Message from Director-General

椿 広計


September 20, 2022

Hiroe Tsubaki

The Institute of Statistical Mathematics

    Since our founding on June 5, 1944, the Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM) has been dedicated to statistical theories and their applications to elucidate and design behaviors and other phenomena of interest. We express our sincerest gratitude to the many industry, government, and academia stakeholders who have supported our statistical and mathematical science research for almost 80 years. The ISM faculty and staff remain committed to our mission, engaging in new research projects, and providing academic career development opportunities.

   Today, the world seeks to identify an ideal form of a data-driven society, and Japan is in great need of data scientists with excellent problem-solving and goal-achieving capabilities. In fiscal year (FY) 2021, ISM received funding for five years from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) to implement “The Project for Training Experts in Statistical Sciences.” Under this project, we launched the Center for Training Professors in Statistics in January 2022 as a teaching platform similar to ISM’s School of Statistical Thinking, which has been home to various levels of statistical scientists. The new center offers two-year faculty development programs to empower junior and mid-career members of the 21 academic institutions participating in the project. These member institutions have formed a consortium to jointly develop and implement a master’s- level statistical education program. The junior and mid-career faculty members who complete the two-year program will lead their institutions’ career development ecosystem, where graduate students will receive world-leading statistical education and training.

     Two additional five-year projects proposed by ISM were also approved by MEXT in FY 2021. One is the “Creation of data infrastructure for data-driven polymer materials research” project, which was approved under the Program for Promoting Research on the Supercomputer Fugaku. This project is represented by ISM’s Data Science Center for Creative Design and Manufacturing. The other is the “New developments in space-time earthquake forecasting and monitoring: from long-term to real-time” project, which is represented by ISM’s Risk Analysis Research Center. This research plan was approved under the Seismology TowArd Research innovation with data of Earthquake Project (STAR-E Project). We have spent a long time implementing the Network of Excellence (NOE) Project, an inter-institutional effort to advance the theoretical foundations of data science and to build and activate the relevant research networks. These activities have opened the door to new concepts, methodologies, and applied research opportunities. Such advancements demonstrate the practical utility of statistical and mathematical sciences.

     With regard to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we launched the COVID-19 Response Project in FY 2020, which addresses statistical and mathematical methods to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection. Since the COVID-19 pandemic continues with no end in sight, ISM’s activities involving overseas scientists and in-person interactions have been severely disrupted. Under these circumstances, we make the best available choices utilizing the experience we gained in virtual research meetings and other contingency measures.

     ISM’s Fourth Medium-Term Plan has been in effect since April 2022. This plan guides ISM’s future research and educational orientations. This plan will not only ensure that the research outputs of ISM inform and benefit society but also that ISM researchers are well equipped with the competencies to advance the frontiers of basic science and apply advanced knowledge to practical contexts. We cordially ask for your continued support and cooperation.