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 world top-class researchers have engaged in research collaboration so far using this framework. Besides the research collaboration, visiting professors contribute to education of young researchers. In FY2014, NIPS started the Section of International Collaborative Research Project, which is run for 3 years by an adjunctive foreign professor as a Principal Investigator (P.I.). In FY2017, Professor Denis Le Bihan (a former Director of Neurospin, France) is running a lab as a P.I. 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 annual international symposium. A NIPS professor serves as an organizer, and usually approximately 10 top researchers from abroad and a similar number of top domestic researchers are invited. The total number of participants is around 100-150. In FY2017, the 48th NIPS International Symposium entitled “Neural circuitry and plasticity underlying brain function” was organized by Professor Yumiko Yoshimura. There were 95 participants including 7 oversea speakers (total 20 speakers). In FY2018, the 49th NIPS International Symposium entitled “Ion channels (tentative)” will be held on Dec 6-8 (Organizers: Professor Keiji Imoto and Professor Yasuo Mori (Kyoto University)). In addition, the international workshop, which is an international version of NIPS research meetings, was launched in FY2008 and NIPS aims to hold it every year.
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); Neurospin (France); and McGill University (Canada). In FY2017, NIPS organized a joint symposium with Yonsei Univsesity and Korea Univeristy in Seoul, sending 23 researchers, and that with Tübingen University focusing on higher brain function inviting 8 researchers. Also a joint symposium with McGill University was held in Montreal, sending 8 NIPS professors. In FY2018, NIPS plans to organize another joint symposium with McGill University in NIPS and also welcomes 5weeks’ stay of PhD students in McGill University to facilitate collaboration.
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.