Life at BDR

RIKEN BDR has a variety of support systems and initiatives in place to facilitate and promote all personnel to achieve a healthy work-life balance. 

Scientific activities within BDR

There are a range of scientific events organized within BDR, and most are held in English.

BDR Seminar

BDR strives to provide a year-round series of seminars featuring invited speakers of diverse backgrounds from around the world. In FY2019 alone there were over 40 seminars, all given in English.

RIKEN BDR Symposium

We hold an international symposium around March of every year, inviting ten or more cutting-edge researchers from around the world. The theme of the symposium changes from year to year, and are related to fields of research closely related to those carried out at BDR. The symposium series has a rich history dating back to the former institutes, CDB and QBiC.

Group Photo taken outside the entrance
left:Poster session right:Lecture at the auditorium

Annual BDR Retreat

The annual RIKEN BDR Retreat promotes and fosters greater networking and collaborations within the Center. Every year, 300–400 researchers and student trainees gather from all of the campuses for two days of scientific exchange and social activities at a conference venue/resort. The program consists of talk by selected candidates on their recent work as well as short flash talks that give a brief overview of their research. There are also poster sessions with prizes are awarded at the end of the retreat for best poster presentations. Childcare services are also provided as needed.

Talk session at the Conference room
A pop band playing at mixer

BDR Luncheon Forum / Scientific Exchange

The BDR Luncheon Forum (weekly in Kobe, monthly in Osaka and Yokohama) is an opportunity for non-PI members to present their on-going work to receive useful feedback from colleagues in BDR who have diverse backgrounds and insights.

The monthly Scientific Exchange is a chance for PIs to share their recent work in a short talk.

The presentations for both events are all in English.

Social activities

Mixer Events

At the Kobe campus, there are seasonal gatherings with cooking/BBQ in the lounge on a Friday evening, after a Colloquium talk given by a PI, with the aim of promoting interactions among BDR members. Families including children are welcome.

At the Osaka campus, there is a daily informal coffee hour from 15:00 where anyone can drop by for a cup of coffee and a chat with colleagues in other laboratories or from the administration.

There are other informal gatherings organized amongst laboratories as well.

People gathering at lounge on Friday night

Sports Clubs & Interest Groups

Personnel at RIKEN are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance. All of the campuses offer a range of club activities, which are partially sponsored by the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (Kyosaikai), an employee mutual aid society in which membership is mandatory upon hire. The Kyosaikai provides subsidies to organize events or purchase equipment when necessary. If you cannot find a club to join, you are also welcome to establish new clubs or events pending approval by local committees.

Activities range from sport clubs such as tennis, basketball, baseball, futsal (soccer) to more low-key clubs such as board games, movies, beads club, and gardening.

futsal club
basketball club


Life in Japan can be exotic and familiar, peaceful and stimulating—all in the same day. In Kobe and Osaka, the help desk staff organizes seasonal excursions to view the famous cherry blossoms as well as the beautiful autumn foliage, and other cultural experiences such as going to sumo wrestling tournaments or Kabuki performances are organized by the helpdesk staff for all personnel to help you meet new people and make the most of your life in Japan.