Sukekatsu Ushioda is appointed new NIMS president on July 1.
Former president, Teruo Kishi retired on June 30 after his outstanding eight years contribution at NIMS.
Greeting from New President
My research field is solid state and surface physics, and I have studied physical and chemical surface phenomena by means of optical and electronic spectroscopy. Before coming to NIMS as a fellow last April, I served as President of Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. I used to visit Namiki Site as an Executive Advisor for the International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS).
NIMS has made a great progress under the leadership of President Teruo Kishi, after incorporation as an Independent Administrative Institution in 2001. It has become a highly regarded research institute domestically as well as internationally, particularly in terms of the number of papers published and the number of citations. We should be proud of this record. Now it is time to direct our effort to raise the quality of research papers.
NIMS has moved ahead in the internationalization of research environment through the initiatives taken by ICYS. Now it is considered one of the most progressive institutions in the area of internationalization among the universities and research institutes in Japan. However, the real goal is to make NIMS a true global Center of Excellence in materials science research. We still need to continue our effort for further improvement. For internationalization it is certainly important to recruit best talents from abroad, but it is even more important to send our staff abroad. I hope to encourage particularly young research staff to spend extended time in foreign research laboratories.
NIMS is different from universities in being an organization whose main purpose is to execute national policies in the area of materials science research. We must be clearly aware of this primary mission. For our nation, securing sufficient resources for energy and food is of utmost importance. Thus we should carry out research that will answer these national requirements. At the same time it is imperative that we minimize the effects of human activities on the global environment. Thus we must plan a research strategy to minimize negative effects on the global environment. It is my hope that NIMS can contribute significantly toward solutions to these global issues.
The research carried out at NIMS has two aspects, science and engineering. The goal of engineering research is to find ways to produce useful materials, while scientific research seeks to discover the physical principles underlying the properties of matter. In both types of research the most important thing is to think on your own and execute experiments for yourself. My motto in scientific research is "Think for yourself" and "Do it yourself." I hope many of our colleagues will agree with me and practice these ideals in their daily work.
Finally I wish to emphasize that we should enjoy our research. In my career I have been fortunate enough to truly enjoy my work as a physicist. However, an administrative job like presidency is not something to enjoy doing, but rather a job that must help others enjoy their work. I hope to serve the people at NIMS so that they can enjoy their work and accomplish their goals.
Greeting from Retired President
The mission of NIMS as an Independent Administrative Institution, or IAI, is to "create advanced research facilities and conduct research of a different type from that at universities in constant awareness of innovation." This has been my guiding principle for the past 8 years and 3 months since NIMS was launched as an IAI. One direction for research at NIMS in the future will be "problem-solving research and development" in areas such as the environment, energy, and safety. For this, the introduction of organic and polymer materials will be essential. On the other hand, because Japan has made nanotechnology a key part of its national policy for the future, we have also put great effort into "promotion of nanotechnology and nanotechnology-based materials development."
In constructing the research organization/research system at NIMS, we have been particularly mindful of the establishment of graduate school programs, internationalization, and industry-IAI collaboration. Because youthful vitality is needed in public institutions, I am pleased that we have been able to create joint graduate schools with a number of universities in Japan and other countries. Our successful operation of the International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS) helped to create a multicultural "melting pot," and this led to the selection of NIMS for the MEXT* World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative in 2007 and the establishment of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) at NIMS under the WPI program. We have also promoted a wide range of cooperation with industry involving both domestic and international companies, and have carried out many joint research projects. This work is ongoing, as NIMS continues to build a system that can contribute to society.
Research achievements must be highly evaluated from both the viewpoints of materials science and engineering (innovation). Because the two are interrelated, a constant circulation between basic research and applied research is essential. During these past 8 years, research at NIMS has gained considerable recognition in the international scientific community. Before NIMS became an IAI, we ranked 31st in the Citation Index for scientific papers in materials science published by Thomson Reuters. I am very happy to say that our Citation Index has risen dramatically and we now rank 3rd in the world (1st in Japan) in this field. In the future, I hope that NIMS will make further efforts to ensure that these remarkable scientific results escape the "Valley of Death" and reach fruition in practical applications. Moreover, by crossing the Rubicon, the buds of even more outstanding basic research are born. It may be that serendipity – which can also be considered one of the true pleasures of materials research – is found in this kind of research cycle.
What is important for NIMS now is to realize a free research environment while keeping its gaze fixed firmly on its targets, including those in national policy. From this perspective, I feel that the future of NIMS can be seen in the "young independent researchers".
Finally, on retiring from NIMS, I would like to express my sincere respect for all those concerned, both in and outside NIMS, as well as my very best wishes for the continuing development of this wonderful organization as a core institute in materials research.
MEXT: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology