Japanese research has been stagnant over the last few years and the country’s leading research universities have been pushed aside by the rising stars of Mainland China. The situation has been attributed, at least in part, to a lack of adequate research funding.
In 2006-09 Japan’s flagship University of Tokyo was ranked 4th in the world for total publications in Leiden Ranking and first for physical sciences and engineering. But by 2015-18 it had fallen to 22nd for overall publications and 14th for physical sciences and engineering.
The relative decline in high quality publications, those in the most cited ten percent of journals, was even more dramatic. In 2006-09 the university was 28th overall and 6th for physical sciences and engineering. in 2015 18 it was 62nd overall and 20th for physical sciences and engineering.
In response to the situation, the Japanese government has established a new university fund to prove support for scientific research starting in 2022. According to an article in University World News by Suvendrini Kakuchi the fund is expected to reach USD 95 billion. It will be funded by investment in stocks and bonds and the sale of gold reserves.
The article notes that the Cabinet Office is concerned about Japan falling from 4th place to 11th for “top level academic papers.”
The objectives of the fund are to stop the decline in Japan’s research capabilities and in the global rankings and to increase the number of doctoral students.
University World News