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Seeking a Chief Scientist (Principal Investigator) (Geomicrobiology) (M23W01)


RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research

Research Field and Overview

RIKEN's research is based on comprehensiveness and interdisciplinarity, and with free thinking as its basic philosophy, RIKEN promotes research that goes beyond the boundaries of conventional research fields, while at the same time responding to the needs of society from a strategic perspective.

RIKEN invites applications for the position of Chief Scientist (Principal Investigator) to serve in a leadership position in the following research area. The successful candidate will be responsible for directing research projects from a medium-to-long-term perspective.

Field: Geomicrobiology

Microorganisms are a huge group of organisms that occupy approximately half of the total biomass of all life on earth, but until recently they have been out of the scope of modern microbiology research because more than 99.9% of them are likely difficult to cultivate. They are called "microbial dark matter" and represent a huge unexplored area in terms of the origin and evolution of life, the understanding of ecosystems on earth, as well as the search for useful genetic resources. This call is open to researchers who are investigating either one or more of the ecology and metabolism of microorganisms living in all environments on Earth, including the deep sea and crust, the origin of life, the evolutionary processes of early life, understanding the global ecosystem through research on adaptation to extreme environments and symbiosis, expansion to life on other planets and universe, the search for useful genetic resources including unknown primitive metabolic systems, and synthetic biology using such resources. The successful candidate will be a next-generation leader in the field of geomicrobiology.

The successful candidate will be appointed as a PI (professor-level) of the Cluster for Pioneering Research and will be free to pursue his/her own research based on a long-term vision working in collaboration with other laboratories, while aiming to create a new science that transcends the boundaries of research fields and organizations.

For an overview of the Cluster for Pioneering Research organization, please refer to RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research.

Open Positions

Chief Scientist (Principal Investigator): 1 position (full professor level)


Applicants must have an outstanding research record and the ability to lead the above research field internationally. We welcome applicants of all nationalities.

Work location

Branch and address

In principle, RIKEN Wako Campus (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198)

*Laboratory location will be decided according to the nature of the research undertaken.

Salary and Benefits

The post is an indefinite-term employment position, subject to RIKEN's mandatory retirement age of 60. There is a re-employment program to hire individuals as fixed-term employees from age 60 to age 65. After evaluation, it is possible to keep the principal investigator position until age 65. This position does NOT offer a retirement allowance.

In principle, the first two months of employment are considered a trial period.

Salary will be an annual salary based on experience, ability, and performance, and will consist of a base salary of 708,000 JPY (paid monthly) and a variable salary. The monthly base salary is subject to change due to amendments to RIKEN regulations. The variable salary will be determined each fiscal year based on experience, ability, and performance. Commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied. Bonuses or retirement benefits will not be paid.
(Approximate annual salary at the time of employment)
The annual salary at the time of employment, in the case that the employee has experience, ability, and achievement of approximately 15 years after completion of their doctoral degree, will be approximately 10.5 million JPY.
Membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai) is mandatory.

Work hours: 9:00 to 17:20 (lunch break 12:00 to 12:50) iin principle. However, employee may change starting and ending times at their own discretion if it does not interfere with work performance.
Days off include public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.
Paid leave includes annual paid leave (up to 20 days depending on the month of employment), special paid leave (childcare, family nursing care, etc.), and work life balance holidays (up to 7 days depending on the month of employment).
There are also additional leave systems such as maternity leave, childcare leave, and family nursing care leave.
RIKEN has introduced telework as a temporary and special measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. You may be asked to work from home according to the instructions of the institute. You can also choose to work from home with the permission of your supervisor.

Smoking is not permitted on site except in designated smoking areas. Smoking will be entirely prohibited on site from April 2024.

These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.

RIKEN may require changes of responsibilities, job category, and work place based on RIKEN regulations due to management decisions, budgetary situation, and organizational restructuring.

RIKEN is actively undertaking initiatives to promote gender equality and diversity, and moving forward with the establishment of a diverse and vibrant research environment. If multiple candidates are found to have the same aptitude following a fair assessment, active efforts will be made to recruit female candidates.

Staff are also eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before fiscal year 2003 and are also eligible to apply for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi).

Rights and Responsibilities

  • Required to participate in RIKEN management activities in addition to conducting research in the area described above as a laboratory head.
  • Eligible to apply for competitive funding from within and outside RIKEN.
  • Eligible to host indefinite-term researchers, fixed-term researchers, Special Postdoctoral Researchers and Junior Research Associates.
  • Eligible to apply for the purchase of commodities, and laboratory space.
  • Responsible for overseeing laboratory members, managing the laboratory budget and handling the maintenance and use of all laboratory equipment and instruments.

Application and Required Documents

Required documents

All the application documents should be prepared in English or Japanese.

  • 1.CV (include your contact email address)
  • 2.List of your research and technical development (lists of publications (divide into sections for original papers, reviews, and others), patents, invited talks, etc.)
  • 3.List of competitive research funds received, awards received, and other achievements including, contributions to university/institution operations, contribution to society through activities in scientific societies, joint research projects, technology transfers, etc.
  • 4.Outline of your research and technical development to date (2 pages, A4 size)
  • 5.Your future plan for research and technical development if you are accepted for the position (4 pages, A4 size)
  • 6.Your ideas on how you expect to manage your laboratory and mentor young researchers if you are accepted for the position (1 page, A4 size)
  • 7.One set of copies of your main papers (maximum number: 5)
  • 8.Full names and contact information, including email addresses, of three researchers (including international (overseas) researchers) who are able to evaluate your research.
  • 9.Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR
    If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are required to submit the document, "Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR" with your signature.

    *You will find detailed information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the following website:
    Data protection | European Commission

How to apply

The application documents (items 1 to 9) combined into a single PDF file should be uploaded to the following link:
For Chief Scientist (Principal Investigator) (Geomicrobiology), RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research (M23W01)

The file name of the PDF should contain your contact email address.
After you uploaded the PDF, please let us (kjk-desk [at] riken.jp) know the file name of the uploaded file.
If a confirmation email is not received within 7 days after submission, please contact: kjk-desk [at] riken.jp.

Note: All the submitted documents will not be returned.


The application must arrive no later than noon, September 30, 2022 (Japan Standard Time)

Handling of Personal Data

Submitted documents are strictly protected under the RIKEN Privacy Policy and will be used only for the purpose of applicant screening. Personal information will not be disclosed, transferred or loaned to a third party under any circumstances without just cause.

Selection process

After application documents are screened, only the successful candidates will be asked to have an interview. The interview will be held on November 18 or 24, 2022.
There will be final interviews with RIKEN executive directors as part of the hiring process.

Start of Employment

RIKEN expects that the successful candidate will be able to take up this position at the earliest opportunity on or after June 1, 2023.

Contact Information

For research-related inquiries

Yoichi Shinkai, head of the selection committee (Chief Scientist, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research)
Email: yshinkai [at] riken.jp

For other inquiries

Email: kjk-desk [at] riken.jp
Contact by phone is not available.