News Article

Japan to subsidise young scientists with $450m fund

Each year, some 700 Japanese young scientists will be granted $64,000 for a decade

A fund of around 50 billion yen ($458 million) will be set up by the Japanese government to provide financial security for young scientists and kick-start a new round of innovation.

The plan is to provide individual researchers with an average of 7 million yen a year, which can be expanded to about 10 million yen. The subsidies are intended, in principle, for researchers aged under 40 years.

Young scholars are often in precarious, limited-term positions in Japan. The purpose of the subsidies is to encourage these scientists to take on new challenges and help set off a new wave of technological innovation.

The fund will be included in the current economic policy package. About 700 participants, mostly in the area of science technology, are expected to participate throughout the program. Across three years, the applicants will be picked.

Officials intend to provide 8 million yen per researcher per year for 6 million yen. Therefore, institutions without scholars will be in line for about 30 per cent of what is given to their researchers.

By practice, the incentives will be given for seven years, but the duration may be increased to 10 years.

Japan’s young researchers face a shortage of stable jobs after completing their doctoral degrees. In fiscal 2015, the age of postdoctoral researchers averaged 36.3, up from 33.8 in fiscal 2009.

The percentage of those who were at least 35 years of age rose from 32.7% over the same period to 46.9%.

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