About Science Agora

Concept

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
Policymakers
  • Listen to the voices of other policymakers, scientists, businesspeople, the media, and the general public for implemented or prepared policies and acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners
  • Offer to help develop an understanding of policy by scientists, businesspeople, the media, and the general public
  • Offer to help in the career development of young people who pursue careers as policymakers
  • Obtain useful insights, new opinions, partners from scientists, businesspeople, the media or the general public for policymaking practice of their own
  • Develop their own careers by making use of the experience in the policymaking field
Scientists
  • Listen to the voices of other scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, the media, and the general public about research and acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners
  • Offer to help develop an understanding of scientific issues by other scientists, businesspeople, the media, and the general public
  • Offer to help in the career development of young people who pursue careers as scientists
  • Become aware of activities other than their own discipline (trans-disciplinary)
  • Become aware of activities by policymakers, businesspeople, the media, and the general public (trans-sectoral)
  • Acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners from other scientists for a new direction in their own research
  • Develop their own careers by making use of the experience in the science field
Businesspeople
  • Listen to the voices of other businesspeople, scientists, policymakers, the media, and the general public for their business and acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners
  • Offer to help develop an understanding of business issues for other businesspeople, scientists, the media, and the general public
  • Offer to help in the career development of young people who pursue careers as businesspeople
  • Acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners from other businesspeople, scientists, the media, or the general public for the business of their own
  • Develop their own careers making use of the experience in the business field
The media
  • Listen to the voices of other media, scientists, policymakers, and the general public for their activities and acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners
  • Offer to help develop an understanding of media issues for other media, scientists, businesspeople, and the general public
  • Offer to help in the career development of young people who pursue careers in the media
  • Find topics that might be included in the reports.
  • Acquire useful insights, new opinions, partners from other media, scientists, businesspeople, or the general public for press reports
  • Develop press report careers by making use of the experience in the media field
General public
  • Listen to the voices of the general public, scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, and the media about their activities and acquire useful insights, new opinions, and partners
  • Offer to help develop an understanding of original issues related to their activities for the general public, scientists, businesspeople, and the media
  • Offer to help in the career development of young people who pursue careers in civil activities
  • Acquire useful insights, new opinions, partners from the general public, scientists, businesspeople, or the media for their civil activities
  • Develop careers by making use of the experience in the civil activities field

Outline of Science Agora 2016

1.Date:
24th (Fri) ,25th (Sat) ,26th (Sun) November
2.Host:
Japan Science and Technology Agency
3.Venue:
Odaiba area, Tokyo

Vision/Theme for FY2017 Science Agora Activities

Vision

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 life

Science 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.

[Key points]

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 boundaries

Amidst 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.

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