Japanese govt to help postdoc researchers find jobs

Japanese govt to help postdoc researchers find jobs
An increase in the number of researchers who fail to find stable jobs could shake the foundations of the nation's research and development.

The government plans to encourage national universities to help postdoctoral researchers find regular employment, out of concern that an increase in the number of researchers who fail to find stable jobs could shake the foundations of the nation's research and development, the Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

There have been a growing number of the so-called "posudoku" postdoctoral researchers who continue their studies as they are unable to find regular academic posts, such as research assistant, even after they obtain doctoral degrees.

The government plans to decide on grants for each university, with the amount of each grant based on the level of measures the university has taken for such postdoctoral researchers, according to sources.

After the Finance Ministry and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry coordinate on the matter, the government will include the measure in its basic policies for economic and fiscal reform to be compiled in late June and implement the measure as early as fiscal 2015, the sources said.

To ensure these postdoctoral researchers find research posts as regular employees either at their universities or at outside entities, the government plans to ask national universities to take such measures as increasing the number of posts within their institutions for young researchers and strengthening cooperation with the private sector so that they would be able to find stable jobs at companies as well.

As there has been some criticism that the distribution of grants for national universities' operational costs-about 1.1 trillion Yen (S$13.5 billion) per year-is inflexible, the government will review how the grants are allocated by taking into account the level of achievement in taking measures for postdoctoral researchers, the sources said.

The number of graduate students increased from 98,650 in fiscal 1991 to 255,386 in fiscal 2013, but posts available for them as regular researchers have not accordingly increased, with the number of postdoctoral researchers increasing from 6,274 in 1996 to 17,116 in 2009.

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