EURAXESS Links Japan NEWS – January 2011
Welcome to the January edition of the Euraxess Links Japan Newsletter.
For calls, this month there are again more calls being advertised in Europe than Japan. This is
the second such month and seems to be suggestive of a recent drop off in current openings in
Japan. For example, JREC-in, the Japanese jobs portal seem to have few new openings.
Every month there tend to be more than 100 English openings and over 1,600 Japanese
openings. This month JREC-in have only 70 English advertised positions and 1,400 Japanese
advertised positions. Whether this is a seasonal lull prior to the budget or following the relative
increase in positions before Christmas is not certain. If you have any ideas, please email.
Of the 22 or so calls we do feature, highlights from Japan include the numerous positions at
AIST, the BSI Summer Program, and the Toshiba International Foundation calls, amongst
others. In Europe, we highlight numerous grants such as the Homing Plus scheme to Poland,
the Newton International Fellowship to the UK, a number of grants in Germany both to
establish a group, or to do a PhD. From Holland, the Rubicon Scheme allows researchers at
Dutch institutions to spend some time overseas, or overseas researchers to spend some time
For call results we look at the recent announcements from the ERC which show the increasing
popularity of both the Advanced and Starting grants.
As normal, we provide a brief outline of event announcements, of which there are many.
We will also have our drink night on the 25th February in Meguro. We hope you can make
Recent news and developments include the publication of the Innovation Union Scoreboard
which places Sweden as the most innovative country in Europe, and suggests that Japan’s
performance far exceeds that of the EU. Secondly, we report on moves underway by METI to
reduce tax rates for R&D performing companies as an attempt to attract high level inward
investment. They are also to review immigration policies for high level personnel. Thirdly, we
report on a new governmental level initiative to strengthen cooperation between Europe and Japan. Finally, we look at nanotechnology research in Japan by reference to a recent report.
In wishing you a very successful month ahead,
EURAXESS Links Japan
1. Recent Calls
ERC: Advanced Researcher Grant
These are to encourage & support excellent, innovative investigator-initiated research projects. Applicants are expected to be active researchers who have a track-record of significant research achievements in the last 10 years.
Although there are no restrictions regarding age, nationality, or current place of residence, the Principal Investigators should be exceptional leaders in terms of originality and significance of their research contributions.
Applications are welcome in any discipline with the following deadlines:
- Life Sciences (10 March)
- Social Sciences & Humanities (6 April)
IRSES: International Research Staff Exchange Scheme
Japan is eligible to participate as it has a Science and Technology Agreement with the European Union.
Support will be provided for a period of 24-48 months. The maximum duration of the individual staff exchanges is 12 months, which can be split into several exchange periods within the total duration of the programme. During this period, joint research, joint training, joint workshops, seminars or other networking activities could be performed.
A minimum of three partners are required (two from EU Member States or Associated Countries + one other country). To provide one example: an Austrian and a Hungarian university could develop an exchange programme with a research institute in Japan.
All fields of research are relevant and are to be chosen by the researchers.
In 2008, 2 project submissions were received from Japan (1 was funded). In 2009, 14 project submissions were received (11 were funded).
Deadline for applications is 17 March 2011.
Further information is available from Cordis – click the Guide for Applicants page.
FP7/JST Call in the Environment Field
supported by FP7 and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Projects will be funded for up to 36 months;
The budget limit is 22.5m Yen.
Applications in Japanese or English to JST.
Deadline: 22 February 2011.
Further Information: JST
Marie Curie & other jobs in Europe
There are a total of 877 research related positions currently advertised on the Euraxess Portal.
ERASMUS Mundus Students
and doctoral candidates from all over the world to follow Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses and Joint Doctorates.
Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and promote interchange between people and cultures. In addition, it contributes to the development of human resources and the international cooperation capacity of higher education institutions by increasing mobility between the European Union and other countries.
The call includes the following joint programmes:
- Erasmus Mundus Joint Programme
- Erasmus Mundus Partnerships, which enable the organisation and implementation of student, researcher and staff mobility.
Applicant institutions must be in the European Union (or an EEA-EFTA country, Turkey, the Western Balkans, or Switzerland). Partners can be from any country; as too can Associate Members (see the Programme Guide for further information).
This Compendium provides some current examples of Japanese participation.
