Full Support for Sending Female Researchers
from Nagoya into Fields around the World
MEXT’s Programs to Promote Research
Activities of Female Researchers
Japan has significantly fewer female researchers than developed countries in the West, and thus the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) embarked on the Programs to Promote Research Activities of Female Researchers in 2006. In order for female researchers to be given opportunities to reach their full potential, the Programs provides financial support for universities and other institutions that offer assistance to their female researchers in balancing their careers as researchers with life events, including childbirth, childrearing, and nursing care, and improving their research skills in an integrated manner.
Nagoya University’s Initiatives Adopted as the MEXT’s Programs
Since 2007, Nagoya University has had four of its initiatives adopted as the MEXT Programs, thus continuing to be extremely active in this area.
1) Through the first MEXT’s Program (adopted in 2007), while conducting both physical and non-physical environmental improvement to assist female researchers in achieving a work-life balance, such as establishment of a permanent after-school childcare center on campus and the introduction of a short-hour working system during the childrearing period, we have implemented an Incremental Positive Action Project to expedite the recruitment of new junior female researchers. Nagoya University is the first of Japan’s universities and businesses to open a permanent after-school childcare center. Under the Incremental Positive Action Project, scores are assigned for the recruitment and promotion of female faculty members, and the labor costs or research expenses of such members in designated positions are subsidized in those schools or graduate schools that have earned the highest three-year cumulative scores. Then, three years after that, their faculty member positions will become tenured.
2) Through the second MEXT’s Program (adopted in 2010), a total of 29 female faculty members in the STEM fields were hired over a period of five years. Particular emphasis was placed on the recruitment of female faculty members in higher positions, and Principal Investigator (PI) positions (Professor and Associate Professor positions allocated exclusively for female researchers to lead
research projects in the STEM fields) were also established. These female PI positions are now made available to female faculty members in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine on an ongoing basis. Also, the mentorship program, which is offered in conjunction with Nagoya University’s Center for the Studies of Higher Education (CSHE), which was established by this Program, has gained recognition throughout the university as an effective support program for researchers there.
3) As part of the third MEXT’s Program (adopted in 2014), we launched the AICHI Consortium for Supporting Female Researchers, together with Nagoya City University and the Toyohashi University of Technology, in order to support the research activities of female researchers through joint initiatives involving businesses, universities, and governments in Aichi Prefecture. Under the framework of the consortium, the Women’s Leadership Program, the Toyota Internship, and a regional scale of mentorship program, and other initiatives were introduced in order to help female researchers improve their research skills and promote them to higher positions.