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Seeking a Team Leader (Principal Investigator) (K24004)


New team (Informatics Field (1): Foundation Models for Life Sciences),
RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research

Research Field

The RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) aims to understand the general principles of the temporal dynamics unfolding within living organisms throughout their lifespan, from embryonic development and birth to aging and death. Our interdisciplinary approaches to address this overarching theme include cell biology, molecular biology, structural biology, computational science, imaging, multi-omics, theory, stem cell biology, organoids, and the use of diverse animal models. In addition to striving to understanding the life cycle, the BDR plans to add life cycle prediction and control as major research aims going forward.

We are seeking to recruit a Team Leader (principal investigator) to conduct research and development of foundation models for life sciences. Foundation models, such as Large Language Models (LLMs), have seen remarkable developments in recent years, and AI models for scientific research have also reached a stage where they can be used in practical applications. The modeling of biological phenomena using foundation models and AI technologies is becoming the most critical task in the aim to understand and control complex biological phenomena. It is especially important in the life sciences to research and develop multimodal foundation models that integrate data from multiple modalities, and we expect to see advances in model-driven life science research that employs AI models. RIKEN launched the Advanced General Intelligence for Science Program (TRIP-AGIS) in FY2024 as part of the Transformative Research Innovation Platform of RIKEN platforms (TRIP) project to strongly promote research and development of foundation models and AI technologies. In this recruitment call, we are looking for someone with a high level of insight in the field of AI, including experience with large-scale machine learning, and who is willing to take on the challenges of research and development of foundation models for the TRIP-AGIS project and the BDR from the perspective of their application to life sciences. The successful candidate will have the ability to build and lead an internationally competitive research team in the successful research and development of large-scale foundation models, and to collaborate with experimental and computational laboratories within and outside RIKEN, as well as contribute to the international scientific community.

- Opportunities provided by BDR -

BDR provides Principal Investigators (PIs) with an excellent environment for their independent research, including internationally competitive start-up packages (approximately 20 million JPY; negotiable as needed) and annual research funds (more than 25 million JPY per year). Early career PIs will be well supported by experienced senior BDR PIs. New PIs will be provided with approximately 150 m2 of dedicated space for their laboratory. The PI and lab members will have access to computational resources dedicated to large-scale AI models, which will be introduced in the near future. They will also have access to RIKEN-wide data including a variety of life science data generated by the TRIP-AGIS program, as well as access to automated experimental systems using robots. PIs will also have opportunities for active collaborations with medical institutions and industry, and for mentoring graduate students through several joint graduate school programs with affiliated graduate schools. For more information, please visit the BDR website / PI recruitment introduction.

RIKEN is actively undertaking initiatives to promote gender equality and diversity and moving forward to establish a more diverse and vibrant research environment.
The working language for all discussions open to BDR members is English.

There is currently a separate recruitment call for a Team Leader (principal investigator) for the Informatics field (2) (K24005) at the RIKEN BDR. It is possible to apply for both positions.

Job title and Job description

Positions available

Team Leader

Number of positions

1 position

Job description

  • 1.Manage, conduct and promote research activities as a principal investigator.
  • 2.Tasks related to operations of the Center (contribute to committees, events, outreach activities, etc.)

The job description may be changed during the contract period or upon contract renewal to the extent described above.


  • 1.A holder of Ph.D. or equivalent degree.
  • 2.Has relevant knowledge, experience and ability to oversee and carry out the research projects outlined under Research Field.

Work location

RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (Kobe Campus-East-West)
2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047(Developmental Biology Buildings) or
6-7-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047(MI R&D Center Building) or
6-7-1 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047(Integrated Innovation Building)

RIKEN has implemented a work-from-home system. Employees can work from home in accordance with the prescribed procedures.
RIKEN may order the employee to change work locations, if necessary.

