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+STI Policy News from Japan - May 2021

This page is for STI policy news from Japan for May 2021 picked up by the SciREX Center. News from other countries is being collected by the Center for R&D Strategies (CRDS) to be posted later.

Yen 10 Trillion Fund: Cabinet Office
As reported in the previous SciREX World News, Japan has established a Yen 10 trillion fund to boost STI capabilities at Japanese universities that are pointed to be stagnant (small amount of investment in higher education, declining number of Ph.D. students and papers, and weak international competitiveness). The Yen 10 trillion fund committee has convened 3 times by the end of May 2021, and established a working group to focus on the challenge to achieve the target Yen 10 trillion fund based on the initial Yen 4.5 trillion investment. The profit from the operation of the Yen 10 trillion fund will be used for boosting various STI capabilities at Japanese universities. The working group convenes once a month through summer 2021 to produce an interim report. Potential domestic and foreign asset management firms take part in the working group meetings. An office to manage the big fund is being established within the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), a funding organization under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, S&T (MEXT).

To be Ready for New Infectious Diseases: Healthcare Policy HQ
第5回 医薬品開発協議会 議事次第|健康・医療戦略推進本部 (kantei.go.jp)
The Council for Medical Products Development under the Government Headquarters for Healthcare Policy convened on May 25 and discussed a long-term strategy for developing and strengthening vaccine production. The points were acceleration of vaccine approval process and efficient clinical tests. The discussion included establishment of a new system that works in emergency, if effectiveness and safety is secured, to be ready for new infectious diseases and a new test method that replaces the current large-scale clinical tests. Based on the discussion, a proposal will be submitted to the Government for cabinet approval.

KAKENHI Application and Decision Two months Earlier: JSPS
日本学術振興会からのお知らせ | 科学研究費助成事業|日本学術振興会 (jsps.go.jp)
The application and decision making for the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) will be made two months earlier, starting from the application in 2021. This measure will be taken to improve the timing of current grant-making decision that is made on the first day in the next fiscal year (so the actual use of the fund is possible later than the start of the new fiscal year, creating a gap period between the decision making and the actual use of the fund) and avail the use of the fund from the first day of the next fiscal year. [In Japan the fiscal year and the grant year are synchronized.]

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