Science Agora is a generic term for a place connecting science and society, which is open to everyone. It is a forum in which various people promote activities in each region independently by connecting parties involved in different fields, sectors, generations, and nationalities. People gathering in this forum will aim to realize “science harmonized with society” and a “society harmonized with science” through dialogue and collaboration while respecting a diversity of values. The five requirements for the activities assembled in Science Agora are:
（1） To co-exist with society, to exist for the sake of society;
（2） To be related to science and technology;
（3） To be voluntary;
（4） To value connections with a diverse range of people; and,
（5） To be open to the public.
Expectations for Science Agora
Science Agora has functioned as a platform for promoting dialogue between science and society. By providing an opportunity for multiple stakeholders to interact and collaborate with each other, Science Agora promotes the use of outcomes such as those leading to policy-making, problem solving, and knowledge creation.
Science Agora’s “multiple stakeholders” have been categorized into five groups: “policymakers,” “scientists,” “business people,” “media,” and “the general public” . Each group is expected to assume a different role and connect society and science from a particular standpoint (Table 1).
Table 1：Envisioned expectations
|Sector||Expectations as contributors||Expectations as an attendees|
Outline of Science Agora 2016
- 24th (Fri) ,25th (Sat) ,26th (Sun) November
- Japan Science and Technology Agency
- Odaiba area, Tokyo
Vision/Theme for FY2017 Science Agora Activities
The vision sets forth the long-term objective that we wish to make through the Science Agora.
A future woven through dialogue between science & daily lifeScience and technology have developed in parallel with wealth and power in the 20th century. However, in the face of limited resources on Earth and growing strain on the world, we are now beginning to see the limitations of science and technology. In particular, as we make the transition from a growth society into a mature society, the Japan of today is confronted by many problems and it has become extremely difficult to see ahead into the future. In such a Japan, it is important for the relevant stakeholders to create a space where they can come together to consider the future of science and society, respect the views of others, and create a future. We hope to foster such a culture. Furthermore, there are diverse attitudes and approaches depending on the country/region and culture, and we hope to explore methods that are unique to Japan.
①We not only placed the emphasis on “creating a space,” but also on having the approach of having everyone put their heads together to create a future society.
②The concept embedded in “daily life”: In addition to placing the focus on the daily lives and ways of life of each individual, close to their heart, this approach also considers society as a whole.
③The concept embedded in “weaving”: The importance of exploring methods that are unique to Japan for the creation of a future society has been incorporated into this concept. We call to mind the image of spinning thread a process of creating harmony in the sense of bringing thin and short, disjointed fibers closer together, and gradually building up and creating something meaningful rather than taking a single leap all at once.
■Themes of Science Agora 2017
Beyond the boundariesAmidst the development of science and technology, the specialization and professionalism of the academic disciplines have become dramatically refined, and we have gained the ability to pursue knowledge with greater depth. However, to gain an awareness of the new values of society and solve the diverse issues that it faces in modern times, it is not sufficient to harness just one academic discipline and standpoint, or the wisdom of a single generation. Already, we are beginning to witness moves to interweave the wisdom and knowledge of people across various boundaries. How should we introduce science and technology into our lives so that every individual can be enriched in mind and spirit? What can science and technology achieve? Let’s create a space to think about these questions together, across the boundaries of academic discipline, standpoint, country, culture, and generation.