What is RIKEN and How is it Operated ?

RIKEN is a non-profit research institute supported by the Japanese government's Science and Technology Agency. It aims to promote creative and advanced research, while maintaining a harmonious balance between basic and applied science.

The Institute is a research complex consisting of about fifty laboratories and supporting facilities, covering wide areas of physical, chemical, engineering and biological sciences. Each laboratory seeks to push forward its respective ares of research, under the autonomous management of a Chief Scientist. RIKEN's research often involves active collaboration with universities, other research institutions and industry - both in Japan and overseas.

When necessary, RIKEN organized groups laboratories to pursue interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary researches taking advantage of different researcher's widespread fields of interest. Six of the institute's fifty laboratories form the Tsukuba Life Science Center located, along with a service facility, in Tsukuba. This center is developing all avenues of life science and advancing gene technology, including molecular nurobiology.

The RIKEN Ring Cyclotron (RRC), used for the acceleration of heavy ions, started operation in 1986 and has absorbed a number of domestic and international collaborative proposals. Recent research results include the discovery of 10He, which approaches the limit of nucleus stability.
In the area of physics, a large-scale project to construct a synchrotron radiation facility, named SPring-8 (Super Photon Ring), is under way in Hyogo Prefecture, under joint sponsorship by RIKEN and JAERI (Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute). Following completion in 1998, SPring-8 will have an 8 GeV operating capacity, making it the world's largest ultrahigh-brilliance X-ray synchrotron radiation facility.

RIKEN launched its Frontier Research Program in 1986 to explore new disciplines for 21st century science and technology by pioneering fundamental research. At Present, the program's research covers several areas, including brain science and related fields. In addition, the Frontier Program has established regional research centers, which will operate for a fixed term to take advantage of local expertise in relevant disciplines. As a first step, RIKEN set up a research center for photo dynamics at Sendai in 1990. In 1993, it established a bio-mimetic control research at Nagoya.

In order to encourage creative research, RIKEN takes special care to introduce new blood to the institute. Laboratories are open to visiting scientists. In fact, the number of visiting scientists from Japan is almost three times that of RIKEN's permanent staff. At the same time, the number of scientists visiting from overseas is also increasing. RIKEN acts as host to some four hundred overseas visiting scientists and has recently developed a special initiative to bring Outstanding researchers to the institute through its Eminent scientist Invitation Program.

RIKEN is an active participant in a number of Collaborative international programs. For example. it has constructed a large-scale Muon science Facility at the UK's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, which began operation in 1994. Moreover. RIKEN will soon launch a program involving the construction of a large facility for spin Physics Research, at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States.

RIKEN's openness goes beyond research. In 1992. the institute formed a RIKEN Advisory Council (RAC) made up of distinguished scientists from across the world - to evaluate its scientific programs and management systems, and to advise the President about ways to enhance RIKEN's ability to achieve its goals. The RAC's chairman and half of its members come from overseas.

l am proud that RIKEN has continued to provide a stimulating and creative research atmosphere the "RIKEN spirit" since its establishment in 1917. Despite the second World War and the stormy postwar period, the "RIKEN spirit" survived and, in 1958, the institute rose like a phoenix, with a new organizational status as a semi-public corporation. The bold vision that lay behind RIKEN's foundation remains valid and fresh today: "We will survive in the modern world only by the promotion of industry which is based on pure science and its application."

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A. A. (President of RIKEN)