The advancement of science in Japan

China and Japan lights during night as it looks like from space. Elements of this image are furnished by NASA
© wael alreweie

Open Access Government probes the advancement of science in Japan

The advancement of science in Japan is a crucial aim of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), supported mainly by annual subsidies from the Japanese Government. As an independent administrative organisation, JSPS contributes to advancing science throughout the natural and social sciences plus humanities. While following the general framework of government policies promoting scientific advancement, JSPS works flexibly with its programs to be in tune with the scientists taking part.

JSPS, founded in 1932, has, for 70 years, worked non-stop to implement and develop a far-reaching variety of international and domestic scientific programs. JSPS’s primary functions are to:
• Encourage young researchers;
• Bolster international scientific cooperation;
• Award Grants-in-Aid for science research;
• Promote scientific collaboration between industry and the academic community plus;
• Distribute & collect scientific research activities information. (1)

Furthering science and enriching society

SUGINO Tsuyoshi is the current President of JSPS, appointed to the position in April 2022, and looks forward to furthering science and enriching society globally. In his view, scientific research is a pioneer in advancing human knowledge’s frontiers. In his message on the JSPS website, he helpfully explains the thoughts above in more detail, such as how research has improved human welfare and solved global issues.

“Knowledge created and systematized through research in various scientific fields is passed on as valuable human cultural assets to following generations while, at the same time, it presents them with new challenges. It is through the untiring pursuit of scientific research that new technologies were developed that have contributed the improvement of human welfare and the solution of global issues while spawning new concepts that have revolutionized society.”

“Knowledge circulation”

It is intriguing to see the JSPS President’s comments concerning the history of scientific advances, which teaches us how important “knowledge circulation” is. In his opinion, knowledge from scientific research is the fountain of innovation and the driving force that urges national and societal future development. He also discusses the importance of the researcher being unconstrained in their work.

“The world’s most leading scientific research is born from the free ideas of individual researchers who unconstrained by conventional concepts boldly challenges what’s thought impossible to achieve. To ceaselessly create and circulate knowledge, it will be all the more important at this time to foster the talented people who will shoulder the advancement of next-generation scientific research,” SUGINO Tsuyoshi adds.

The future advancement of science in Japan

As Japan’s only funding agency, JSPS is committed to advancing science across a diverse and wide array of programs. This not only includes funding and promoting science, as we have seen but also the internationalisation and reform of universities in Japan. In 2018, when JSPS entered its fourth five-year period of mid-term objectives, “Enhancing the education and research functions of universities by leveraging their unique strengths”, was one of five areas outlined. Towards the final year of these five years, JSPS will consider how science will advance during the next period.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 still hampers scientific research activities being implemented, and as such, JSPS takes special mitigation measures to help researchers take part in their research programs. The aim is not to increase their administrative burden but to be flexible in considering circumstances and needs. JSPS will undoubtedly continue comprehensively supporting researchers who pioneer new knowledge throughout the humanities, social and natural sciences.

In the future, JSPS will use knowledge’s power to push Japan’s scientific contributions into the global community, SUGINO Tsuyoshi affirms. It is fitting, therefore, to close our upbeat article with the President’s thoughts on helping those involved with research to fully and freely and fully pursue their work. Is this not crucial for science to keep advancing in Japan and worldwide?

“JSPS is steadfastly working to both effectively and efficiently implement its operations and to cultivate an environment in which researchers can both freely and fully pursue their activities. (2)


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