Deadline: 29 April
Further Information: Erasmus Mundus
Estonia: ERMOS Postdoctoral Positions
opened calls for applications from applicants seeking postdoctoral work in Estonia in late January.
Funding is provided for a period of 2 or 3 years. Applicants should have a PhD and should apply through their prospective host supervisor.
Relocation expenses are eligible.
Deadline: 2 March
Further Information: Estonian Science Foundation
Europe: Alain Bensoussan Fellowship Programme (ERCIM)
offers fellowships for PhD holders from all over the world.
Topics cover most disciplines in Computer Science, Information
Technology, and Applied Mathematics.
The duration is 24 months.
Deadline: 30 April
Further Information: ERCIM
Germany: Anneliese Maier Research Award
Nominations for the research award can be made for researchers from abroad.
The awardees are expected to spend a period of up to five years cooperating on a long-term research project with the nominator and / or specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany.
Five awards will be made annually. Funding per award is up to 250,000.
Deadline for nominations: 31 May 2011
Further Information: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Germany: Doctoral Fellowships at Mannheim University
at the University of Mannheim in Germany are offering 45 doctoral fellowships in business, economics, and social sciences.
Deadline: 15 April
Further Information: Mannheim University
Germany: Helmholtz Young Investigators Groups
2 - 6 years after they have been conferred their doctorate (child-rearing periods will be taken into consideration) who would like to participate in a Helmholtz programme.
The candidates must have completed a continuous 6-month research period abroad during a doctorate or a post-doctorate phase.
The most important selection criterion is the outstanding quality of the applicants.
20 Young Investigators Groups will be sponsored for 5 years. Funding of up to 250,000 per year will be provided.
Research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, and Aeronautics, Space and Transport.
Deadline: 31 March
Further Information: Helmholtz Gemeinschaft
Germany: Doctoral Fellowships in Japanese studies
University Duisburg-Essen invites applications to its English-language doctoral program from candidates with advanced language skills in Chinese or Japanese, and a strong MA (or equivalent) degree in Economics, Political Science, Sociology, and Geography or in social scientific East Asian Regional Studies.
Seven doctoral fellowships will be awarded in 2011 for an initial one-year period of support, with a renewal option for a total three-year stipend.
Application deadline is March 15, 2011 for admission in
Further Information: Duisburg University
Holland: Rubicon Programme (NWO)
and research institutes run by KNAW and NWO to gain international experience for up to 2 years.
Researchers from abroad are also eligible to apply to spend time at a research institute in Holland.
Postgraduates who are currently engaged in doctoral research or who have been awarded a doctorate in the twelve months preceding the relevant deadline.
Programme provides funding for a period of up to two years at an institution outside the Netherlands or at a Dutch institution.
Deadline: 31 March
Further Information: NWO
Ireland: President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (SFI)
The programme aims to attract young researchers currently based around the world to carry out their research in Ireland.
Awardees will be selected on the basis of exceptional accomplishments in science and engineering that underpin Biotechnology, Information and Communications technology, and Energy, and on the basis of creative research plans.
Funding will be provided for 5 years with a total value of €1m.
Applicants should have been awarded their PhD within the past 8 years and 36 months of postdoctoral research.
Deadline: Rolling Call, applicants accepted from 14 February.
Further Information: Science Foundation Ireland
Japan: AIST Research Scientist Positions
have opened recruitment opportunities for researchers in the following fields:
- Life Sciences
- Information Technology
- Nanotechnology & Materials
- Environment and Energy
- Metrology and Measurement Technology
- Geological Survey and Applied Geoscience
Most positions are for 5 years or permanent. See the specific research fields on the AIST homepage for precise information.
If you are applying for multiple positions, the deadline is 28 February.
If you are applying for 1 position, the deadline is 15 March.
Further Information: AIST
Japan: Global Relations Office (RIKEN)
and Communications Section of the Global Relations Office at RIKEN’s Headquarters.
The employee will be a university graduate with at least 5 years of experience translating Japanese to English. 3 year contract.
Deadline: 18 February
Further Information: RIKEN
are recruiting a senior scientist to work in the Near Term Climate Prediction Research Group.
The applicant should have a PhD and can be of any nationality.
Deadline: 28 February
Further Information: JAMSTEC
Japan: Nagoya University: Career Development Office for International Students
running of the Career Development Office for international students.
