New RIKEN President

New RIKEN President

Author: ChemistryViews

RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori, who has served in his position since 2003, will step down from his position, effective March 31, 2015. His successor is Hiroshi Matsumoto, former president of Kyoto University and an expert in space plasma physics. He will assume his new role as of April 1, 2015. As of April 1, RIKEN will also have a new status as a National Research and Development Institute.

RIKEN, Japan’s network of basic-research laboratories, was established in 1917. Today, it employs more than 2,800 scientists on campuses across Japan with a budget of some 90 billion in 2012 (at the time around US $ 1.1 billion). Riken’s achievements include the discovery of element 113, the establishment of SACLA X-ray Free Electron Laser, and the K supercomputer. But there was also a case of research misconduct that has damaged its good reputation: Two papers on stem-cell research published in Nature in January 2014 were retracted last July.

With the change in status from an Independent Administrative Institution to a National Research and Development Institute, Noyori aimed to create a research environment focused on preventing fraud and maximizing research and development achievements. The institute also decided not to press charges against Haruko Obokata, the lead author of the fraudulent research. Instead, she has to return the ¥600,000 that she used to publish the papers.

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