As Society 5.0 and Industry 4.0 continue to drive extensive changes in social and industrial structures, it is imperative that Japan endeavors to promote scientific and technological innovation to ensure the nation’s sustainable development. In order to propel future innovations, it is vital to continuously foster exceptional researchers. Since 2014, Kyoto University has been collaborating with Osaka University and Kobe University to establish a consortium for the development of human resources, and constructed a training system for early-career researchers. Now, we have built upon the accomplishments of that consortium to create a new program to develop the next generation of leading scientists, and launched a project to institute a systematic training support system. This project aims to foster the development of globally competitive personnel who transcend industrial and academic boundaries: individuals who can excel in international academia while also engaging in creative research and development in the industrial world. We plan to integrate and systematize the program, ultimately expanding it nationwide.
This program, which was adopted in November 2019, aims to promote scientific and technological innovation in Japan, and elevate the nation’s research capabilities by strategically developing outstanding researchers. The achievement of these goals requires the establishment of a program to train individuals who, as leading scientists, can transcend the boundaries between industry and academia, as well as the creation of a systematic training support system. The program will enroll motivated and talented early-career researchers with advanced expertise who aim to become internationally competitive principal investigators (PIs), and will train them as next-generation leading scientists with global insight who can forge new paths to the future. By applying the early-career researcher development framework created for The Keihanshin Consortium for Fostering the Next Generation of Global Leaders in Research (K-CONNEX), this program will not only develop and strengthen the skill set needed by early-career researchers, but will also adopt an integrated approach to foster and stimulate their mindset. The program will contribute to the expansion of Japan’s research and development capabilities and international presence in scientific, technological, and academic fields through the cultivation of leading scientists.
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.