Click for next page ( 5

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 4
Organization and Funding When comparing U.S. and Japanese R&D expenditures by performer, one may erroneously conclude that Japanese universities play a significantly greater role than their American counterparts (see Able 1-1~. A large amount of money spent on Japanese university research and development, however, supports research in fields other than the natural sciences and engineering. In addition, while there are Japanese university laboratories in which excellent research is being conducted, the Japanese university research system does not display the breadth or degree of excellence in basic research found in U.S. universities. The direction and amount of overall funding, however, only partially illuminate the differences between the U.S. and Japanese university research systems. Organizational differences affect how each nation meets the chal- lenges of scientific and technological research as well as the extent to which a foreign researcher is able to "fit in" to the university laboratory set- ting. Japanese university research is generally seen as more group-based, hierarchically organized, and directed than that in the United States; this rigidity is reinforced by Japan's traditional university research funding sys- tem. American university researchers, particularly younger researchers, by contrast, are more independent and more mobile, and the American system of independent funding reinforces that tendency. The fundamental unit of organization in a traditional Japanese na- tional university is the chair (koza). Chairs are grouped for administrative, teaching, and research purposes into departments. They are generally small and numerous. A typical chair might consist of one professor, two or three assistant professors, and several lecturers, assistants, and technicians, and of 4

OCR for page 4
s course, students. Based on a 1988 survey of 323 manufacturing engineering chairs, the average research team in that field numbers slightly less than three people, not including students.] Having automatic lifelong tenure, the chaired professor has extensive authority over his research team, assigning research projects and selecting all new members. Master's and Ph.D. applicants must be accepted by the chaired professor to pursue work in a particular field and their thesis research must support that of the chair's. Graduate students and young researchers succeed by supporting the work of their superiors worldwide, but particularly in Japan. The hierarchically organized chair system contrasts with the larger hierarchy of university administration, which can be characterized as one of "feudal lords" without a leader. Thus, while each chair is highly centralized, university administration in the national universities tends to be fragmented. Because the success of each chair depends to a large extent on the ability of the chair to work well as a team, competition among chairs for new assistants and the most able students is intense. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the chair system as described above is representative of all of Japan's universities. Many of its newer private universities created after World War II are organized more along the lines of the American university. In these universities, decision making is more likely to be centralized at the university administration level. In addition, efforts are being made within some national universities as well. One of the newer national universities in Tsukuba, for example, has been modeled on the American university department system. Finally, some university chair systems may be more rigid than others. Engineering schools, in particular, tend to be, by the nature of their research and the requirement that it be relevant to the world outside academe, more flexible. In addition, some chairs have shown flexibility in shifting to new areas of research. The Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture (Monbusho) is re- sponsible for financing national university expenditures and, to a lesser extent, supporting private and public universities. National university pro- fessors are considered civil servants and their salaries are paid by Monbusho. Most research funds are distributed via the chair system described above. In this way, the central government exercises considerable control over Japanese national university activities. 1 Kazuzaki Iwata, Manufacturing Engineering University-Ind~stry Coordination, presented at the second Japan-U.S. conference on manufacturing research, July 11-14, 1988.

