Under this new plan, we have reorganized our life-science centers to encourage further interdisciplinary collaboration. We have also set up a number of new systems to ensure that our research output is maximized and that the results are returned to society in line with the industrious RIKEN spirit first articulated by Masatoshi Okochi, the third president of RIKEN (for details, see my Perspectives article).

One of the major objectives of the new plan is to continue to maintain the high quality of RIKEN’s basic research, a characteristic reflected in the number of top-quality articles RIKEN consistently publishes in prestigious journals. This will enable us to remain a top-tier global research institute and to carry on increasing our international standing.

However, another vital goal is to ensure that our science connects with society. To this end, we have established a new organization, the Innovation Design Office. ‘Innovation designers’ at this new office will help forge and foster long-term visions for research outcomes to ensure that the basic research we do contributes to the wider world.

Furthermore, to promote innovation, we aim to become an essential science and technology hub for Japan’s academic community and its industry partners. To help achieve this, we plan to establish a subsidiary company that will take RIKEN’s research breakthroughs and transform them into social innovation. In the coming year, Perspectives articles in RIKEN Research will introduce some of these new systems and research centers as well as the exciting work they are doing in new research fields.

(RIKEN Research 2018 Summer issue)