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RIKEN Female PI Oral History Project: The Path to PI

In a country with persistently low numbers of women researchers and research leaders, it is incredibly important for young women researchers to incorporate the wisdom of their predecessors. RIKEN, through a partnership with Elsevier Foundation, is mapping the journeys of distinguished Japanese women scientists with a series of interviews, shedding light on challenges and best practices in their project Envisioning Futures.

We interviewed female PIs, focusing on how they acquired leadership and laboratory management skills and how they overcame challenges as PIs, especially the establishment of management policies through experiential learning and the process of trial and error, and will summarize them as oral histories. By doing so and formalizing and disseminating the experience accumulated by female PIs as tacit knowledge, we will accelerate the development of female researchers aiming for leadership positions. Also, through these oral histories, we would expect to find tips for the next generation of aspiring leaders.

Image of Sodeoka

Lab management style of delegating responsibility and authority to young researchers
Mikiko Sodeoka, Chief Scientist (Ph.D.)
Synthetic Organic Chemistry Laboratory, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research
Interviewed: February 7, 2023

Image of Imamoto

Managing a lab where everyone feels like they belong
Naoko Imamoto, Chief Scientist (Ph.D.)
Cellular Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research
Interviewed: December 7, 2022

Image of Mataga

The path to leader of research support
Nobuko Mataga, Unit Leader (Ph.D.)
Support Unit for Bio-Material Analysis, Research Resources Division, RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Interviewed: September 20, 2022

Image of Reiko Mazuka

Interdisciplinary lab management
Reiko Mazuka, Laboratory Head (Ph.D.)
Laboratory for Language Development, RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Interviewed: June 28, 2022

Image of Yukiko Goda

Lab management that avoids polarization
Yukiko Goda, Team Leader (Ph.D.)
Laboratory for Synaptic Plasticity and Connectivity, RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Interviewed: April 22, 2022