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MEXT set up task force for creating a society where doctorate recipients play an active role and enjoy increased career satisfaction


The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) set up a task force and held its first meeting with the goal of developing successful careers for doctorate recipients. The chairperson, MEXT Minister of Education Masahito Moriyama, stated at the opening of the meeting, "I think that we should build an environment in which all students who wish to be a PhD can go on to pursue doctoral training, and at the same time, we should ensure that doctoral recipients are duly valued in society."

"The current supplementary budget set aside 49.9 billion JPY, enabling the provision of financial support for students and ensuring their career path development. We would like to continue to provide full support for undergraduates and master's students who are hesitant about entering a doctoral education, and for PhD candidates, so that they all can enter, advance, and pursue their studies in this pathway without worry. For further shaping relevant policies, we will compile—by around next spring—a package of detailed measures for ensuring successful careers for PhD recipients."

MEXT held the first meeting of a task force for developing successful careers for doctorate recipients.

The number of students enrolling in doctoral programs in Japan has been decreasing since its peak in 2003. The number of PhDs per million people is very low, at around 120, compared to around 300 in the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and South Korea. With Japan's decline in research strength being highlighted, there will be serious problems attracting the talented individuals who create the new value that leads and drives society in the future if this situation continues. There are also concerns that Japan will drop out of international brain circulation.

Meanwhile, approximately 40% of PhD candidates come from business sectors; this means that the doctoral program plays an essential function in regard to their 'reskilling.' Steadily providing a conducive environment in a bid to accelerate this trend is crucial.

The task force will hammer out some measures needed for visualizing the advantages and attractiveness of doctorate recipients and exhorting them to seek a success not only in academia, but also in diverse fields of society.

The first meeting held a hearing from Teruhisa Ueda, the chairman of the board and representative director of Shimadzu Corporation; Naoko Okawachi, the founder and chief executive officer of ideafund Co., Inc.; and Yoshinori Mizuguchi, the director and chief financial officer (CFO) of Metagen Inc., regarding their current efforts and future possibilities for the success of PhDs in the industry.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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