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JSPS's Mid-term Objectives and Plan

On 1 October 2003, JSPS was reorganized and newly established as an "independent administrative institution." This change in legal status gives JSPS and other newly formed independent institutions the latitude to more efficiently and effectively conduct their operations. Within this context, they are given 3-5 year objectives (mid-term objectives) by their competent ministries, in JSPS's case the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). To meet these mid-term objectives, each institution drafts a mid-term plan and implements it with the approval of its competent ministry.

Accordingly, JSPS has established a mid-term plan of 4.5 years. In it, JSPS's main programs remain the same as in the past; namely, funding research, fostering researchers, and furthering international scientific cooperation.

The following is an outline of JSPS's Mid-term Objectives and Plan

Outline of Mid-term Objectives < Provisional Translation >
[Implementation period: Oct 2003 thru Mar 2008 (4.5 years)]

  1. Roles to be played by JSPS

    Scientific research conducted by researchers at universities and other institutions is a universal, intellectually creative pursuit of truth and new systems of knowledge. Scientific research, especially that which springs from researchers' free ideas and zest for the work, plays a vital role in the creation of new knowledge. By generating such knowledge assets shared by humankind, Japan can make its unique intellectual contributions to global society, while ensuring its own development as a "nation based on creativity of science and technology". Research of this sort needs to be both expanded and further diversified.

    To support the stable implementation of this kind of research activities, other countries have established independent funding agencies to provide grants and other research support. As these agencies have been shown to play a critical role in advancing research, the need to establish similar institutions in Japan has been advocated by the Council for Science and Technology Policy.

    The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is, as an "independent administrative institution," Japan's core organization for advancing scientific research. As such, JSPS administers programs of research grants, fellowships, international exchange, and social enrichment research based on the Japanese government's Science and Technology Basic Plan and other S&T policies. To complement such programs, JSPS also surveys and researches scientific trends both in and outside Japan and the science promotion policies of other countries for the implementation and further development of its programs.

    As a funding agency advancing scientific research in Japan, JSPS seeks to be an internationally recognized institution that enjoys the confidence of researchers and research institutions both within Japan and abroad.


  2. Improve Efficiency of Management and Operations

    • Reduce administrative expenses (including personnel costs) by at least 13% during the implementation period, using the FY2002 budget as a benchmark. Improve the cost efficiency of other programs (excluding competitive funding) by at least 1% year on year during the implementation period.
    • To improve the abilities of JSPS personnel and ensure effective program staffing, conduct strict evaluations of employees' skills and performance and reflect the results in their compensation.


  3. Improve Quality of Public Service and Other Operations

    (1) Overall Operation

    • Thoroughly conduct self-assessments, external reviews, and interim and posterior program reviews.
    • Strengthen program planning functions and improve operations by reflecting the views of researchers in their implementation. Develop programs in the most effective way to achieve optimal results.
    • Streamline systems and procedures so that operations can be more effectively carried out, and the burden placed on researchers reduced.

    (2) Funding for Scientific Research

    • Ensure that the government's system for distributing MEXT Grants-in-Aid is administered cohesively with the Ministry, and implemented in both an appropriate and effective manner.

    (3) Support for Fostering Researchers

    • Carry out funding activities for fostering excellent researchers by encouraging their research progress through a variety of programs that accord to diverse objectives and researcher demographics.
    • With such programs, place emphasis on fostering researchers across a wide spectrum of fields from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences, and implement them in a manner that is both systematic and ongoing and that takes into account the characteristics of each field. In so doing, attention is to be given to supporting students enrolled in a doctoral course.
    • In selecting candidates for each program, ensure the process is autonomous, transparent and fair. Appropriately select excellent young researchers based on the objectives and eligibility requirements of each program.

    (4) Promote International Scientific Cooperation

    • Create research networks among advanced nations to strengthen support for cutting-edge research, while advancing research partnerships with other Asian countries.
    • Expand both international researcher exchanges and international seminars held both in and outside Japan so as to support, foster, and secure outstanding researchers capable of conducting international activities.
    • Abolish or revamp programs rendered unnecessary by changes in the domestic or international milieu or by the state of their performance.

    (5) Support Social Enrichment Research
    Advance project-based research on selected subjects that meet a range of academic and societal needs and that will contribute to the development of Japanese society and the solution of social issues.



Outline of Mid-term Plan < Provisional Translation >

  1. Improve Efficiency of Management and Operations

    • Reduce administrative expenses (including personnel costs) by at least 13% during the implementation period, using the FY2002 budget as a benchmark. Improve the cost efficiency of other programs (excluding competitive funding) by at least 1% year on year during the implementation period.
    • Heighten employee initiative by strictly evaluating their work performance and reflecting the results in their compensation, including granting of special pay raises on one hand or deferment of regular pay raises on the other. Make staffing assignments that precisely match employee capabilities so as to enable more effective and efficient operations.


  2. Improve Quality of Public Service and Other Operations

    (1) Overall Program

    • Conduct self-assessments and external reviews each year to evaluate its operations and the state of each program both from an efficiency and effectiveness point of view. Publish the results on JSPS's internet homepage and through other media in a manner that is easy for the public to understand.
    • Improve the operations of the Research Center for Science Systems within JSPS, and make fixed-term assignments of personnel with research experience to it. The Center will provide recommendations and advice on the full spectrum of JSPS's programs and operations, and will conduct studies and research on science-promotion policies and scientific trends, and participate in program selection and evaluation functions.
    • To enhance services to researchers, make available electronic application guidelines and forms in at least 90% of JSPS's programs. Also, electronically receive applications in at least 50% of its openly solicited grant and fellowship programs.

    (2) Funding for Scientific Research

    • Implement the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Program effectively in accordance with the government's system and policy, and develop an appropriate evaluation procedure for the program.
    • Utilize the functions of the Research Center for Science Systems to study and plan various research-funding programs.

    (3) Support for Fostering Researchers

    • Ensure the systematic and ongoing implementation of programs, such as Research Fellowships for Young Scientists, that provide funding for a stipulated period of time to talented young researchers among doctoral course students and postdoctoral researchers.
    • Within the Research Fellowships for Young Scientists Program, establish a variety of eligibility categories and an annual recruitment plan based on the characteristics of each research field, and carry out selections from a wide variety of fields in a systematic and ongoing manner. In so doing, increase the number of awards to doctoral course students in accordance with transitions in the overall student population.
    • Appropriately select awardees who have superior abilities and qualities using a competitive selection system.

    (4) Promote International Scientific Cooperation

    • In cooperation with science-promotion agencies of other countries, conduct bilateral and multilateral programs that include such activities as joint research projects, seminars, and researcher exchanges. Support the self-generated international exchange activities of Japanese researchers.
    • Among openly recruited programs, abolish or revamp at least 10% of those for which the number of applicants is small or the selection ratio is extremely high.
    • Endeavor to elevate participant satisfaction in JSPS's programs, and conduct surveys with an aim of obtaining a positive response ratio of at least 80%.

    (5) Support Social Enrichment Research
    Implement project-based research to promote advances in the humanities and social sciences based on the June 2002 report of MEXT's Council for Science and Technology.