On April 1, 2013 RIKEN entered a new phase with the beginning of a new five-year term accompanied by a complete structural reorganization. New centers were created, new priorities set, and RIKEN is now ready to embark on five more years of outstanding, world-leading research.
New research focus
RIKEN's activities over the next five years will be defined by the Japanese government's fourth Basic Plan for Science and Technology, which fosters research leading to innovation, in an effort to speed up the reconstruction efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.
RIKEN will continue to pursue basic research, but will also focus on finding solutions for critical scientific, technical and societal issues, with a special focus on green innovation and innovation in the life sciences. In order to meet these objectives five new RIKEN centers were created.
Research for a more sustainable future
Three of the new RIKEN centers are dedicated to research that will contribute to building a more sustainable future. The Center for Emergent Matter Science brings together RIKEN’s strength in materials science to create more energy-efficient materials and devices. Researchers at the Center for Advanced Photonics will develop new technologies based on advances in photonics research. The Center for Sustainable Resource Science concentrates on research in three key areas—carbon, nitrogen, and metal research—to decreases society’s impact on the environment.
Life science innovation
Two new centers will contribute to RIKEN’s work in the life sciences with a view to strengthening its efforts and advances in health and medical research. The Center for Integrative Medical Sciences focuses on medical research for the development of personalized medicine, while the Center for Life Science Technologies aims to integrate RIKEN’s life science technology research to foster innovation in drug development, medical care, and healthcare science. In addition, the Preventive Medicine & Diagnosis Innovation Program was set up to promote collaborations within RIKEN and with universities, research institutes and hospitals both inside and outside Japan.
To encourage cooperation between centers under this mission-based structure, new independent laboratories will be created, headed by Chief Scientists who are encouraged to do interdisciplinary work and pioneer new areas of research. In addition, a Global Research Cluster has been set up to strengthen RIKEN’s research partnerships both in Japan and overseas.