Salary and benefits

  • 1.One-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable up to 7 years from the initial date of hire. Based on the performance review results, the fixed-term contract can be renewed for additional 3 years (in total, a maximum of 10 years).
  • 2.RIKEN may adjust the above maximum period of renewability based on a) the employee’s abilities, workload at the time of contract completion, performance and work attitude and b) the continuation of the employee’s center, laboratory or project and RIKEN’s management situation and budget at the time. In principle, employment contracts will not be renewed for individuals older than 70 years.
  • 3.RIKEN has indefinite-term Team Leader positions, which are subject to the mandatory retirement age of 61 (applicable for fiscal year 2024). There is a subsequent re-employment program allowing hiring until the age of 65. Any RIKEN scientists, including fixed-term Team Leaders, are eligible to apply to open calls for indefinite-term positions.

In principle, the first two months of employment is considered a trial period.
Salary will be an annual salary based on experience, ability, and performance, and will consist of a base salary and a variable salary. The variable salary will be determined each fiscal year based on experience, ability, and performance. As of April 1, 2024, the monthly base salary is 720,000 JPY. The monthly base salary and variable salary are subject to change due to amendments to RIKEN regulations. Commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied.
The approximate amount of annual salary at the time of employment:
The annual salary at the time of employment for a candidate with 7 years of experience, ability, and achievement after completion of their doctoral course will be approximately 9.2 million JPY.

Mandatory membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai).

Work hours: Employees may change starting and ending times at their own discretion if it does not interfere with work performance.
In principle, regular work hours are 9:00 to 17:20 (lunch break 12:00 to 12:50).
The number of hours worked per month must not be less than the "prescribed monthly work hours".
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.

No smoking on site.
These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.

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.

The Kobe Branch has an on-site daycare, Po-I Kids Kobe. For details, please send an email to the HR at kobe-kosei [at] riken.jp.

*Information on daily life and diversity at BDR can be found at Careers & Study | RIKEN BDR.

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

Application and required documents

Required documents

  • 1.Curriculum vitae
    • *Please include the following information: your email and mailing address, current position, degree, education history, job history, and other relevant information helpful for evaluation.
    • *Application Number [K24004] should be clearly written in the margin on the top-right of the page.
  • 2.List of publications (categorized by original articles, review articles, books, conference presentations, invited lectures, grants, patents, and other)
  • 3.Copies of three papers selected from your achievements based on their relevance to your proposal (in PDF format).
  • 4.Summary of past research (about two A4-size pages)
  • 5.Research plan for the first 5 years and expected outcomes (approximately two A4-size pages)
  • 6.Name and contact information of three referees who can attest to your research capabilities or your suitability for the position.
    • *The submitted documents 1–5 above may be disclosed to the referees after they have agreed to maintain confidentiality of application details. If you do not wish for required documents 1–5 to be disclosed to a specific referee, please send the name of that referee to bdr-suishin-jinji [at] ml.riken.jp.
  • 7.Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR

How to apply

The above documents combined into a single ZIP file should be uploaded to the following link:

RIKEN/K24004 Application Box

  • Zip file name: K24004_position applying to_Applicant’s Name
  • The file name of each PDF file: K24004_position applying to_Applicant’s Name_submitted document No. (i.e. 1 through 7)
  • When uploading the application documents as a ZIP file to the BOX folder, please make sure to input your contact email address.
  • After uploading your application file, please inform us of the name of the file you uploaded by sending an email to: kobe-jobs [at] riken.jp. Please also ensure that you include your name and Job Ad number that are you applying for (K24004) in the same email.
  • If a confirmation email is not received within 7 days after submission, please contact: kobe-jobs [at] riken.jp.

*Please note that application documents will not be returned.


Applications must arrive no later than noon, Tuesday, July 2, 2024 (Japan Standard Time)

Handling Personal Data

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

Selection process

Selection will be made based on the screening of application documents and interviews.
After the initial document screening, only selected applicants will be invited for an interview.
Interview date: August 19, 2024 (in person at the RIKEN Kobe Campus)

  • *Interviews may also be carried out online depending on the situation.
  • *We cannot answer any questions regarding the contents of the examination.

Start of Employment

Negotiable (After November 1, 2024)

Contact information

For inquiries on this open position, please contact below by email:
Human Resources Section, Kobe Administrative Division, Kobe Branch, RIKEN, with the subject line "[K24004]
Regarding New Team Leader Recruitment” at kobe-jobs [at] riken.jp

If you have any research-related questions, please contact Dr. Makoto Taiji (Team Leader at RIKEN BDR): taiji [at] riken.jp