Since obtaining my degree in molecular evolution research, I have conducted ongoing research on biostatistics. Specifically, my research has been based on analysis of protein structures, and comparisons of genome structures. In the process of carrying out these research activities, I was involved in a limited-time project at the Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo. This project also involved training of personnel and researchers, and the work involved offering support to participants writing theses, in addition to conducting your own research.
As the time period allocated to the project at the University of Tokyo drew to an end, I began to wonder what I should do next. Around that time, former CBRC Director Akiyama very graciously asked me if I would like to join the CBRC after the project had finished. I had already heard about the CBRC's activities, and was under the impression that the Center offered an environment where you could focus on your own research, so I decided to join. I joined the CBRC at the conclusion of the earlier project in April 2006.
The first and most significant benefit is that you are able to focus on your own research. The researchers and personnel who work here are talented and capable, so there is little need to train personnel and researchers, which enables you to spend more time focusing on advancing with your own theme and to continue your research. Of course, you still need to receive recognition from the people at the Center that your research theme is a meaningful one. (Laughs)
Another benefit of working at the CBRC is that there are plenty of people to debate your research theme with. When you focus on the sort of "dry" theoretical research conducted at an institution like the CBRC, it is important to polish your theories through debate with a wide variety of people, and review them from fresh perspectives. In a way, you could say that meaningful debate is the driving force behind progress in research. Many capable researchers work at the CBRC. Accordingly there are many people with whom you can have fruitful debate, and this acts as a driving force for progress in research.
Naturally, I have this responsibility as the person who oversees the team. Yes, I sometimes even also have to help with research presentations and thesis writing (laughs). However this is ultimately only just a side aspect of my role, and it is not as though I need to train new personnel or researchers from scratch. The CBRC is a Center where talented researchers gather. Each researcher has their own research theme, and each researcher has the self-reliance to progress with their research by themselves. This means that I am also able to focus on my own research.
The team that I lead - the Biological Network Team - consists of three full-time staff, one post-doctoral fellow, one technical staff member, and has four collaborative research locations. All people and locations involved progress with research by themselves, and all the staff are good at their work. These are the conditions we work under, so I believe that my own personal theory that researchers ultimately work for themselves is in operation here.
There are two types of people.
Firstly, I want people who are able to forget everything else, and who can immerse themselves in research. I want people who are able sacrifice their comforts and worldly things and who can dedicate themselves solely to a research theme that they decide upon. I don't care - I really don't care - if their manners are bad, or they hand in papers late, as long they are able to do this (laughs).
Secondly, I want talented and spirited researchers. I have always thought that talent will always beat effort. If researchers, at their very core, are not talented, they will never have major successกฤI know this sounds a little harsh, but I honestly believe that. It is also important to have the resolve to make a living from research. I think that with recent changes in people's sense of values, the number of people with this kind of resolve has reduced, which is disappointing. However, I think this is really important if you want to conduct meaningful research.
What I call talent is the ability to look at something in a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted way. People with this talent are able to approach their research themes not only from their own perspective, but from differing perspectives as well; they are able to consider how other researchers might perceive the theme, or how third parties might perceive the theme. They have the ability to always be conscious of other approaches to the research, and to not simply push forward based upon only their own way of perceiving the issue. I think this ability is an important talent for researchers to possess.
Research conducted at the CBRC holds major advantages for talented and spirited researchers. The CBRC acts as a forum for debate, where people holding a variety of perspectives can be found. Debate enables you to look at one issue from a variety of perspectives, and increases the "precision" of your research.
Decisiveness is another important facility to have as a researcher. It is also important to tackle your research after thoroughly considering exactly what you need to do. You can't be someone who says, "Well, I'll give this a try for now", or "Maybe this might be okay". I want people who are talented, spirited, and decisive to come to the CBRC.