International Advocacy Toolkit: Japan

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Organizing Questions

  1. Which organization/s are significant sources of research funding? 

  2. What does the normal science funding/policy decision-making process look like?

  3. Which patient advocacy groups, if any, are active in the area?

  4. Are there existing national/regional organizations that work towards improving research funding/policy?

  5. How do scientists currently contribute to the existing funding/policy-making/advocacy process, if at all? 

  6. When are science funding/policy decisions made? 

  7. What kinds of opportunities exist for scientists to interact with funders and policymakers?

Which organization/s are significant sources of research funding? 

National government.

 What does the normal science funding/policy decision-making process look like?

  • Which group/committee/person within the funding/policy organization makes the decisions? 

For large funding, ministry decides based on the advisory (scientific) members and for smaller funding, peer/scientific reviewers make decisions.

  • What are the criteria the funding/policy organization/s use to make their decisions?

For large funding, the government policy based on public opinion and economic has a rather large influence. For smaller funding, decisions are more based on the scientific significance of each related field.

  • Is peer/scientific review involved in the funding-decision process?

Yes, but more for smaller funding projects.

Which patient advocacy groups, if any, are active in the area?

Yes.

Are there existing national/regional organizations that work towards improving research funding/policy?

How do scientists currently contribute to the existing funding/policy-making/advocacy process, if at all? 

Scientists have discussions with ministry members and make plans for ministry.

When are science funding/policy decisions made? 

Annually.

What kinds of opportunities exist for scientists to interact with funders and policymakers?

  • Can scientists invite decision makers to their lab/institution to see their work firsthand?

There is no such open system. In the very initial phase, usually connections to the researcher who is influential to the ministry may be important.

  • Do the funding/policy organizations hold open meetings or solicit comments from the public that researchers can participate in?

Only after the funding distribution is decided.

Contributors: Masayo Takahashi M.D., Ph.D. (RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research)