Deadline: 28 February
Further Information: Nagoya University
Japan: National Institute of Materials Science
have some openings in the International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS).
All applicants must have received their PhD within the past 10 years.
Deadline: 31 March
Further Information: NIMS
Japan: RIKEN Brain Science Institute Summer Program 2011
Applicants may choose either a two-month laboratory internship (Plan A) within a RIKEN BSI laboratory, or an intensive 7-day lecture course (Plan B) featuring a distinguished international faculty.
Typically, around 45 international students are accepted to the Summer Program each year. Attendees have wide-ranging academic backgrounds and are usually enrolled in graduate courses, or have recently embarked on postdoctoral research.
Internship and lecture: 15 June - 10 August
Lecture: 12-20 July
Deadline for applications: 15 March 2011
Further Information: RIKEN BSI
Japan: Positions at RIKEN
Some highlights include the following:
- Launey Lab - postdoctoral researcher (deadline: until filled)
- Administrative Employee in the Strategies and Communications Section, Deadline: 18 Feb.
See the RIKEN Career Opportunities page for the full list of openings.
Japan: Toshiba International Foundation Fellowships
are inviting applications on behalf of the Toshiba International Foundation. The EAJS Council selects candidates for a fellowship to undertake research in Japan.
Applications are invited for Toshiba International Foundation scholarships for a three-month stay in Japan to be completed by the end of March 2012.
Applicants must be doctoral students, and they must be specialising in some branch of Japanese studies at an institution in Europe.
Application Deadline: 1 April 2011
Further Information: EIJS
Poland: Homing Plus (FNP)
The programme is also open to young PhDs who are citizens of other countries but interested in spending a postdoctoral fellowship in Poland.
Applicants should hold a doctorate (within the past 4 years) and have been abroad over a continued period longer than 9 months.
Deadline: 15 March
Further Information: FNP
Poland: Kolumb Programme (FNP)
for researchers from Polish research institutes or hold Polish citizenship.
The duration of the fellowships are from 6 to 12 months) at the world’s leading research centres.
Deadline: 1 March
Further Information: FNP
UK: Daiwa Foundation Grants
The Daiwa Foundation Small Grants provide funding in the region of 3,000-7,000 GBP to promote and support interaction between the UK and Japan.
The Daiwa Foundation Awards provide funding of 7,000 to 15,000 GBP to support collaborative projects.
Deadlines for both: 31 March
Further Information: DAJF
UK: Newton International Fellowships
and the Royal Society and aim to attract the most promising early-career post-doctoral researchers from overseas in the fields of the humanities, the natural, physical and social sciences.
The Fellowships enable researchers to work for two years at a UK research institution with the aim of fostering long-term international collaborations.
The scheme is open to post-doctoral (and equivalent) early-career researchers working outside the UK who do not hold UK citizenship.
Deadline: 4 April
Further Information: Royal Society
UK: Overseas Conference Grants (British Academy)
have published the call for Overseas Conference Grants. This allows UK based scholars to deliver a paper at a conference abroad.
Deadline: 2 March
Further Information: British Academy
Final Calls: Calls Highlighted in Recent Newsletters
Prior coverage can also be found in past newsletters.
2. Event Announcements
Drinks Night: 25 February
a well stocked bar with a rich collection of beers from various corners of the World, and nice food.
See here for the map:
From 8pm on Friday, 25 February.
Please call me if you have any difficulty finding the bar: 090 5153 0886
Death of Massive Stars: Supernovae and Gamma-Ray Bursts
drawing on new results and looking at new developments in the field.
Date: 18-22 April
Location: Nikko, Japan
Further Information: TITECH
Deadline for abstracts: 30 April
Further Information: Casi at Osaka University
ESF-JSPS Frontier Science Conference
to provide young European and Japanese researchers with opportunities to receive lectures from leading international experts.
Conference theme: “Cutting Edge Immunology and its Clinical Application”.
ISETS: International Symposium on EcoTopia Science 2011
Abstract Submission: 31 August
Date: 9-11 December 2011
Location: Nagoya University
Further Information: Nagoya University
MANA International Symposium
will hold their annual international symposium at Epochal Tsukuba. Talks will be given by two Nobel Laureates, Klaus von Klitzing and Heinrich Rohrer. Full details from the website below.
Call for posters by 22 December.
