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World Premier International Research Center Initiative

What is WPI Program?

The WPI Program (World Premier International Research Center Initiative Program) was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) with a mission to create globally open and appealing centers of research that serve as pivotal hubs for global brain circulation. It provides concentrated support for projects to establish and operate research centers that have at their core a group of very high-level investigators.

These centers are to create a research environment of a sufficiently high standard to give them a highly visible presence within the global scientific community - that is, to create a vibrant environment that will be of strong incentive to frontline researchers around the world to want to come and work at these centers.

In 2007, NIMS and four national universities were selected for grants, and the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA) was launched on October 1st of the same year.

To date*, 13 research centers have been selected as WPI centers by meeting these four objectives: advancing leading-edge research, establishing international research environments, reforming research organizations, and creating interdisciplinary domains.

In 2017, five prior WPI centers including MANA were certified as WPI Academy Centers: a new framework intended to take the vanguard in internationalizing and further renovating Japan's research environment to accelerate and expand the global circulation of the world's best brains.

*as of December 1, 2018

World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative | Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

Challenges in Building Top-world Institutes

Four Missions

  • Top-quality Science - Advancing to the highest pinnacle globally leading-edge research
  • Interdisciplinary - Creating interdisciplinary domains
  • Globalization - Establishing international research environments
  • Reform of research system - Reforming research organizations

A Critical Mass of Outstanding Researchers

  • 7-10 or more top-level principal investigators
  • With at least 30% of researchers continuously from overseas
  • Total of 70-100 or more researchers and staffs

Attractive Research and Living Environment of Top International Standard

  • Strong leadership by center director
  • English as the primary language
  • Strong support functions for researchers

WPI Research Centers (13) / Research Fields *as of December 1, 2018

WPI Research Center Host Institution Research Fields
Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR) * Tohoku University *1 Mathematics / Materials Science
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) * University of Tokyo *1 Mathematics / Physics / Astronomy
Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) * Kyoto University *1 Cell Biology / Materials Science
Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) * Osaka University *1 Immunology / Imaging / Informatics
International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA) * National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) *1 Nanotechnology / Materials Science
International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) Kyushu University *2 Energy Science / Materials Science
Interrnational Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS) University of Tsukuba *3 Sleep Medicine / Pharmaceutical Science
Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) Tokyo Institute of Technology *3 Earth & Planetary Science / Life Science
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) Nagoya University *3 Chemistry / Plant & Animal Biology
International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN) University of Tokyo *4 Neuroscience / Artificial Intelligence
Nano Life Science Institute (NanoLSI) Kanazawa University *4 Nano Imaging / Life Science
Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery (ICReDD) Hokkaido University ※5 Computational Science / Information Science / Chemistry
Institute for Advanced Study of Human Biology (ASHBi) Kyoto University ※5 Human Biology / Mathematics / Bioethics

*1 adopted in 2007, *2 adopted in 2010, *3 adopted in 2012, *4 adopted in 2017, *5 adopted in 2018

* WPI Academy Centers

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