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1 Introduction As educators of future scientists, researchers, and engineers, and as the performers of the "freest" form of basic research in both countries, universities are in a position to play an important role in efforts to open doors for new exchange opportunities. A comparison of the U.S. and Japanese university research systems, however, uncovers numerous obsta- cles to foreign access. Although most are not consciously erected barriers, they appear, nonetheless, to have had significant impact and thus call for increased understanding and efforts at rectification. A review of the literature indicates that the U.S. and Japanese univer- sity research systems are facing similar pressures and challenges, including the rising costs of research, shorter lag times between basic and applied research, the need for more multidisciplinary research, the dual challenge of education and research, and defining the government's role in resource allocation in university laboratories. Efforts to meet these challenges have brought about movement in both countries toward more university-industry cooperation, a development that creates an additional challenge when con- flicting academic and corporate principles meet. Japan faces an additional challenge in the need to improve its basic research capabilities. Many of the factors that affect foreign access are rooted in organi- zational differences between the two nations' university research systems, a fact that is likely to make it difficult to eliminate them through formal negotiations between the United States and Japan. Varying degrees of re- searcher independence, different approaches to funding, language barriers, different definitions of the meaning of "basic" research, and differing levels of domestic support for overseas research are but a few factors that may 1
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2 hamper the integration of foreign researchers into a Japanese university laboratory. Both nations' systems have strengths and weaknesses, and both nations are in the process of addressing their perceived weaknesses. Neither is in a position to claim that it cannot learn from the other, but both will lose if the effort is not made. The following pages compare and contrast university research and development systems in the United States and Japan. While it is possible to make some generalizations about the nature of each country's system, it should be remembered that great diversity exists across both nations' university laboratories. The major goal of this review of the literature is to highlight factors likely to affect foreign participation and access. This preliminary assessment is meant to serve as a basis for discussion and future study, rather than a definitive statement. SCOPE Although there are a large number of universities, colleges, and aca- demic research institutions in the United States and Japan, significant re- search work in both countries is concentrated in a relatively small number of organizations. Japan's major universities are usually categorized by funding source: national, private, and public or local. Japan's 96 national universities and their associated research institutes are the heart of the university research system. Most national universities are the most prestigious, sharing their rank with a very few select private universities. Since national universities tend to be older than public or private ones, they also tend to be more traditional in organization, a subject that will be discussed in more detail below. While technical colleges have gained some credibility in recent years, junior colleges remain largely the domain of female students majoring in home economics. U.S. universities are similarly divided between public and private, based primarily on source of funds, although there are no civilian universities in the United States that are funded by the federal government. (There are, however, three federally-funded military academies.) There is also less of a clear "prestige" distinction in the United States, where a list of the most respected schools includes both private and public institutions. Only 100 U.S. universities are considered "research universities." In both the United States and Japan, a large portion of university research and development money is concentrated in the natural sciences and engineering (see Table 1-1~. In Japan, however, R&D expenditures in engineering fields make up a larger share of the total. The relatively high Japanese expenditures in the social sciences and "all other fields" probably
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3 TABLE 1-1 Expenditures for Research and Development (R&D) by Higher Education in the United States and Japan, 1986 (constant 1982 dollars) Category United States Japan Total expenditures for R&D by higher education 312,656,000,000$7,297,000,000 Share of total R&D performed by higher education 12.0%20.0% Breakdown by field Natural sciences 43.2589.0% Engineering 14.620.7 Agriculture 10.84.8 Medical sciences 23.725.5 Social sciences 5.813.0 All other fields 1.926.9 NOTE: Japanese dollar figures were calculated by the National Science Foundation (NSF) using Government of Japan, Management and Coordination Agency information. "All other fields" includes home economics, education, arts, and others. The United States does not consider work in most of these fields to be "scientific research." The expenditure figures include salaries, for both U.S. and Japanese university researchers. SOURCE: NSF, The Science and Technology Resources of Japan: A Comparison with the United States, 1988, 60. reflect the even distribution of general research funds and the relatively high number of faculty members in those areas. In Japan the high concentration of graduate education in the national universities can be seen in the fact that these universities grant 63 percent of all graduate degrees. Historically, the concentration of engineering Ph.D.s has been even more stark From 1957 to 1983, for example, national universities awarded 85 percent of all engineering Ph.D.s in Japan.i In the United States, too, the 100 "research universities" produce a majority of the nation's Ph.D.s in science and engineering.2 1 Lawrence P. Grayson, "Technology in Japan: Advancing the Frontiers; Part, cation, " Engineering Educatu~n (April/May 1987),690. 2 Office of Technology Assessment, Educating Scientists and Engineers, 1988,72. ': GraduateEdu