Date: 2-4 March, 2011
Further Information: MANA
Nano Bio Expo 2011
Featuring talks from Japanese researchers, and scientists from UC Berkeley and the IMEC centre in Belgium.
Date: 9 March
Further Information: NIMS
Technology Management - Perspectives from Europe
featuring talks from Japanese experts and invited speakers from Cambridge University in the UK.
Date: 25 February
Location: JAIST Tokyo Satellite Office, Shinagawa
Further Information: JAIST
The main themes of the conference are computability, complexity, and algorithms.
Date: 23-25 May.
Further Information: TAMC2011
2011 WPI-AIMR Annual Workshop
The Workshop will address "Cutting-edge Functional Materials for Green Innovation".
The event will feature talks by Dr. J. Georg Bednorz, (1987 Nobel Prize in Physics), and Dr. Peter Grunberg, (2007 Nobel Prize in Physics).
Date: 21-24 February
Location: Sendai International Centre
Further Information: AIMR
5th International Workshop on Approaches to Single Cell Analysis
Date: 3-4 March.
12th Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics
Dates: 11-12 March
Further Information: Keio University
3. Call Results
European Research Council: Advanced and Starting Grants
This is the third such time the advanced grant results have been announced. The call deadline was in the Spring of 2010.
The advanced grant provides funding of up to €3.5m per grant, but is normally up to €2.5m. The grant is targeted to well-established top researchers of any nationality and age, scientifically independent and with a recent research track-record and profile which identifies them as leaders in their respective field.
2010 Advanced Grant Call Results
Compared to last year's Advanced Grant call, there was an increase in the number of applications to 2009, representing a 26% increase. The number of selected projects also increased, rising to 266, an increase of 13%. The overall acceptance ratio was 13%, declining slightly on the year before.
46% of successful applications were in the physical and engineering sciences, 37% in the life sciences, and 17% in the social sciences and humanities. 9.4% of awardees are women.
By country of residence, the UK is again the most popular location. It sees 53 awardees perform their research there. The UK is followed by Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, with 45, 32, and 20 awardees respectively (see figure next page).
Advanced Grant: Current Calls
The Advanced Grant is currently open to applications in the following fields (the Physical sciences and Engineering call closed on 6 February).
10 March: LIfe Sciences
6 April: Social Sciences and Humanities
Starting Grant Applications also Up
The ERC also reported on the number of applications to the Starting Grant scheme. This call closed in Autumn last year. According to an ERC press release published on 18 January, a total of 4080 applications were received. This is a 42% increase in comparison on 2009 when 2873 proposals were submitted.
The distribution by the three ERC domains was as follows: 1690 proposals in "Physical Sciences and Engineering", 1440 in "Life Sciences" and 950 in "Social Sciences and Humanities".
Selected proposals will be announced in due course.
4. Universities & Research Institutes
Tohoku University and University College London sign Agreement in Life Sciences
Above: Prof Claudio Stern from UCL
and Prof Kensaku Mizuno from
Source: Tohoku University
has concluded a departmental agreement with the School of Life and Medical Sciences at University College London (UCL). The agreement was concluded on 23 January, 2011.
The agreement aims to promote collaborative research, information and material exchanges, as well as student and researcher exchanges in the life sciences.
UCL and Tohoku University have now held two joint symposiums together, the second of which took place in January on the topic of cell/developmental biology and Neuroscience.
Fraunhofer Establishes office in Osaka
The new office is called the Fraunhofer Office for Process Engineering of Functional Materials and Robotics OPER.
The aim of the new office is to establish a competence network with excellent Japanese researchers from academia and industry in the specific fields of process engineering of functional materials and robotics, as well as to develop new fields of application at the same time.
The new office will open from 14 March.
Fraunhofer Institute Japan
NAIST Celebrate 20 Years
NAIST, which was first established in 1991, is a graduate level university performing research and education in three main areas: information sciences, biological sciences, and materials science. There are around 1000 students, of which around 10% are from overseas.
The 20th Anniversary will see a number of events. In April there will be a Japanese-German Symposium on ‘Biocatalysts for Future Feedstock Utilization’, there will also be some events looking at university-industry links, and open days.
NAIST was established at a time when Japan first embarked on reform efforts to diversify graduate education. A number of specific graduate schools were also developed around this time, such as the Japan Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (JAIST - established in 1990).
