TOP > About FIRST Program

Outline of FIRST Program

Aiming at World's Top level R&D

Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology (FIRST Program) offers very unique system to advance world-leading research carried out in wide spectrum of fields from basic research to R&D topics leading near-future industrial applications. The goal is to gain the top leadership position in the world within 5 years in each field. The Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) in Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, selected top 30 researchers (called ""core researchers"") with highest potential from various fields and entrusted each core researcher with a research fund ranging from ¥1.5 billion to ¥6 billion over a period of 5 years.

Reinforcing Japan's Global Competitiveness & Fundamental Strength via Researcher-Oriented System

Japan's existing research-funding systems, due to restrictions rooted in Japan's single-year budgetary system, made it difficult for researchers to freely carry it over into the next fiscal years or receive advance payment according to the progress of their research. Under FIRST Program, funding resource takes the form of a Fund, allowing multi-year contiguous usage, and giving researchers a high degree of freedom in using the fund. Also, setting an operational support institution for each project will enable researchers to concentrate more fully on their research work itself.
The program aims at reinforcing Japan's medium-to long-term global competitiveness and fundamental strength in science and technology. Research accomplishments will not only be fed back to Japanese tax payers in various ways, they will also be shared globally through paper and conference presentations.

FIRST Acceleration and Outreach Programs

In FY 2010, FIRST Acceleration Program was established to accelerate and strengthen the research activities of selected topics under the FIRST Program. FIRST Outreach Program was also established to support the wider dissemination of the FIRST program itself as well as research accomplishments.

How FIRST Program was Established

On April 21, 2009, at CSTP, the minister of science and technology proposed to create a brand new funding system providing the most convenience to researchers. On May 29, the supplemental budget in FY 2009 was approved, and the FIRST program was inaugurated.
Following close reviews, CSTP selected 30 core researchers and their leading-edge projects on September 4, 2009. The total budget for the FIRST Program was finalized to be ¥100 billion on October 16. Based on the program management policy issued by CSTP, the research plan was finalized and the Program finally took off on March 9, 2010.


○ Details of FIRST Program
   The Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
   (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

○ Operation or implementation of FIRST Program
   Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

○ Details of this website
   Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)