DG's Corner

New Year’s Resolution

January 27, 2014

KEK Director General  Atsuto SUZUKI

Happy New Year to you! What I said last year was that we should sow seeds for future. We did discussions among the community members and came up with the 5-year strategic plan “Road Map for the New Researches”. This was the seed we planted. This year, we take care of the sprouts, through research activities to produce the fruits.

However, we have things to do before we get fruits. Soon after we announced the “Road Map for the New Researches” in May last year, we had an accident in the Hadron Experimental Facility of J-PARC, which we manage together with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), resulting emission of radioactive substances and workers in the hall being exposed to radiation. I sincerely apologize to everyone, especially to the people of surrounding communities, for the troubles it had caused. I deeply regret for what had happened and have been working to reestablish our organizational structure to assure the safety to be on our top priority. We shall keep at it forever.

We recognize and emphasize the fact that the research activities are founded on the trust of the people. We not only keep a high ethical standard in doing researches but also respect relevant rules and regulations on environment, safety and occupational health to maintain safe and comfortable work environment.

To fortify the organizational structure on safety control, a new section “Safety, Environment and Health Supervisory Office” was created under the Director General, and “Safety, Environment and Health Management Office” under  the member of the board of trustees who is in charge of safety. A new committee “Safety, Environment and Health External Council” was also created to review and monitor the safety.

The Heinrich’s law on industrial safety states, that in a workplace, for every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries behind. We are listing up all sorts of incidents that happened in the past several years in Tsukuba Campus and in Tokai Campus, including very minor level incidents, to analyze the cause of the incidents and how they were handled. Our “Safety Guidebook” will be revised soon. Risk Map information will be shared throughout our organization and efforts will be put into safety and health education. Through these efforts, we will achieve higher level of alertness on safety, prevention of accidents and, should an accident happened, fast and proper action will be taken.

We also work with the Tsukuba City to establish a rule on quick-announcement procedure of any accident on web pages to get more trust by the people of surrounding communities.

To harvest fruits of the research, we have other things to do as well. It is the creation of the supporting structure for the projects of the organization as well as for the execution of the strategic plans. “Division to support the execution of strategic plans” will be created by the spring this year, for which three new sections will be created under it. “Research Plan Supporting Office”, “International Collaboration Office” and “Office to Coordinate Linkage between Research and Industries”

The “Research Plan Supporting Office” is to support research projects, support getting outside budgets, backup young/female researchers, and coordinating research groups inside the organization. The “International Collaboration Office” is to produce draft plans for international strategies, to support collaboration with research organizations of other countries and to support researchers from outside of Japan. The “Office to Coordinate Linkage between Research and Industries” is to help establishing linkage with universities and industries, to research what is needed for the local communities, and to work on strategic plans for intellectual properties.

The second step is to create an organization “Multi-national Laboratory”, the first attempt in the world, to be the new style organization for the promotion of ever growing big accelerator science projects. By doing this, we will learn and establish a scheme to share budget/human resource/technology to further globalize international researches including setting up an office of each contributing countries inside establishing collaboration agreements.

The third step is to create a “Laboratory collaborating with multi-industries” establishing a multi-industry office inside of this organization. This is a step to amalgamate the research organizations and industries to work together on the whole chain of production process between the seeds for innovative technologies and final products, reflecting the present difficulties in industries to realize long-time-span research and development plans. The research administrator of the Laboratory will participate in the planning, drafting and managing of this whole process.

I foresee the necessity of establishing a “Laboratory with multi-university collaboration” to promote research foundations in universities utilizing the infrastructure of KEK. This is to change the past scheme that had most   responsibilities put on KEK.

Pushing for the researches along the Road Map.

In elementary particle physics field, Super KEKB accelerator will start its operation by next year to solve the questions on the creation and development of the universe.  In Tokai Campus, the T2K experiment will continue to verify the CP asymmetry of neutrino and the Hadron experiments to study the quark related phenomena. In the experiments at CERN, luminosity increase in LHC accelerator is planned where the contribution from the technologies developed for the high intensity proton accelerator of J-PARC. In the mean time, the International Linear Collider will be working to establish the international collaboration scheme.

On the materials and life frontier, KEK is recognized as the sole facility to be the “Multi-function Materials Structure Research Facility combining synchrotron radiation, neutron, muon and positron. We will promote the use of Photon Factory (PF and PF-AR) as well as the Materials and Life Science Experimental Facility of J-PARC utilizing neutron and muon by the universities and industries. I also expect that discussion on the further utilization of synchrotron radiation will evolve.

Let us make this year a fruitful year by doing the above.

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