Okinawa Institute of Technology edges closer to becoming Graduate School
On 9 and 10 February the Board of Governors of the Institute and the Establishing Members of the future OIST School Corporation held meetings where the step was taken to now submit accreditation documents to the Japanese government for becoming a university graduate school.
In order to obtain the accreditation, the Institute have been actively recruiting and over the past few months 548 scientists, of whom 417 currently work in non-Japanese institutes have applied for faculty positions at OIST. OIST have also been applying for special research instruments.
Memorandums have also been signed with domestic and international partners, such as the Salk Institute, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the University of Ottawa, the University of Antwerp, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Otago.
Further developments will be reported as they occur.
Further Information: OIST
5. News & Developments
Green Paper & Consultation on EU Funding
The Green Paper proposes major changes to EU research and innovation funding to make participation easier, increase scientific and economic impact and provide better value for money.
The changes, to be introduced in the next EU budget after 2013, would bring together the current Framework Programme for research, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
The Green Paper outlines the following areas for improvements in future programmes:
- Clarifying objectives
It is felt to be necessary to clarify how objectives are translated into supporting activities.
- Reducing complexity
It is felt that there is currently an impression of trying to cater to too many objectives and spreading funding too thinly. There is also a lack of coordination between EU and Member State funding which adds to the complexity and leaves the potential for overlap and duplication.
- Increasing added value and avoiding duplication and fragmentation
EU research and innovation funding should provide more added value, increase its leverage effect on other public and private resources and be used more effectively to support the strategic alignment and pooling of national and regional funds to avoid duplication and achieve scope and critical mass.
- Simplifying participation by lowering administrative burdens
This entails reducing the time taken to receive a grant and the time taken to receive payment. It also includes achieving a better balance between cost and trust based approaches.
- Broadening participation in EU programmes
While there is important SME participation, interim evaluation of FP7 highlighted the need to further stimulate industry and SME involvement. It also pointed at the need to boost participation of female researchers and participants from newer Member States. A stronger involvement of third countries would offer opportunities to capture the benefits of knowledge produced outside the EU.
- Increasing the competitiveness and societal impact from EU support
This would require better uptake and use of results by companies, investors, public authorities, other researchers and policy makers. It also involves supporting broader innovations (including non-technological and social innovation) which are not the result of research activities. Better communication of objectives and the relevance of actions to a wider audience is also needed. The ultimate users of innovations (be they citizens, businesses or the public sector) should be involved much earlier in EU actions to accelerate and broaden the exploitation of results and to encourage greater public acceptance in sensitive fields such as security or nanotechnology.
They will use the consultation responses in the design of proposals, to be presented by the Commission by the end of 2011, for a legislative decision of the Council and Parliament on the Common Strategic Framework. The deadline for contributions is Friday 20 May 2011.
Please access the consultation exercise at the following link:
Consultation Exercise on EU Research and Innovation Funding
Innovation in Europe: The 2010 Innovation Union Scoreboard
Following the Commission's communication on innovation in October last year (see here for prior coverage), the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), the scoreboard that was quite well known and used, has now been renamed the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS). The report continues to be produced by the team at UNU-MERIT in the University of Maastricht.
The new name of the report is to help monitor the implementation of the Europe 2020 Innovation Union strategy, with a number of changes introduced. Although not apparent at first glance, the 29 indictors that were previously used have now been reduced to 25; with some new additions and some merges of datasets. 19 of the original indicators have been carried over into the new version. The IUS uses statistics from Eurostat, OECD, Thomson Reuters and other international data sources. Three main types of indicator are used for the analysis.
Firstly, they use variables which are seen as enabling innovation. These are such things as human resources (e.g. new doctorate graduates, % of population with tertiary education), such as a high-skilled and educated workforce, international competitiveness of the science base (e.g. number of international scientific co-publications), the availability of venture capital finance for innovation projects and the support of governments for research and innovation activities.
The second range of measures concern firm activities such as R&D and non-R&D investments, linkages, entrepreneurship, and collaboration between innovating firms and the public sector. This includes such measures as the number of small and medium sized enterprises that perform innovation in house, public-private co-publications, number of patent cooperation treaty (PCT) patents, trademarks or designs.
