NIPS is an internationally recognized research institution, and active international exchanges are performed. NIPS has the positions of foreign research staff (approximately 3 visiting professors and 3 visiting researchers), and many world top-class researchers have engaged in research collaboration so far using this framework. Besides research collaboration, visiting professors contribute to education of young researchers. In FY2014, NIPS started the International Collaboration Laboratory and Dr. Ravshan Sabirov, an adjunctive professor, ran the lab for 3 years till FY2016, as the Principal Investigator. From FY2017, NIPS welcomes Dr. Denis Le Bihan (Neurospin, France) as an adjunctive professor and as a new P.I. of the International Collaboration Laboratory. In addition, using the frameworks such as JSPS postdoctoral fellowship, foreign researchers and graduate students conduct research at NIPS. Also many foreign students enter Department of Physiological Sciences of SOKENDAI as a graduate school and engage in research actively.
One of the main international exchange activities at NIPS is the international symposium. It is held once or twice a year. A NIPS professor serves as an organizer, and usually 10-15 top researchers from abroad and a similar number of top domestic researchers are invited. The total number of participants is around 100-150. In FY2016, the 47th NIPS International Symposium entitled “Decoding Synapse” was organized by Professor Fukata. There were 121 participants including 9 oversea speakers (total 23 speakers). In FY2017, Professor Yoshimura will organize the 48th NIPS International Symposium on Oct 31- Nov 2. In addition, the international workshop, which is an international version of NIPS research meetings, was started in FY2008 and is held once or twice a year. In FY2016, two international workshops entitled “Towards elucidation of memory engram” and “The 4th international symposium on Salivary Glands in honor of Niels Stensen” were held to provide researchers with opportunities for intensive discussion and international communications.
NIPS has an academic contract or a memorandum of understanding for academic interaction with foreign institutions as follows, and is actively conducting joint academic activities including collaborative researches. The institutions are Uzbekistan Academy of Science, Research Institute for Physiology and Biophysics (Uzbekistan); Korea University, Faculty of Medicine and Yonsei University, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry (Korea); Tübingen University, Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience (Germany); Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Thailand); University of New South Wales, Faculty of Medicine (Australia); and Neurospin (France). Especially, NIPS has organized symposia focusing on higher brain function with Tübingen University CIN every year since 2012 either in Germany or in Japan. In FY2016, 16 researchers in NIPS attended the joint symposium held in Tübingen University.
Besides these, many international research collaborations of high quality are performed at the individual researchers’ level, supported by the budget of NIPS and also research grant from outside.