Enhancing the research infrastructure is an important policy issue in science, technology and innovation policy. The first Science and Technology Basic Plan stated importance of research infrastructure to follow aging of university facilities and equipments in 1990s. Since the 2000s, the environment around research infrastructure has become severer due to the incorporation of national universities and severe financial conditions.
In recent years, the research infrastructure is expected not only to reduce costs and improve efficiency, but also as a platform for development of new science and technology fields and creation of innovations. International perspective is indispensable for development and utilization of research infrastructure such as building large scale facilities and sharing machine time and fees. In recent years, the URA (University Research Administrator) has become an increasingly important for management of research infrastructure.
Research facilities, equipment, and technology possessed by industry, academia and government are important infrastructures that support all science and technology innovation activities. The policy of sharing research infrastructure at the university site was gradually started during the period of the 4th Science and Technology Basic Plan, and many policies have been taken across multiple stations even by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) alone.
However, those results are limited to a small part and do not lead to essential problem solving. This special issue introduces the gaps between the policy and the field on the research base so far, the design of the "place" to fill the gap and the problem solving method, and the ideal way of the research base strategy in the future field. And this special issue will discuss from both the aspects of hardware (facility / equipment) and software (human resources / system).
In this paper, I would like to discuss the importance of "places" that lead to R & D environment innovation and "human resources" that are related to the research base as innovative human resources, and recommend the direction of future activities.
Nagoya Institute of Technology worked on the co-creation research with the organizational reform in the study from 2012. The purpose of the reorganization is to be aware that the knowledge, equipment, and facilities of the university are public goods. This is an activity aimed at "deprivation" at universities. The reorganization took three and a half years, including rule changes. First, we worked on visualizing the activity budget. At present, the status of budget operation is being visualized for all members. This is an organization that can consider the value of technology that can be exhibited by researchers as a trinity of people, money, and rooms, and was able to take the first step in creating social value that Nagoya Institute of Technology aims for.
Recently, many universities have been working to promote the sharing of research facilities and equipment in Japan. University of Miyazaki is also developing a sharing service system of those through two projects supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In addition, we have established the Miyazaki Facility Network, in which public research institutions in Miyazaki Prefecture participate, and are working to create an environment that can provide mutually advanced analysis technologies that contribute to regional revitalization.
In this paper, we introduce a common facilities management system linked on-line to the existing financial accounting and the researcher database developed by University of Miyazaki, and describe the relationship with the administration policy of our university and examples of utilization in Miyazaki prefecture.
At present, the government is discussing the organization and career path of "technical staff", which are very important as research infrastructure. There are various ways to organize technical staff groups depending on the university. Some universities already have a technical staff organization, while others have no organization at all. In addition, the form of the organization varies depending on the university, and there are a centralized organization and a dispersion organization. The barriers to each organization are the same issue at all universities, and must be removed over time. Organization requires cooperation from universities, and it is important to explain why technical staff organizations are needed. How to change the minds of technical staff is very important in future.
Before the university was incorporated, a laboratory with a system of professors-assistant professors-assistants-engineers or clerical staff was formed, and departments and majors have been run based on the aggregate of these laboratories. Although the number of faculty members above the associate professors increased at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (hereinafter referred to as Tokyo Tech) based on the Advancement Policy of graduate school, it was not possible to maintain laboratories including engineer as before. Therefore, the engineers were integrated to departments in 2004 (Heisei 16), and then all technical staff were integrated to the Technical Staff Division in April 2007 (Heisei 19). It was the first that all the technical staff were integrated to form the university-wide research support organization in the National University Corporation in Japan. Considering the current situation where the concentration of technical staff, the sharing of research facilities, and the enhancement of core facilities are being called for, looking back on the 15 years of the university-wide research support organization, what can be overcome and what is unsolved, and it is important to think about the vision for the future
In this report, we look back on the history and future of Tokyo Tech's Technical Staff Division before it was born, and look into the future.
After the national universities becoming into the national university corporations, the status of the technical staffs of the universities has been reviewed actively from the viewpoint of their career paths and skill improvement to increase their motivation and activity. Some unique proposals and initiatives have been practiced. In Tottori University, the university technology administrator (UTA), a management person in the technical staff's organization, was created as a career path model and in Gunma University, the Meister Education Program, as a novel skill improvement method. In this paper, we introduce some examples of career path models and skill improvement methods of technical staffs in Japanese national universities and American national laboratory as a comparison.
Research instruments used in cutting-edge research (hereafter: advanced research instruments) have contributed to the development of science and technology. Though most such advanced research instruments are expensive, they have usually been purchased at the discretion of individual researchers.
To date, MEXT has promoted the sharing of research instruments. However, declining R&D budgets have produced a downward spiral within which a decline in the number of new instruments installed, along with the commensurate aging and failure of existing instruments, has led to a fall in the morale of technical staff in research facilities. Therefore, the management of universities and research institutes needs to prioritize this issue and consider ways to get out of this precarious, worsening, and debilitating situation.
This study it has found that the text mining of Research Fronts (provided by Clarivate Analytics) identified advanced research instruments. In addition, the average number of highly cited papers referencing advanced research instruments in Research Fronts is higher than those of papers searched through the Web of Science. Thus, it is suggested that combining research performance analysis with data on research infrastructure would be effective.
This paper proposes current issues and proposals from a financial perspective for the research infrastructure (facilities and equipment) of Japanese national universities.
National university facilities are aging, but there is no funding from the country that matches depreciation costs, and there is no mechanism for funding reserve like private universities. Acquisition of research equipment at national universities is mainly funded by external funds, but there is no mechanism to reserve internal funds for disposal or renewal. Due to the difficulty of disposal and renewal, research facilities are increasing and aging.
In the future, what needs to be done financially to maintain and renew the research infrastructure at national universities in Japan is to clarify future investment plans and collateral of financial resources at the facilities, and a mechanism for internal reserves that utilizes indirect costs and other expenses at the facilities It is. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen asset management at national universities.
This study addresses the potential of crowdfunding of scientific research as a complementary source of funding to competitive government-funded research grants. Although a growing number of academic researchers expect scientific crowdfunding to support academic research that is not funded through traditional grants, few studies have investigated the motives of crowdfunding contributors. This study develops hypotheses regarding the relationship between crowdfunding and its returns or emotional motivations. The hypotheses are tested using an internet survey of 3,443 Japanese citizens regarding their willingness to contribute to academic research. We controlled two biases, disinterest and acquiescence, in the responses by applying a randomized experiment method. Our results identify two influential determinants of both an interest in donating and the willingness to contribute, namely, research that increases empathy and research that contributes to global knowledge. We also find that returns from crowdfunding, such as increasing national scientific competitiveness, do not always drive donation behavior. The results confirm the usefulness of crowdfunding in supporting various types of academic research.