The third dimension concerns the outputs emerging from innnovation, measuring the number of firms that have introduced innovations onto the market or within their organisations, (covering both technological and non-technological innovations) and the presence of high-growth firms. The types of data include employment in knowledge intensive activities, license and patent revenues, sales of new to market and new to firm innovations.
More detailed information on the types of metrics used can be found in the report.
Innovation in Europe
Using these above metrics, the authors then group the EU Member States into four groups of countries according to their innovative performance. These four groups of countries are as follows:
- Innovation Leaders, whose performance is well above that of the EU27: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden
- Innovation Followers, who show a performance close to that of the EU27: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK
- Moderate Innovators, where performance is below that of the EU27: Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain
- Moderate Innovators, where the performance is well below that of the EU27: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
The distribution of countries according to their innovative performance is presented in the figure below. The EU average is the white bar with those countries which perform above the EU average to the right of the chart, those below the EU average to the left. Accordingly, Sweden is seen to be Europe’s most innovative country, while Latvia is seen to be the lowest performing country.
Comparing Europe with the USA & Japan
At a macro level, the authors of the report then compare EU performance against a range of other countries. These countries include the USA, Japan and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). In doing this they employ a slightly different dataset drawn from the OECD, Eurostat and other national sources to ensure comparability. Let us look at EU performance against that of the USA and Japan. Overall, Europe is still seen to lag behind both of these countries.
EU Performance against the USA
With regard to performance in comparison to the United States, the report suggests that there is a clear performance lead in favour of the US - this lead is seen to be very slowly increasing.
According to performance on individual measures, the US is seen to have increased its lead in new doctorate degrees, International co-publications, business R&D expenditure and license and patent revenues. The US lead to the EU27 has decreased in tertiary education, most cited publications, public
METI proposes Tax Reduction to attract R&D from Overseas; Human Resource Steps Under Review
The initiative forms part of the New Growth Strategy which was decided by the Cabinet in June last year, and aims to increase the attractiveness of Japan as a location for foreign firms to establish R&D centres and subsidiaries in the country. The actual law can be roughly translated as the Asian Hub Promotion Law.
This proposal was mooted at the same time as the reduction in the overall corporate tax rate was proposed, whereby a cut of 5% would reduce Japan’s corporate taxes to around 35%.
METI initially proposed a reduction of 12% on the initial rate for companies that establish R&D centres or subsidiaries in Japan.
On 11 February, according to a piece by the Asahi Shinbun, the Cabinet Office reviewed this proposal and agreed upon reducing the rate within a range of 7%, targeted at firms with annual R&D expenditure above €800k, and employing more than 10 people from the first year. This cut will be accompanied by efforts to make it easier to employ foreign researchers, through reducing the time it takes to acquire a residency permit (from 1 month to 10 days), and speed up the time it takes to establish a new company. The proposed cut will run for a five year period. METI hopes to attract 30 companies to Japan which should employ around 2,000 people.
According to METI research, 125 foreign companies have left Japan since 2008, mostly to China.
For a country with such a large innovative presence, the share of foreign financing of Japan’s gross R&D expenditure is quite low and relatively unchanged since the mid 1990s. Since 1995, the overall proportion has been less than 1%. In many countries, which have quite actively sought to attract inward R&D as a source of high level inward investment there have been large upward trends, for instance in Austria, or the UK (see table right), extending in many cases beyond tax or other fiscal incentives to include active marketing of their innovation systems and the R&D competencies that R&D active firms can draw upon and connect with in these countries.
METI appear to be aware of some of these broader issues according to prior analyses which have been done on the topic, noting the general absence of highly educated foreigners, high comparative tax rates, and low levels of university internationalisation all of which are seen to undermine Japan’s competitiveness.
In other materials released on 25 January METI set out how they intend to implement these initiatives and suggest that JETRO will also be playing some role in this initiative; there will be some steps taken with regard to high level human resources from overseas. Let’s now look at these in more detail.
Human Resource Related Initiatives
Under the heading of nurturing global level human resources and attracting high level human resources, METI outline three points which they are to look at:
- In order to attract high level human resources from overseas, by the end of March 2011 METI will undertake a review of a points based system for immigrants; or a simplification of the visa process.
- The second point is in strengthening exchange and cooperation with universities in China and Korea. METI will look to develop guidelines, and a pilot programme for cooperation with the two partners.
- Seeking to extend personnel exchange both through sending more Japanese students overseas but also accepting more high level foreign students to Japan.
