The Research Institute for Electronic Science (RIES) of Hokkaido University has more than 20 years of history during which we have worked actively under the mission of development of new interdisciplinary fields. If the Research Institute of Ultrashort Waves, its predecessor, is considered, then more than 70 years have passed since establishment of the organization. Since 2007, we have been participating in a nanotechnology network project for creating outcomes by sharing cutting-edge research equipments and facilities launched by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). We are acting as the hub of “Hokkaido innovation creation nano-engineering and measurement support network” in this program and established nano-technology research center attached to the institute. In 2012, five years after its establishment, the organization was reformed comprehensively to have four departments attached to the institute, including “Photonics and Optical Science”, “Material and Molecular Sciences”, “Biology and Life Sciences” and “Mathematical and System Sciences” and “Green Nanotechnology Research Center”, making a total of five pillars. We are making every effort to accomplish our missions.
At present, RIES comprises 16 research fields, each maintaining their respective high levels of activity. However, it is not adequate to say that our activity has been good from the viewpoint of coalition with outside parties. Under such circumstances, in 2009, we gained a chance at participation in “Network type cooperative hub for materials and devices,” which was officially approved by the MEXT. We concluded an alliance agreement with the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (Tohoku Univ.), Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science (Tokyo Institute of Technology), The Institute of Science and Industrial Research (Osaka Univ.), and the Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering (Kyushu Univ.). More than 400 joint investigations are being promoted every year by the whole hub. Recently, many projects supported by the nation involve difficult issues that will be difficult to resolve unless coalitions of different fields with universities and research institutes domestic and abroad are promoted or unless vertical relationships with industrial fields are established. Such a robust research network across Japan is extremely important for supporting the development of future RIES.
For the international coalition, we have concluded academic exchange agreements with universities in the U.S.A., Taiwan, China, and Europe. During these years, the value of joint papers is being carefully evaluated. RIES, which is aimed at development of new interdisciplinary fields, regards internationalization and visualization of its outcome as urgent issues and intends to tackle these issues strategically in full force. We will continue to transmit research outcomes actively to others. For example, opening of the institute to the general public is done in June every year, a practice that is now spreading to other research institutes and centers of the university. The number of visitors exceeds 1,000 people.
Since transition of national universities to independent administrative corporations in 2004, various measures have been taken for reformation of the university. In particular, continuation of the affiliated research institutes is always re-assessed, although it is absolutely true that the primary mission of the research institute is to remain as an organization that pushes forward Japanese science and technology. Operations of RIES, having both generality and specialty, might become increasingly difficult. It is our belief that we must continue to do what we can stay the course of steady advancement of RIES while eliciting cooperation from senior associates with abundant experience. Your continued support and cooperation will always be greatly appreciated.