What are the Inter-University Research Institutes?

Inter-University Research Institutes are unique research organizations in Japan that seek to promote joint research across disciplines among universities. The institutes offer large-scale and cutting-edge facilities, large volumes of academic data, and valuable materials, which a single university would find it difficult to create and maintain, making them available free of charge to researchers in Japan as institutes shared by universities in different disciplines. The first Inter-University Research Institute was formed in 1971, and today there are 17 of them. They play an essential role in facilitating rapid progress in research and in responding to demands from research communities to reorganize research institutes affiliated with national universities. Each of the institutes has undertaken joint research by pooling the wisdom of nationwide researchers, as the core base of their respective research area. At the same time, the institutes have represented Japan at numerous international conventions, and have served as the organizers of research communities. In 2004 the Inter-University Research Institutes were reorganized under four independent institutes, pursuant to the National University Corporation Act. Each of these institutes is charged with reinvigorating research in an independent environment, facilitating strategic action to enhance inter-university use and research functions, while creating new research areas. Given this situation, close collaboration with universities is essential. Inter-University Research Institutes have been established as research bodies that address areas outside the reach of any single university, to pursue world-class studies. Their most fundamental characteristic is to offer the infrastructure needed to facilitate university-led research, and they have made significant contributions to the academic world. Inter-University Research Institutes are likely to become even more important in the years ahead. Inter-University Research Institutes will continue to play an important role in supporting education and research at universities, and in advancing the academic research that is principally conducted by universities. In addition, we will continue our activities as research institutes of equivalent standing to universities, aiming at genuine research that originates from the independent thinking of our researchers.

Features of Inter-University Research Institutes

  • 1. Joint use of large-scale facilities and joint research
    Inter-University Research Institutes develop large-scale and advanced research centers that single universities would find it difficult to maintain, in order to enable cutting-edge research and to offer facilities for researchers nationwide.
  • 2. Collection, study, and provision of materials and data
    Inter-University Research Institutes systematically collect and manage academically valuable materials and large-volume data, and make them openly available for improving intellectual platforms.
  • 3. Establishing academic information platforms and databases
    Inter-University Research Institutes create networks for facilitating the exchange of academic information among universities and research institutes, both within Japan and internationally. In addition, databases of the results of research will be developed and made available.