We will report back on these developments when further information becomes available.
Nature Café at the Swedish Embassy
The event was held on 16 October, and it has now featured in a write up in Nature Asia.
The Café was opened with an address by His Excellency Stefan Noreén, Ambassador of Sweden to Japan.
Following this, Professor Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, president of Karolinska Institutet gave an introduction to the history and work of the university, which this year celebrated its 200th anniversary.
The scientific discussion was moderated by Yukiko Motomura, deputy director of Science and Environment News at Mainichi Newspapers. Motomura introduced the first speaker Martin Ingvar, a professor of Integrative Medicine and dean of research at the Karolinska Institutet.
CONCERT-Japan Kick-Off Meeting in Istanbul
Below, Ms Filiz HAYIRLI, overall manager of the project, introduces the new ERA-NET for Euraxess readers. We will provide regular updates and news as the project develops.
CONCERT-Japan "Connecting and Coordinating European Science and Technology Development with Japan" is an ERA-NET project funded under the International Cooperation (INCO) area of the Capacities Programme of EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (FP7). The main objective of the project is to promote an effective and coordinated science and technology cooperation between European countries and Japan with a view to further expanding and harmonizing already existing cooperation between them.
CONCERT-Japan project started on 1 January 2011 and will last for three years until 31 December 2013. The project consortium includes ministries and research funding organizations from Japan, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. The Coordinator of the project is The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).
The concept of CONCERT-Japan emerges as a natural consequence of the need for a coordinated science and technology cooperation between two of the main knowledge developers of the world, Europe and Japan. This concerted action in the science and technology cooperation of the European states with Japan not only aims to enhance the cooperation between them, but also structure it so as to allow more effective results.
The essence of such cooperation is to target the common problems and global challenges by utilizing common interests and values. The main axis of the project revolves around exchange of information, mutual learning, joint strategy building and performing joint activities at the programme level.
In the framework of the CONCERT-Japan project, consortium partners will announce a pilot joint call on topics of mutual interest. This is expected to allow not only a multilateral public-public cooperation platform to discuss about common priorities between European countries and Japan, but also multilateral research platforms involving European and Japanese researchers. This pilot joint call will enable the consortium to further elaborate on the future of the cooperation between Europe and Japan.
The kick-off meeting of CONCERT-Japan was held on 17-18 January 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey with the participation of the core project consortium that is consisted of 13 partners including organizations from European countries and Japan in addition to the observer institutions and European Commission delegation.
The Kick-off meeting of CONCERT-Japan project, specifically, aimed to start the debates over determining the prior thematic areas, the possible methodology and structure of the coordination in which the cooperation would evolve in a more beneficial and productive way. In this perspective, European Union and Japan science and technology relations were examined in detail with respect to the historical bounds, bilateral affairs and utilizable opportunities on research and technology. Intended joint actions and work packages of the project were fruitfully discussed in order to plan the future actions.
In this context, Vice President of TÜBİTAK, Prof. Ömer ANLAĞAN, emphasized the advantages of such a concerted cooperation on science and technology between European Union and Japan with respect to the evolvement of historical bounds, in his welcome speech. Dr. Barbara Rhode, the Minister-Counselor and Head of S&T Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Japan, reinforced the opening speech with her clear display on the current research and technology structure of Japan by identifying the potential opportunities both on bilateral and multilateral level. Mr. Katsuhisa Sagisaka from Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) presented the Japanese science and technology policy and informed the participants on science diplomacy of Japan.
Mr Yves Maisonny from the European Commission has highlighted the ERA-NET scheme and its added value for science and technology cooperation between Europe and Japan for managing a strong research initiative.
Further information is available from:
Ms Filiz HAYIRLI
CONCERT-Japan Coordination Office
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜB␣TAK)
Tel. 009(0) 312 468 53 00 / Ext. 1910
Fax. 009(0) 312 427 40 24
Nanotechnology Research in Japan
The report reflects on the condition and status of nanotechnology research in Japan, particularly in light of moves towards so-called issue driven R&D (such as life innovation and green innovation) and the likely influence these moves will have for nanotechnology research.
The overall report runs to 110 pages covering the basic concepts of nanotechnology, the international trends and challenges for Japan, the issues facing Japan, and the development of green nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and nanoelectronics. Below is a summary of some of the major points from the report.
