RIKEN is looking for the next generation of AI researchers

08 Jul 2024 | Network Updates | Update from RIKEN
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Implemented by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the “Broadening Opportunities for Outstanding young researchers and doctoral students in STrategic area (BOOST)Image removed.,” referred to hereinafter as the BOOST program, will promote the development of young researchers with expertise in the field of next-generation AI (field of AI and emergent and integrated areas in the field of AI) and will promote state-of-art research and development by using the cross-appointment system. RIKEN is currently developing the activities of the Transformative Research Innovation Platform of RIKEN platforms (TRIP)Image removed., which aims to solve societal problems by accelerating research cycles and advancing from prediction of the future to control of the future through scientific innovation in data utilization and advanced calculation. Among the activities, Advanced General Intelligence for Science Program (AGIS) is promoting AI for Science as a national project. RIKEN is one of the optimal research environments specified by the BOOST program, therefore, by supporting young researchers and improving employment conditions, which is an aim of the BOOST program, we will proactively collaborate to promote the BOOST program and contribute to creating innovation, enhancing the competitiveness in industry and activating the circulation of intellects.

Since FY 2022, RIKEN has been undertaking fundamental reform of its research personnel system with the aim of becoming a world premier research institute which has a high level of both stability and mobility and grows by combining these two elements. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the BOOST program at RIKEN, we will take the following actions in participation of the BOOST program, in a manner that is consistent with the main objectives of the BOOST program and RIKEN's research personnel system.

The following information is intended for external personnel other than those affiliated with RIKEN. RIKEN personnel should contact the person in charge of the BOOST program shown at the end of this document as different procedures apply to them.

Implementation of the RIKEN Review for BOOST

  • RIKEN research personnel belong to laboratories within RIKEN. Therefore, a researcher who will be accepted through the cross-appointment system to RIKEN must belong to a RIKEN laboratory to implement their proposed BOOST project for the program because RIKEN is a specified research institution for the BOOST program.
    This means that the researcher in question must work on the BOOST project with mentorship from the PI of the laboratory which they are affiliated with and obtain approval from the PI for publication of the project results, and moreover, their work attendance will be managed under the supervision of the PI. In addition, the BOOST project must be consistent with the research projects in which the affiliated lab engages. Because of these requirements, if applicants choose RIKEN as the research institution to work on the BOOST project, they need to contact the PI of a laboratory that they wish to be affiliated with or the Research Center before they apply for the program. After the applicant contacts us, we will send them information on the necessary procedures for the RIKEN Review for BOOST. Please note that you will be asked to submit applications and undergo an interview in the review process.
  • If applicants fail to pass the review, RIKEN will not accept the applicants. On the other hand, even when the proposed projects of those who have passed the RIKEN Review for BOOST are not selected by the BOOST program, they may be accepted to RIKEN through the cross-appointment system, considering the pass of the RIKEN Review for BOOST equivalent to an appointment to RIKEN.
  • For the outlines of the RIKEN Review for BOOST, see the Overview of RIKEN’s policy for BOOST (PDF 1.8MB)Image removed..

About 'Cross-appointment Personnel Expenses'

  • We believe that researchers' salaries should be determined under the responsibility and authority of RIKEN, based on an evaluation of the researcher's performance and abilities. For this reason, RIKEN does not plan to implement the system or operations of the BOOST program, which allows researchers to add to their own salary on their own. RIKEN will engage in salary reform based on the aims of the BOOST program through our own finances. In most cases, the salary after cross-appointment using RIKEN's salary scale is higher than the current salary.
  • “In the BOOST project application with RIKEN as the research implementing institution, in principle, do not include 'Cross-appointment Personnel Expenses (クロスアポイントメント人件費)' in the 1. itemized research expenses plan (Form 4, 1. 費目別の研究費計画) under the research expense plan (研究費計画) of the research proposal (研究提案書) (external link)Image removed..” (English coming soon)
  • Research expenses for the BOOST project should be allocated for the completion and further development of the proposal.
  • If you pass the RIKEN Review for BOOST, we will immediately make a tentative estimate of your expected salary after the cross-appointment is made and inform you of the results (the official salary amount will be determined at the time of the cross-appointment agreement. The salary amount obtained from the tentative calculation will be considered as an estimated amount.). With that in mind, please consider whether you would like to apply with RIKEN as the research implementing institution and how you would like to allocate your research expenses. The calculation is based on the assumption that both the cross-appointment origin and RIKEN have at least 20% effort of the total salary.
  • When applying through the RIKEN Review for BOOST process, we recommend that you state in your research proposal (研究提案書) that you expect your annual salary to increase even without including ‘Cross-appointment Personnel Expenses’ in the research expense plan (研究費計画). For example, in the "Special Note" section under the research expense plan of the research proposal (研究提案書) (external link)Image removed., (English coming soon) you can write “I have passed the acceptance review at RIKEN, the organization to which the cross-appointment is made. I have confirmed that my annual salary will increase if I conclude a cross-appointment agreement with RIKEN at my desired effort rate," etc.


  • The minimum requirements for acceptance at RIKEN through a cross-appointment to carry out a BOOST project are as follows.
    • The research plan must be feasible in the host laboratory, and the research expenses must be reasonable for the implementation of the plan with the use of RIKEN's facilities in mind.
    • Understand that employment at RIKEN is as a fixed-term employee with a fixed-term employment contract that is in principle a single-year contract, and that the maximum renewal of such fixed-term employment contract is up to the end date of the BOOST project.
    • Efforts at your institution (cross-appointment source) and RIKEN must be at least 20% in both cases.
  • The amount of salary and various allowances will be determined by the cross-appointment agreement between cross-appointment source and RIKEN. In principle, salary payments will be made by cross-appointment source to ensure continuity of social security (RIKEN will pay to cross-appointment source the amount that RIKEN should bear as a secondment cost).
  • Most RIKEN research personnel are eligible to choose the Discretionary Work System for specialized work. When signing a cross-appointment agreement, we will confirm consent regarding the application of the Discretionary Work System for specialized work.

Note: The contents of this document are current as of June 28, 2024. RIKEN may revise its policy in the future considering materials and announcements released by the JST. In such cases, the materials will be revised.

This article was first published on 28 June by RIKEN. 

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