What is ERATO?
The Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) research funding program was founded in 1981, to promote basic research in science and technology. Its mission was to make Japan a world leader in science and technology: bringing a brighter future for Japan as well as making significant contributions to the international community.
In 2002, influenced by the government’s "Second-stage Basic Plan (Master Plan) for Science and Technology” (2001-2006) and by the strategies set_up by the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP), ERATO received a complete makeover, under the bigger umbrella of “Strategic Basic Research Programs” initiated by the government.
The goal of Strategic Basic Research Programs is to promote problem-solving oriented basic research, guided by strategies set by the government based on social and economic needs as well as the national policy on science and technology.
In the ERATO program, for the purpose of achieving national strategic sectors, JST establishes key research areas that offer high potential for creating seeds for new technologies, then appoints a research director (from academia or industry) to be responsible for each of these strategic research areas. The research director’s job is to draw up a detailed plan for the research, recruit researchers, and direct and manage the research which may also be performed in smaller sub-groups, to achieve his or her vision as well as national strategy.
The ERATO funding program has received high acclaim both from within Japan as well as from overseas. With its 30-year contribution to the research community and to the nation, it has earned recognition among researchers as one of the most prestigious research funds in Japan. Still maintaining its original vision from when it was established in 1981, the program will continue to promote creative and challenging research projects.
Where does "ERATO" come from?
Erato was the Greek Goddess of romantic poetry. ERATO is also a near- acronym for "Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology." When the major change in basic research strategy was incorporated in 2002, ERATO had already earned recognition as one of the most prestigious research funds in the research community, and the decision was made to continue to use the name ERATO, although the fund's management and administration have changed direction since its founding.