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In order to satisfy the broad needs for advancing the latest research, NIFS undertakes three forms of research collaboration. These are Bilateral Collaboration Research, LHD Project Collaboration Research, and General Collaboration Research. The joint use and joint research activities are powerfully developed by accepting research proposals from researchers each year.
NIFS collaboration research activities are constantly reviewed and improved so as to be compatible with the latest research trends by changing the categories of collaboration. In FY2011, the categories were revised, and a new category was introduced. The figures to the right above show the number of accepted collaboration subjects in each category after the revision in FY2011, which indicates a year by year increase.
Bilateral Collaboration Research
Bilateral collaboration research promotes joint research bilaterally between NIFS and a research institute or a university research center which has a unique facility for fusion research. Under the collaboration, the facility is open to researchers all over the country as a joint use program of NIFS, an inter-university research institute. This is a unique feature of the system and attracts attention as an example of an advanced network-type joint research system in Japanese academia.
At present, five research centers are participating in the program. These are the Plasma Research Center at the University of Tsukuba, the Laboratory for Complex Energy Processes at Kyoto University, the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University, the Advanced Fusion Research Center at Kyushu University, and the Hydrogen Isotope Research Center, Organization for Promotion of Research, at the University of Toyama.
LHD Project Collaboration Research
LHD Project Collaboration Research is joint research whereby collaborators research and develop, first at their universities, various kinds of new devices, technologies, or methods that can be applied to the LHD experiments. Through research and development, LHD Project Collaboration Research also aims at contributing to the progress of research activities at universities.
Because the opinions and recommendations from the fusion research community are important, it is a significant feature of this system that the Fusion Network, which is composed of university researchers, is committed to the selection of research proposals. Multi-year proposals are possible in this system. In some cases, NIFS offers the collaborators the specific research category for submitting an application to that category.
In principle, the research should be shifted to General Collaboration in order to apply the results to LHD after successfully completing the research and development .
General Collaboration Research
General Collaboration Research is a system for the collaborators to carry out their research by using the facilities or resources of NIFS, including experimental devices, diagnostics, the supercomputer, databases, and other research tools. Because fusion includes a wide research area in physics and technology, from fundamental research to application, the system has a variety of categories.
In this collaboration, the collaborators come to NIFS and carry out research at NIFS. However, if it is necessary, NIFS staff can go to the university of a collaborator to perform joint research there. Furthermore, in the "network-type collaboration" category, the collaborators may conduct experiments at other universities involved in a particular project.
Many exploratory research proposals are adopted in the General Collaboration Research, and because a graduate student can be a collaborator, it is useful for training young researchers.