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Greetings from the President

2019.01.08 Update
"PresidentKazuhito HASHIMOTO" Image


The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) has been serving as a Designated National Research and Development Institute to make Japan the most innovation-friendly country in the world. NIMS is expected to achieve the world's highest level of R&D results and popularize and utilize these results in accordance with Japan's national strategies. In addition, NIMS will provide strong leadership for Japan's innovation system by creating venues which bring together human resources, knowledge and funding from industry, academia and government.

Japan's international competitiveness has been supported by its strength in materials R&D. Therefore, expectations from industry, academia and government on NIMS as a materials R&D core institution are progressively increasing. To meet these expectations, NIMS is planning to reform itself to become the most innovation-friendly organization by implementing the following initiatives.

First, we will strengthen the capability of NIMS to support both organizational mission-driven research and curiosity-driven research by implementing the policy that individual NIMS researchers will allocate half of their efforts to the former and half to the latter. In organizational mission-driven research, NIMS researchers will make team efforts to solve social issues and strengthen its organizational research capabilities. To these ends, they identify priority research areas in which NIMS will pursue world-class achievements and strategically allocate research resources. The curiosity-driven research initiative will strengthen research capabilities of individual NIMS scientists by developing internal systems that support them to acquire external funding, such as Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from MEXT and JSPS.

And second, we will strengthen research collaboration between industry, academia and government. NINS has invited research functions of various companies and organized inter-organizational joint research to tackle challenging large-scale projects. In addition, we will take various approaches to meet diverse needs of companies and other organizations. For example, we have formed open platforms to facilitate industry-specific “horizontal collaboration” in which NIMS and participating companies perform joint research to achieve common goals. We also offer “vertical collaboration” options in which participating organizations share only a specific portion of research results relevant to their interests.

Scientific and technological innovation—particularly in materials science—is expected to play a vital role in putting the Society 5.0 concept in the Japanese government’s fifth science and technology basic plan into practice and meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We will contribute to achieving these goals by expediting R&D efforts, mainly those focusing on sensors and actuators.

Organizations must make flexible decisions in order for them to grow continuously. For example, NIMS has three Tsukuba City locations: the Sengen, Namiki and Sakura Sites. We will revitalize R&D activities at the Sakura Site by boldly shifting its research focus from the current ferromagnetism to new topics like magnetic refrigeration and material reliability assessment using liquid hydrogen. This scrap-and-build reform represents NIMS’ vision of society’s needs in the future.

Effective NIMS reform requires optimum research systems, appropriate resource allocation and a change in the mentality of individual NIMS members, thereby maximizing its performance. In 2019 — my fourth year as president — I will strengthen the management of the organization by advancing and reinforcing the reform process.

Thank you for your support and cooperation.

Kazuhito Hashimoto

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