OCR for page 4
6 Three categories of funds are made available to Japanese national universities:2 (1) general research funds determined by a standard formula, (2) special research funds for facilities and equipment necessary for specific research projects, and (3) grants to researchers or groups of researchers who apply for them through a competitive process. Monbusho also provides fellowships and travel grants. The first form of support is provided to all national universities for general research funds. The amount of support is calculated by a stan- dard formula aimed at guaranteeing a minimum level of support to each researcher in the national university system. The formula accounts for the number of chairs or researchers, the nature of the research (e.g., whether it is experimental, nonexperimental, or clinical) and whether or not the chair is in charge of graduate courses. Funds are channeled through the chair system, thus reinforcing the authority of the chair. Although in principle the university can distribute these funds among its chairs as it sees fit, in practice the university itself uses a standard formula to divide the funds democratically. The second form is offered as special research funds for facilities and equipment. These funds are granted as available based on the university's own priorities. The third form of support, known as Monbusho's grants-in-aid for scientific research program, is open to all Japanese universities. Under this program research grants are awarded directly to researchers (indi- viduals or groups) upon approval by the appropriate committees within Monbusho's Science Council. According to Monbusho, these grants are generally approved for basic research that is expected to make important contributions to scientific progress. In 1986 Monbusho granted 43.5 billion yen ($272 million), about 13 percent of its scientific research budget, under this program.3 Private and public universities are only partially supported by Mon- busho, in the form of block grants, provided to subsidize professors' salaries. Using a standard of recurrent expenses set by national university budgets, Monbusho's stated policy is to try to provide half. According to a re- cent newspaper editorial, however, Monbusho's private education subsidies have not exceeded 20 percent of private university operating expenses since 1985.4 Monbusho also gives grants to public and private universities for facilities and research equipment. 2 Lawrence P. Grayson, "technology in Japan: Advancing the Frontiers, Part 2: Research and Development, " Engineering Education (April/May 1987), 700-702. 3Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, The University Research System in Japan, 1986, 1. 4"Shigaku Josei wa Zogaku shi Genkaku ni," [Increase Private Education Assistance Sharply] Nihon Keizai, December 5, 1988, 2.

OCR for page 4
7 Although American universities, like their Japanese counterparts, are organized by departments that correspond with scientific disciplines, de- cision making tends to be less centralized within the department. As in Japan, research is usually conducted in small groups, but it need not be initiated by the department head. The higher degree of research autonomy in the American university laboratory is probably due to a combination of cultural and systemic factors. For one thing, American academic research is based more on individual efforts than is the case in Japan. American re- searchers are permitted to pursue their own area of interest as long as they can find funding. The fact that each researcher is responsible for finding his own external funding reinforces the decentralized nature of university research, as different sources of funding may call for varying agendas within one laboratory or even by one researcher. Nevertheless, a decentralized system does not necessan) foster the most creative, new research, and there are subtle, informal pressures in the U.S. system that also serve to direct the nature of research. The U.S. requirement that a researcher find his own funding may, in fact, discourage researchers from pursuing research that sponsoring organizations judge to be less important. American university researchers, constantly faced with the task of finding new funding, may "freely choose" to pursue "acceptable" (i.e., "bindable") research. In other words, whereas the Japanese researcher may be formally obligated to pursue research directed by the chair, the U.S. researcher may be encouraged to pursue research that is likely to receive funding. American university researchers are rewarded in the form of promotions and tenure (which is automatic in the Japanese case) based on "scientific productivity," generally measured by the number of publications they produce in their field, and by the degree to which they are recognized by colleagues in their discipline. Furthermore, in the United States, internal resources (e.g., laboratory space) are allocated by the department head who bases his decisions on quality of research, scientific interest, and the prospects for obtaining external support. In both the United States and Japan, the university research fund- ing systems can discourage young researchers. In Japan, the hierarchical nature of the seniority system provides researchers with access to more funding as they gain seniority. In the United States, proposals that must be completed to apply for government research funding can put less ex- perienced researchers at a disadvantage. Both governments require that anticipated results of research be included in proposals for research funds. This requirement has led professors in both nations to submit proposals for work already in progress, a practice that young researchers seeking initial funding can take advantage of only through their associations with senior researchers already engaged in research.

OCR for page 4
8 Although the U.S. federal government has long been the greatest patron of American university research, there is no federal agency, with the exception of the National Science Foundation (NSF), that plays the role of allocating general research funds played by Monbusho in Japan. In 1985 NSF provided only about 16 percent of the federal support made available for academic research and development.5 Government support of university research in the United States is much more mission-oriented than that in Japan. In 1985 over 90 percent of U.S. federal support for academic research and development came from the combined efforts of six agencies: National Institutes of Health, Na- tional Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and U.S. De- partment of Agriculture.6 With the exception of NSF, each of these agencies is mission oriented. Virtually all U.S. federal support for university R&D is, like Monbusho's grants-in-aid program (which, it will be remembered, ac- counts for only about 13 percent of Monbusho's research budget), provided for specific research projects. The government awards research grants or contracts to a university to carry out a particular project. 5National Science Foundation, Science and EngineenngIndicators-1987, 245. 6National Science Foundation, Science and EngineeringIndicators-1987, 245.