In today’s society, Science and Technology (S&T) leads to innovation and contributes greatly to developments of human society. On the contrary, these developments have brought various societal challenges, including depletions of natural resources, destructions of global environments, explosions of population and expansions of income disparities. Also, in order to cope with these societal challenges, there are growing expectations for further developments of S&T and realization of Innovation.
To meet with such expectations, and under limited financial resources, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy is required to develop with scientific rationality in policy-formation process; it should be formed based on evidence (scientific evidence). This evidence includes systematic observations and analysis of structures and dynamics of the society and the economy. Then, based on the observations, societal challenges to be coped with S&T should be discovered and identified. Furthermore, solutions for the challenges should be provided, with the current level and the potential of S&T. The primary purpose to make this strategic proposal, to construct Science of STI policy for evidence-based policy-formation, is to meet with these social demands.
On the other hand, STI bears uncertainty in the process and requires a long period to yield outcomes. Thus, it is difficult to analyze and evaluate the economic and social impacts of STI policy and indicate them scientifically. However, increasing the transparency of policy-formation process and assuring the accountability for the public, by providing evidences in policy-formation process to the society, are one of major driving forces to promote the Science of STI policy.
The Science of STI policy is expected to develop as a new area of study by bringing together the diverse knowledge of related scientific fields, while utilizing the research on STI policy so far. Furthermore, the research results of the Science of STI policy must not end up as developments of scientific methodologies in pure academic. They are expected to be used in the practice of policy-formation and utilized as assets of the society. To that end, collaborations among stakeholders, including policy-makers and scientific community, should be promoted.
The Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 and ensuing massive tsunami have caused great damages to the region ranging from Tohoku to Kanto areas of Japan. The nuclear power plant accident caused by the earthquake and tsunami has resulted in the leakage of radioactive materials in the nearby area and ocean. This has led to serious damages and impacts on the economy and the society both mentally and physically. Moreover, this disaster has raised major challenges to Japan and also for the rest of the world, for creating a social system which assures people’s security and safety and what role S&T should play to achieve such assurance. Accordingly, in an effort to recover from the disaster and restore Japan, it is required to reshape STI policy towards a creation of a security-assured social system in the future, by mobilizing wisdoms on the potential of S&T.
In this strategic proposal, the philosophy of the design to develop the Science of STI policy is firstly proposed. Then, the guiding principle for the realization of the philosophy is derived. Finally, the strategy to implement the guiding principle is proposed.
[Philosophy of Design]
The Science of STI policy should be designed based on the following philosophies:
Form policy with scientific rationality
Realize rational policy-forming process
Increase transparency of policy-forming process and assure accountability for the public
Make knowledge obtained from the Science of STI policy available to the public in policy-formation process
Establish collaborations among stakeholders, to engage appropriately in policy-formation, under the defined functional roles and responsibilities
The guiding principles to realize the philosophy are as follows:
Realize co-evolution of policy-formation mechanism and the Science of STI Policy
Facilitate public participation in policy-formation process by presenting evidence-based alternative policy menu (*)
Develop the Science of STI policy through collaborations among various natural and social scientific fields. Use the knowledge which is collected, accumulated and structuralized from the Science of STI policy, as common assets of the society, to inform and guide policy-formation.
Define functional roles and responsibilities of government, science community, industries and the public in policy-formation, to collaborate appropriately. Then establish code of conduct for each party.
Foster human resources who take leading roles in innovative policy-formation process and/or the Science of STI policy. Build communities and networks for them. Improve environments that enable them to be active across organizations and internationally.
(*) In this strategic proposal, a “policy menu” is defined as a combination of alternative policy instruments with description of its estimated social and economic impacts.
[Strategy for Implementation]
The strategies to implement the above guiding principle are as follows:
Build a comprehensive system to promote the Science of STI policy
A comprehensive system to promote the Science of STI policy should be built to drive forward the following items mentioned in 2 to 4. Under this system, the research results should be collected, accumulated and structuralized to inform and guide policy-formation. Also, it should examine the code of conduct of government and science community in policy-formation, in which functional roles and responsibilities for each party are defined. Then it should coordinate the participants according to the examination.
Promote the research of the Science of STI policy
To develop the Science of STI policy, a research system should be built to correspond to specific purposes; research for specified policy-issues: research and development of new models and indicators focusing on use in policy-forming in the medium and long terms: and research for building a scientific foundation for the Science of STI policy. To promote the research, research areas (**) covered in the Science of STI policy should be defined strategically. In this strategic proposal, the research area is derived in the following procedure. The policy issues are extracted from the systematic mapping of S&T policy system, and then corresponding research agendas are defined accordingly. The research agendas are grouped to form the research areas as follows:
Area I: Design and implement strategic policy-formation frameworks
Area II: Design and implement dialogs with society in policy-formation
Area III: Measure and visualize social and economic impacts of R&D investments
Area IV: Promote STI system
(**) In this strategic proposal, a research area is defined as a set of research agendas.
Develop infrastructure for statistics and data for the research and policy-formation
It is vital to enhance the infrastructure for systematic statistics and data base as a research base of the Science of STI policy, and also as a base for policy-formation. In addition, it is also necessary to enhance environments for utilizing data, thereby disclosing such data to the public as much as possible.
Construct institutions and networks for education and fundamental research for the Science of STI policy
Institutions that act as a hub to foster human resources strategically should be constructed. Such human resources include policy-makers who promote evidence-based policy-forming: researchers who pioneer and enhance a scientific foundation for the Science of STI policy: and ones who bridge the gaps of policy-formation process and the research and strive to implement research results in the practice of the society. In addition, a range of diverse career paths should be established, where those can work actively. Also, domestic and international networks among various parties should be established.
Center for Research and Development Strategy (CRDS), JST has been discussing how to develop the Science of STI policy for evidence-based policy-formation, since 2008. Based on results of the discussion, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is planning to launch “Science of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Program” from FY2011, after conducting the investigation on the institutional design with related organizations. Furthermore, the results of the discussion of CRDS has also been reflected in the “Report to Consultation No. 11, Regarding the Basic Policy on Science and Technology” (December 2010), and in the article, the promotion of Science of STI policy is mentioned.