Nanotechnology Research in Japan
Firstly, the report defines nanotechnology as the academic and technological area in which bulk, surface, and interface structures in the scale of 1 to 100nm, with their specific properties and phenomena including growth and fabrication are observed, measured, analyzed and controlled at the atomic and molecular levels. The report then reflects upon the development of research in this area, going back to the late 1940s and the emergence of the semi-conductor industry and subsequent developments which have led to the emergence of a new multidisciplinary field based on physics, chemistry, and biology that also incorporates electronic engineering, biotechnology, and materials engineering.
Since the 1980s, the Japanese government has made a number of R&D investments in nanotechnology and materials, supporting research in ultrafine particles, nanomechanisms or molecular dynamic assembly under the old Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology programmes where around half of the hundred or so projects were in research related to nanoscience, nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and materials science.
This scheme later became the ERATO programme now operated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Large scale projects with funding guaranteed for 10 years were also introduced by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and NEDO.
The big push for nanotechnology emerged through the science and technology basic plans, which began to be implemented following passage of the 1995 Science and Technology Basic Law. In particular, the report notes that the Second and Third (2001-2005 and 2006-2010, respectively) plans played a large role in strongly supporting nanotechnology as this was one of the four priority fields receiving strategic national investment (see figure above right).
International Trends in Nanotechnology Research
The report notes that since the turn of the century nanotechnology has increasingly been given importance by other countries, with the levels of investment overtaking Japan at various points throughout the decade (see figure right).
Such efforts include funding increases, strategic prioritisation through specific plans for nanotechnology, and efforts to nurture the research infrastructure and facilities for nanotechnology research. This is seen to have been occurring in the United States, the European Union (through FP7, new research networks - though the report identifies areas of national overlap in the strategies for nanotechnology, and the key role that Germany plays in research efforts in the field); and Asian countries, notably China, Korea and Taiwan.
Using citation counts on papers, the paper suggests that Japan is the top country in Asia for nanotechnology research, but this performance lags behind that of the US, Germany, and the UK. The authors suggest that within Japan research in nanotechnology and materials science has the greatest international academic potential, compared to research in information and telecommunications, the environmental field, and life sciences, due to the interrelationships revealed in citation patterns of nanotechnology to these other areas of scientific research. Some of the achievements that have been made in nanotechnology research are also listed in the report.
However, the growing prioritisation of nanotechnology research is leading to questions over the future potential of Japanese performance due both to levels of funding, the strategies underlying the investments, the comparative weaknesses in Japan’s facilities and research infrastructure, amid broader issues surrounding human resources in Japan such as low levels of international engagement, low numbers of doctoral graduates and comparatively small numbers of papers that are internationally coauthored - all of these issues are seen to threaten undermining Japan’s performance in nanotechnology.
In particular, comments regarding recent changes in science and technology policy are worth repeating, where it is stated that there will now be a ‘drastic change in Japanese science and technology policy and [this] should be justified based on logical and quantitative evidence obtained from a systematic review of the spending of the Science and Technology Basic Plans over the past 10 years, which is in the order of roughly ¥40T (US$370B); however, such a review has not been carried out as yet. In any case, independent of whether S&T policy targets “Priority R&D Areas” or “Social-issue Targets”, the most important systems for improving investment efficiency in the area of nanotechnology are, firstly, an implementation system which promotes interdisciplinary interaction and academia-industry communication and, secondly, a coordination system which encourages inter-ministry collaboration. It is important, therefore, to view the whole S&T Plan as a matrix consisting of “Social Issues” and “R&D Areas” and to implement it as a unified plan’.
The report then outlines some suggestions for the promotion of nanotechnology, particularly with regard to funding, interdisciplinary research and research facilities, and international cooperation.
6. List of S&T Events in Japan
List of S&T Events in Japan
0 - 24 February, 2011
23 - 24 February, 2011
28 February - 2 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
2 - 4 March, 2011
6 - 8 March, 2011
6 - 9 March, 2011
7 - 8 March, 2011
9 March, 2011
10 - 12 March, 2011
14 - 16 March, 2011
24 - 26 March, 2011
16 - 19 May, 2011
25 - 30 June, 2011
29 June - 1 July, 2011
27 - 29 July, 2011
2 - 6 August, 2011
25 September - 1 October, 2011
Source: Science Links Japan