Message from the President
President, Kyoto University
At a time when the structures of societies and industry around the world are undergoing major changes, the promotion of science, technology, and innovation is essential for Japan’s sustainable development as a producer of science and technology. Faced with a rapidly declining birthrate and aging population, it has become vital for Japan’s research universities to continue cultivating outstanding researchers who will become the nation’s future science and technology leaders.
Against this backdrop, in 2019, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) launched the Program for the Strategic Cultivation of Global Researchers. The program aims to support the strategic development of outstanding researchers at universities by developing programs and organizational systems that will foster human capital who can play an active role as world-class researchers.
With funding from MEXT’s Building of Consortia for the Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology Program, Kyoto University has already established the Keihanshin Consortium for Fostering the Next Generation of Global Leaders in Research (K-CONNEX), which strategically secures and fosters the next generation of outstanding early-career researchers. Based on those achievements and experiences, in the 2019 academic year, the university submitted a proposal to MEXT for the Program for the Development of Next-generation Leading Scientists with Global Insight (L-INSIGHT). The program was selected to receive funding, and over the next ten years it will vigorously develop, demonstrate, and diffuse human resource development programs for early-career researchers in collaboration with various partner institutions, including domestic and overseas education/research institutions and companies.
As has been pointed out by the government for some time, the declining number of early-career instructors and researchers at universities is a matter of great concern with regards to maintaining and strengthening the research capacity of Japanese universities in the future. Kyoto University takes this issue very seriously, and has adopted diverse measures, such as prioritizing the employment of early-career faculty members. It is also of particular importance to seek ways of enhancing the research environment for early-career instructors and researchers at universities. This will require not only the improvement of physical research facilities, but also the establishing and supporting environments that enable researchers to develop their skills as independently-functioning principal investigators (PIs).
In cooperation with MEXT, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and other relevant institutions, L-INSIGHT will enable Kyoto University to contribute to the evolution and expansion of researcher development programs in Japan, and to fostering the next generation of outstanding ECRs.
Message from the Executive Vice-President
Executive Vice-President, Kyoto University
Circumstances for early-career researchers (ECRs) have become increasingly severe in recent years. Even with universities implementing their own early-career researcher development programs, it is difficult for ECRs to develop their careers due to decreased basic funding, unstable employment, and increased non-research duties. In this context, I feel that Kyoto University’s Program for the Development of Next-generation Leading Scientists with Global Insight (L-INSIGHT) is much needed. The program fosters early-career researchers with highly developed international capabilities and industry-academia collaboration skills, while helping them to develop their individual qualities. It is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)’s Program for the Strategic Cultivation of Global Researchers, which aims to foster human capital for science and technology.
To nurture the next generation of researchers and genuine leaders in Japan, initiatives such as this program, which provides a network and platform that can be easily accessed by highly-motivated ECRs with world-class capabilities, and which promotes active exchange and mutual understanding, are increasingly essential. There can be no doubt that the early establishment of personal, trans-disciplinary networks among the same generation of outstanding researchers in Japan and abroad will broaden their perspectives and serve as a foundation for their future activities in their respective fields of specialization.
I anticipate, that with the continued support of MEXT, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and other relevant institutions, L-INSIGHT will make a significant contribution to the development of young researchers in Japan.
Message from the Director
Unit Leader / Program Manager, Kyoto University
The Strategic Development Hub for Early Career Researchers was established within the Center for Enhancing Next-Generation Research. It manages the Program for the Development of Next-generation Leading Scientists with Global Insight (L-INSIGHT), and is composed of academic staff who develop and implement a variety of sub programs, university research administrators (URAs), and others. With the aim of transforming early career researchers into next-generation world-class scientists, L-INSIGHT emphasizes the importance of cultivating global insight to open new paths to the future. This principle is represented by the program’s name: L-INSIGHT, which means “acquiring insight” in Japanese. The aims of L-INSIGHT overlap with those of The Keihanshin Consortium for Fostering the Next Generation of Global Leaders in Research (K-CONNEX), of which Kyoto University is a leading member. As L follows K in the alphabet, the naming of L-INSIGHT is indicative of a progression in our efforts to develop, operate, and promote even more advanced programs. The mission of L-INSIGHT is to greatly accelerate the development of early career researchers as the next-generation of leading scientists, while providing them with experience of international and industrial-academic collaboration. By providing rich opportunities for growth experiences across disciplinary, geographic, and industrial-academic boundaries, L-INSIGHT provides early career researchers with the time and space needed to acquire the skill sets and mindsets essential to attaining their personal goals. In order to effectively and strategically boost the development of early career researchers, the program design is based not only on the advice of industry, government, and academic experts, but also prioritizes input from the early career researchers themselves.