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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 October 26 - November 1  > 34 science faculty deans call for more funds and staff for basic research
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2016 October 26 - November 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

34 science faculty deans call for more funds and staff for basic research

November 1, 2016
Deans of the science departments of 34 national universities in Japan published a statement on October 31 in opposition to the government policy of cutting both subsidies to and the number of teaching staff of government-funded academic research institutes.

The council of the heads of national universities’ school of science held a press conference at Tokyo Institute of Technology where Nobel prizewinner Osumi Yoshinori is professor emeritus, calling on the government to provide enough subsidies to national universities and secure enough teaching staff for the furtherance of basic science research. Osumi’s receiving of the Nobel prize in physiology and medicine motivated them to issue this statement, they explained.

Over the past decade, education authorities have kept reducing state subsidies to be used for fundamental scientific studies. At the same time, the number of teaching staff has continued to decrease due to the government’s belt-tightening measures. Accordingly, many national universities have become unable to hire young teachers and researchers.

Fukuda Hiroo, professor of the Graduate School of Biological Science at the University of Tokyo, at the news conference pointed out, “Dr. Osumi published the prize-winning paper more than 20 years ago. Compared to that time, Japan’s basic research strength has declined.”

Professor Okada Tetsuo, dean of the School of Science at Tokyo Institute of Technology, said, “Business industries do not normally boost their funding for basic research because they are not sure if these studies will directly become useful and bear fruit.” Expressing concern over the ever-decreasing budget and personnel, Okada said, “We now have less time to do research than before.”

Past related article:
> Nobel Prize winner Osumi warns against policy of seeking short-term results [October 17, 2016]
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