Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University

Tenure track system in FRIS

Overview of the Tenure Track System of the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University

As part of the FRIS Shoshi Program, FRIS operates the Tenure Track System of FRIS for assistant professors employed at FRIS. This system aims to allow assistant professors, who have been employed through international recruitment, to focus on research and achieve results during the tenure track period, and to connect these results to the acquisition of higher positions within and outside the university after the tenure track period, thereby supporting their career advancement.

This system started in FY2019 as a system to support the acquisition of more stable positions in academia, including other universities, after the term of FRIS faculty members, and from FY2022, it has been established and implemented as the Tenure Track System of FRIS, which sets up tenure positions at FRIS and conducts tenure reviews.

Assistant professors employed under this system (including those who were employed before the start of this system and wish to undergo a tenure review) undergo a tenure review between the third and fifth years after their employment, and those who pass the review become tenured assistant professors. In addition, among those who pass the tenure review, those who wish to promote to a fixed-term associate professor position will also undergo a promotion review, and if they pass, they can become fixed-term associate professors. If they do not pass the tenure review, they will be employed as fixed-term assistant professors for up to an additional two years after the end of the tenure track period upon separate review.

Faculty members who have become tenured assistant professors, fixed-term associate professors, and fixed-term assistant professors under this system are expected to obtain higher positions within and outside the university for further development of their research, and the Tenure Track System of FRIS provides support for obtaining higher positions within the university under the cooperation of the entire university.


Internal regulations on the tenure track system of the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University
(Revised on May 29, 2023.)


Overview of the Mentor System of the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University

Aiming to enable early-career faculty members of FRIS to promote world-class research in an independent research environment, FRIS operates the "Mentor System of FRIS" through cooperation between the departments of Tohoku University and FRIS.

The mentor will be appointed by the Director of FRIS based on the request of the faculty member of FRIS who has sought the approval of the professor or associate professor at Tohoku University.

Early-career faculty members of FRIS are expected to proactively promote international interdisciplinary research in all research fields as Principal Investigators (PIs), pioneer new academic fields, and actively promote collaborative research with researchers and research institutions in Japan and abroad. They will conduct regular interdisciplinary research exchanges and interdisciplinary collaborative research at FRIS, as well as conduct their own research in their mentors’ laboratories on a daily basis with the following support from the mentor.

  • An independent research environment and research support
  • Career-path-related support
  • Support for health and safety, and research ethics, etc.
  • Support for educational opportunities
  • Any other support requested by the Director of FRIS, as necessary

While the concept of an independent research environment varies from department to department and laboratory to laboratory, at the very least, the early-career faculty members will be able to secure an environment and research space where they can conduct research and present results under their own responsibility as a PI, and an environment where they can execute their research expenses. From the perspective of the career paths of early-career faculty members, educational opportunities for relevant undergraduate and graduate students of the mentor department will be provided within a reasonable range. Students are not formally assigned to assistant professors, not only at FRIS. However, through consultation with the mentors, early-career faculty members can be involved in student research guidance in the mentor's laboratory.


Internal regulations on the mentors of the Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University
(Revised on June 20, 2022.)