Towards Consolidating International R&D Base
for R&D and Industry-University Collaboration
CRIS Executive Director, and
Executive and Vice President, Hokkaido University
Prof. Dr. Kazushige KAWABATA
Creative Research Institution (CRIS) is a core research and development organization of Hokkaido University situated in the North Campus in Sapporo and dedicated to execution of three major objectives: (i) promoting cutting-edge and interdisciplinary research and knowledge creation, (ii) collaborating with economic and regional communities via strong alliances, and (iii) developing human resources, from the University-wide perspective.
CRIS was established in 2002 as the University-wide organization designed mainly to promote cutting-edge world-class research and carry out the planning of a trans-departmental research system. Following the adoption of the Hokkaido University Research & Business Park (HUR&BP) Project, a 5 years long MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Super-COE Program for Encouraging Development of Strategic Research Centers, in FY2003, CRIS took further major initiative to implement projects dedicated to promotion of the industry-university alliances. Since the adoption of another 5-years long program by MEXT for Fostering Young Researchers Through Independent Research Atmosphere in FY2007, CRIS successfully implemented the “Hokkaido University Leader-Development System in Basic Interdisciplinary Research Areas (L-Station)” project and developed a unique tenure-track system that is currently being continued as "The Tenure-Track System Promotion Program" under new MEXT funding approved in FY 2011. Extension of the Sousei Hall in 2010 through MEXT supplementary budget enabled CRIS to secure additional space for joint university-industry projects. Likewise, completion of a new building through a FY2010 METI grant for Construction of Facilities for R&D on Industrial Technology in April 2011 to house the Platform for Research on Biofunctional Molecules has been another milestone for CRIS in accelerating new collaborations at the institutional level (e.g., at a scale that attracts research units rather than the individuals from private enterprises).
A joint university-industry-government proposal for "International Food & Medical Innovation Hub" (tentative name) submitted by Hokkaido University to the MEXT FY2012 Industry-University Cooperation Project on the Improvement of International Scientific Innovation Center by Making Use of Regional Resource was adopted in spring this year. This new program will enable us first of all to construct and manage a 5-storey building with ca. 10,000 m2 of total floor area within the North Campus, and then to carry out joint university-industry-government activities towards rapid problem-solving and commercialization based on the cutting-edge research seeds on food and drug discovery, medical care, etc. Furthermore, this project will allow us making the state-of-the-art equipment and facilities more "open" to the society, and furthering the functions of the University’s Center for Innovation and Business Promotion. As a result, we are determined to further promote the transfer of knowledge created at the University to society aiming at creation of new businesses.
CRIS has been serving as the management organization of 20 research-dedicated member establishments (national-level joint use / research centers, internal joint-use education and research facilities, etc.) at Hokkaido University. In this context, I believe it necessary to fully utilize the potential of these members and then create a dynamic and strategic research system founded on their collaboration and interlinking. I would like to further develop such a system into an All-Japan Research Alliance with the objectives of building an internationally prominent scientific hub for cross-disciplinary and integrative research programs.