R&D Projects

Star Scientists and Innovation in Japan

Project Director

Project Director: Kanetaka MAKI
Kanetaka MAKI
Associate Professor, Waseda Business School


To promote the advance of science, technology and innovation in Japan, optimized and effective allocation of research grants is becoming increasingly critical. In the United States, “star scientists” are not only highly achieving researchers, but also highly achieving entrepreneurs. The collaboration between star scientists and firms create economic prosperity. By conducting the chronological analysis of star scientists in Japan, this project intends to evaluate change in roles within Japan’s innovation system. Based on the analyses, we investigate how science and star scientists stimulate innovation. Furthermore, we will propose a direction for institutional reform in promoting innovation within the nation. Ultimately, we aim to construct a “virtuous cycle of science and business” in Japan.


The aim of this project is to construct a “virtuous cycle of science and business” in Japan by analyzing the impact of star scientists on the industry. To achieve this mission, we will focus on the following four research objectives:
(1) detecting star scientists in Japan;
(2) understanding the current situation of star scientists in Japan;
(3) impact of the national innovation system reform on star scientists in Japan;
(4) factors for consideration in the education of future star scientists.

Our project design and methods are as follows:
1) Constructing dataset: By aggregating the dataset of academic publications, patents, funding, and startups, we will construct a dataset with which to analyze star scientists.
2) Reconsidering research questions: Based on interviews of star scientists in Japan, we will reevaluate and reconstruct our initial research questions.
3) Data analyses: Using the constructed dataset, we will validate our four research objectives.
4) Hosting workshops: To create a community promoting a “virtuous cycle of science and business” in Japan, we will host monthly workshops to discuss the star scientists.
5) Interview analyses: We will conduct secondary interviews of star scientists based on our empirical evidence.
6) Publication of results: We aim to publish our findings in academic papers and in a book. In addition, we will organize a workshop with policymakers so as to translate/transfer knowledge into practice.