Message from JSPS President
SATOMI Susumu, M. D., Ph. D.
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) was established with an imperial endowment in 1932. Since its founding, JSPS’s mission has been to advance science. As Japan’s premier research funding agency, JSPS carries out a diverse program that includes funding scientific research, fostering young researchers, promoting international scientific exchange, and supporting the reform and globalization of universities. As JSPS works vigorously in carrying out this program, it focuses on supporting researchers in ways that give them a stable and sustainable environment for advancing their work.
Scientific research driven by researchers’ own free ideas is the catalyst that generates new knowledge and the wellspring of innovation. Over recent years, Japanese scientists who’ve won the Nobel Prize have testified to the pivotal role that JSPS’s Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) have played in giving them the ability to independently challenge ground-breaking research, motivated by their own innate ideas. JSPS continues to bolster the KAKENHI program by carrying out next-generation reforms to its operation that include the streamlining of its application screening system.
These days, young researchers find themselves stuck in an environment adverse to their prospects of leading a rewarding academic career. Dr. YOSHINO Akira, winner of a Nobel Prize in 2019 for his milestone work on lithium-ion batteries, spoke about his own early research career at a seminar co-sponsored by JSPS and the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering, saying that most research qualified to win a Nobel Prize is carried out during the researcher’s younger years. This bespeaks the urgent need to create environments in which young researchers can, with a vision of their own futures, apply themselves to advancing challenging research. For them to be able to do so is of particular importance amid present concerns over the waning of Japan’s scientific prowess.
In 2019, JSPS launched a new program called the Cross-border Postdoctoral Fellowship to support talented young researchers who take on challenging research both in Japan and overseas. The KAKENHI program expands opportunities for young researchers to challenge exciting new frontiers of science. Through its Research Fellowships, JSPS provides excellent young researchers opportunities to concentrate on their work and chances to hone their skills via international experience. Concurrently, JSPS is retooling its KAKENHI program to further strengthen grant support for young researchers.
In 2020, JSPS entered the third year of its 4th Mid-term Plan and Objectives, set into motion in April 2018. Within that framework, JSPS continues to implement its programs in ways that accord to the needs of researchers while striving in pursuit of its mandate to support the activities of researchers who boldly challenge the pioneering of new knowledge. Towards this end, JSPS continues to innovate and reform our KAKENHI program, to support excellent young researchers, and to promote international research collaboration.
As we pursue JSPS’s mission in these ways, we ask for your greatly appreciated cooperation and support.
SATOMI Susumu, M. D., Ph. D.
Speeches by the former president