As securing external funding is becoming more important among Japanese universities, the acquisition and appropriate management of external funds have become more critical in pursuing research activities. At the same time, a greater burden is being put on researchers due to the increasing work involved in research administration and management such as ensuring the appropriate use of each funding. Considering this situation and research environment, an advisory panel consisting of research directors and the vice-presidents started a discussion at the Research University 11 (RU11※) in May FY2009 about fostering and securing research administrators who assist applications for research funds and the management of research projects at universities. In FY2011, a “Program for Training and Securing Research Administrators” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) was launched. Kyoto University opened the Research Administration Office on April 1, 2012 as a subsidized project in this initiative.
In 2013, the MEXT launched the Program for Promoting the Enhancement of Research Universities and Kyoto University has been promoting the development of the URA system and reinforcing the research capacity as one of the universities under the program. With the subsidy from this program, over 40 URAs are currently funded in the Research Administration Office to engage in daily work to cultivate an environment that enables researchers to demonstrate their full potential and support the promotion of research in cooperation with an administrative officer.
※RU11 was established with the aim of facilitating policy consultations between research universities. It was originally started with nine universities, namely Kyoto University, The University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, Kyushu University, Hokkaido University, Osaka University, Nagoya University, Waseda University and Keio University, and was later joined by the Tokyo Institute of Technology and University of Tsukuba.
URAs work to help researchers energize their research activities and to strengthen the research development and management by planning and managing research activities. The responsibilities of URAs include planning research projects with researchers, carefully examining the compliance of projects with laws and other related regulations, proposing and making negotiations, accounting, managing finances and facilities for research projects, managing the flow of research projects, summarizing outcomes, and promoting the utilization of patent applications (MEXT).