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World Premier International Research Center Initiative

What is WPI Program?

The WPI Program (World Premier International Research Center Initiative Program) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) 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 (MANA) was launched on October 1st of the same year.

The 11 WPI research centers have established as of April 1, 2018.

Requirements for a WPI Center

Research centers selected for the WPI Program must meet the following four requirements:

To realize these aims, the WPI Centers engage in the following initiatives:

Achieve a Critical Mass of Outstanding Researchers

  • Involve senior researchers from the host institution

  • Invite world-renowned researchers

Create Attractive, World-class Research and Living Environments

  • Ensure effective leadership of the Center Director

  • Make English the official language

  • Pay salaries based on a stringent evaluation system

  • Provide enhanced support to allow researchers to focus on their research

  • Install facilities and equipment suited to a world-class research center

  • Provide accommodations, children's education allowances and support for daily living

WPI research center / Research fields

WPI research center Host institution Research fields
Advanced Institute for Materials Research (AIMR) Tohoku University *1 Materials Science
Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) University of Tokyo *1 Astrophysics
Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) Kyoto University *1 Meso-Control & Stem Cells
Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) Osaka University *1 Immunology
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 & Environmental Science
Interrnational Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine (IIIS) University of Tsukuba *3 Sleep Medicine
Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) Tokyo Institute of Technology *3 Earth-Life Science
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) Nagoya University *3 Synthetic Chemistry & Animal and Plant Science
International Research Center for Neurointelligence (IRCN) University of Tokyo *4 Origin of Intelligence
Nano Life Science Institute (NanoLSI) Kanazawa University *4 Nano Life Science

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

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