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Outline of Strategic Basic Research Programs

Program Intent

The purpose of Strategic Basic Research Programs is to advance basic research aimed at achieving solutions for key issues facing Japan, and create the seeds of innovative technologies from new scientific knowledge that gives rise to scientific and technical innovation leading to social and economic change.

Program Overview

Based on the national government's science and technology policies, and social and economic needs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology establishes Strategic Objectives for achieving solutions to issues the country should address, and JST, working within that framework, specifies Research Areas to pursue and a Research Supervisor (Program Officer) to lead them. The Research Supervisor pursues directed basic research aimed at creating the seeds of innovative technologies that will give rise to science and technology innovations that lead to the achievement of solutions in Strategic Objectives.
The Program Directors consider and propose management policies and system reforms for a Strategic Basic Research Program. For “CREST” (Research projects pursued by research teams led by Research Directors) and “PRESTO” (Research projects pursued by individual researchers) within Strategic Basic Research Programs, JST specifies Research Areas and a Research Supervisor (Program Officer) based on prior evaluations by Program Directors.
The Research Supervisor oversees Research Areas as a “virtual research institute.” More specifically, the Research Supervisor acts as the lab director, builds a time-limited system for conducting research by organizing a research project and assembling an optimal mix of researchers from industry, academia, and government, and, enlisting the cooperation of Research Area Advisors and others, oversees work in the Research Area to accomplish Strategic Objectives. CREST Research Directors and PRESTO individual researchers, while receiving support as prescribed by Research Supervisors, actively build personal networks through dialogue with Research Area Advisors and others, connections with participating researchers, and relationships with others inside and outside the country, and apply these networks in advancing the research projects they have proposed to achieve innovations in science and technology.

Program Description

(1) Overview and characteristics of CREST

a. CREST promotes directed basic research that is unique and among the most advanced of its kind in the world, in order to accomplish Strategic Objectives designated by the national government. CREST supports research undertaken by research teams aiming to produce outstanding results that will contribute greatly to future science and technology innovation.

b. Research Area is overseen by the Research Supervisor, who manages Research Directors at industrial, academic, or government institutions. The Research Supervisor manages Research Areas as a virtual research institute.
The Research Supervisor, in his/her role as director of a virtual research institute, enlists the cooperation of Research Area Advisors and others in managing Research Areas through the following activities.
- Specification of a management direction for individual Research Area
- Research projects selection
- Refinement and approval of research plans (including research costs and assembly of the research team)
- Participating in meetings at which Research Directors report on their research progress and have their results discussed, visiting labs where research is being performed, and taking other opportunities as well to communicate with Research Directors and provide them with advice and guidance on their efforts.
- Research project evaluation
- Other necessary activities

c. A Research Director can bring multiple researchers together in a team optimal for pursuing the Research Director's proposed research initiative. A Research Director advances research that will contribute to the overall purposes of the Research Area, while bearing full responsibility for the research project he/she is leading.

(2) Overview and characteristics of PRESTO

a. PRESTO promotes directed basic research that is unique, challenging, and among the most advanced of its kind in the world, in order to accomplish objectives in Strategic Objectives designated by the national government. PRESTO promotes the pursuit of research through a network of individuals who, through the network, are working to produce world-class, groundbreaking results that will give rise to science and technology innovation.

b. Research areas are overseen by a Research Supervisor, who manages individual researchers and oversees research areas in a virtual research institute.
The Research Supervisor, in his/her role as director of a virtual research institute, enlists the cooperation of Research Area Advisors and others in managing research areas through the following activities.
- Specification of a management direction for individual research areas
- Research project selection
- Refinement and approval of research plans (including research costs)
- Holding research area meetings at which individual researchers report on their research progress and have their results discussed, visiting labs where research is being performed, and taking other opportunities as well to communicate with individual researchers and provide them with advice and guidance on their efforts.
- Research project evaluation
- Other activities necessary to support research activities in various ways

c. Individual researchers, in pursuing the research initiatives they have proposed, and taking responsibility for implementing their own research projects, pursue research that will contribute to the overall purposes of the research area.

Budget, Research Period of each Research Type

Research Type Budget per year Total Budget Research Period
CREST 30 - 100 Million Yen/yr 150 Million Yen - 500 Million Yen No longer than 5.5 years
PRESTO 10 Million Yen/yr 30 Million Yen - 40 Million Yen No longer than 3.5 years
CONTENTS Important Using the Electronic system for Research and Development (e-Rad).

Please submit your Research Proposal, using e-Rad.
Note: Since e-Rad system has not yet supported the application in English, it is recommended that Japanese associates apply on behalf of those who are not used to handling paperwork in Japanese.