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Report on research funding aims to improve transparency

  • March 20, 2021
  • , The Japan News , 3:55 p.m.
  • English Press

Researchers who receive government subsidies should be required to disclose details of funding, including foreign sources, according to a report compiled by an expert panel to study the transparency of research funds.


The panel, which was chaired by Prefectural University of Kumamoto Chancellor Takashi Shiraishi, also recommended that the government take measures such as restricting grant applications for up to five years for false declarations.


The panel has been studying countermeasures since September last year as it believes that the opaque provision of funds from abroad could lead to the outflow of advanced Japanese technology, with China’s Thousand Talents Plan international recruitment initiative in mind.


Referring to the initiative, the report stated that “a response to new risks associated with the internationalization and openness of research is required.”


According to the report, when researchers apply for public research funds including kakenhi grants for scientific research, they should be required to declare their affiliations and positions, including roles at overseas institutions, as well as details of funds received from external organizations. The report also states that researchers should pledge to report information on joint research partners.


If researchers make false declarations, the report recommends such measures as publicly reporting the case, restricting applications for up to five years, rejecting funding applications, and canceling funding that had been approved.


In April, the government will decide on the basic policy for transparency of research funding based on the report. It then plans to revise the guidelines on public research funding and specify the obligation to disclose the status of funding, listening to the opinions of academic organizations.


“We will try to realize measures to balance original research and security,” Science and Technology Minister Shinji Inoue said at a press conference on Friday.


According to a Yomiuri Shimbun tally, 44 Japanese researchers have been involved in the Thousand Talents Plan. Some researchers have received large amounts of kakenhi grants and belonged to universities linked to the Chinese military.

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