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Research Fields and Areas

SATREPS projects typically share the following characteristics:

  • To envisage their outcomes being applied to the benefit of broader society as well as in the developing country
  • To cover topics in developing countries for which research and development to resolve an issue is particularly necessary, and for which capacity building of researchers is required
  • To contribute to the resolution of global issues and scientific and technological progress

※ A project is not eligible if it consists merely of transfer of Japanese technology without entailing any joint research, or solely of surveys and other simple operations that do not make any contribution to the advancement of science and technology, or if it produces outcomes that can only be of benefit to one particular country.

Research Fields Research Areas
Environment and Energy 1) Research contributing to the resolution of global-scale environmental issues
2) Research contributing to advanced energy systems for low carbon society
Bioresources 3) Research contributing to sustainable utilization of bioresources
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation 4) Research on disaster prevention and mitigation measures attuned to the needs of developing countries
Infectious Diseases Control※ 5) Research on measures to address infectious diseases control attuned to the needs of developing countries

※SATREPS projects in the field of Infectious Diseases Control have been transferred to AMED - the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development. (The transfer took place on April 1, 2015. Projects that terminated before that date were not transferred.)

1. Environment and Energy

1 ) Research Area 1: Research contributing to the resolution of global-scale environmental issues

※ From FY2008. Research area: “Research contributing to adaptation to or mitigation of climate change” was incorporated into Global-scale Environmental Issues in FY2010.

Environment and Energy The development of technologies and dissemination of research results worldwide, not just to the country involved, are extremely important in solving global environment and energy issues caused by factors such as climate change, population increase, population overconcentration in large cities, overproduction, and overconsumption. Japan's Development Cooperation Charter, fixed by Cabinet decision on February 10, 2015, lists "Building a sustainable and resilient international community through efforts to address global challenges" as one of the priority issues, and asserts the need for Japan to address challenges including: actions against climate change including adaptation to adverse effects of climate change; the sustainable use of resources from forests, farmlands, and oceans; promotion of a sound water cycle; environmental management and other environmental-related initiatives; sustainable access to resources and energy. On the other hand, the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan fixed by Cabinet decision on January 22, 2016 underlines the importance of making comprehensive use of our knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to promote and disseminate internationally initiatives for building economic and social systems that will simultaneously help solve these challenges and grow the economy.

It is not enough just to forecast and mitigate climate change. We also have to reduce the risk by combining this approach with adaptation. Moreover, in order to deal with future population growth, concentration of populations into cities, and urban environment changes due to increased production and consumption, we also need to research systems and develop key technologies for planning, maintaining, and building urban and social infrastructure in such regions. Furthermore, we need to conduct research into systems for continued, sustainable production and consumption of resources.

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to this research area and meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • Research on climate change prediction, adaptation or mitigation
  • Research on chemical pollution and risk reduction
  • Research on water processing and ensuring safe water supply
  • Research on establishing a material-cycle society (including resource recovery and reuse)
  • Research on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biological diversity, including bioremediation
  • Research on urban environmental conservation (including greening) and environment creation
  • Research on constructing pleasant cities
  • Research on reconstruction and restoration of environments damaged by large-scale disasters
  • Research on sustainable use of resources

Research topics relating to systems and key technologies for energy systems for low carbon societies, including recyclable energy, new energy types, and energy saving, should be under Research Area 2, even if they also fit into this category.

2 ) Research Area 2: Research contributing to advanced energy systems for low carbon society

※ From FY2010

Climate change mitigation is an important global issue and was adopted as one of the UN SDGs as an urgent challenge. In this regard, it is imperative that science and technology are utilized to realize a low carbon society throughout the world.

The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) held in November 2015 adopted the Paris Agreement, the new international framework for 2020 and beyond. The agreement sets forth that to achieve scenarios in conformity with the target to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 °C, emissions need to be reduced to the level of approximately 24 billion tons by the year 2050, requiring more than 30 billion tons of additional reductions. Thus, the creation of innovations that realize a low carbon society is essential. In July 2015, Japan finalized its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution that targets reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions levels by 26.0% by FY2030 compared to FY2013 (25.4% reduction compared to FY2005) by way of emissions reduction and securing carbon sinks.

Achieving these objectives requires the implementation of various measures that contribute to finding global solutions, not only by advanced nations but also in collaboration with developing countries. Promoting the utilization of renewable energies and new energies, using energy from fossil fuel energy cleanly and efficiently, and saving energy is extremely beneficial for the whole world, not just for the countries concerned. Moreover, Japan's contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries helps Japan to achieve its own reduction targets through mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to this research area and meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • Research relating to the utilization of renewable and new energies (solar and solar thermal, wind, ocean energy, geothermal, biomass, etc.) (Subjects relating to biomass are acceptable if an explanation can be given of the sustainability of the sources of raw materials, energy balance, carbon reduction, non-rivalness with food, and feasibility of utilization of research outcomes, including economic viability.)
  • Research on advanced energy-efficient utilization (including innovative clean and efficient energy utilization technology, energy saving technology utilizing strategies such as high-efficiency equipment or energy recycling, key technologies for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), etc., and energy system technology, etc. for implementing low carbon approaches)
  • Research relating to the sustainable use of natural resources such as fossil fuels and minerals (resource cycle, urban mining development, resource recovery systems expected to contribute to reducing LCA-CO2 emissions)
  • Research contributing to the creation of low carbon, resource recycling cities and regions (including smart cities, smart communities, transportation networks, and next generation infrastructure)

2. Bioresources

3 ) Research Area: Research contributing to sustainable utilization of bioresources

※ From FY2009

Bioresources Utilization Since ancient times, human beings have utilized a diversity of bioresources for energy and to provide the necessities for healthy lives, such as food and fodder, medicine, and textiles. With recent global-level population increases and climate change, there is a need to develop radical, fundamental technology to deal with desertification; drying, salt accumulation and spread of insect pests and viral diseases in agricultural land; less reliable temperature and rainfall levels, etc., all of which threaten the sustainable production of bioresources.

The Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes that biodiversity supports the existence of humans and provides a variety of benefits to humans. The Convention on Biological Diversity was established by international agreement, with its objectives being the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. The countries that are the parties to the convention are now putting into place the legislative framework to achieve these objectives.

In order that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of bioresources in the context of such global change, the importance of research and development into the production, utilization, and management of bioresources, particularly in developing countries, has been identified, and there is growing demand for the rapid deployment of the outcomes of such research to benefit society. Furthermore, targets related to bioresources are included in the SDGs adopted at the United Nations in September 2015.

  • Research and development contributing to the sustainable production and utilization of bioresources (including resource management, breeding, cultivation, propagation and culturing technology for plant, animal, marine and microbial resources, production systems)
  • Research contributing to the evaluation and effective utilization of bioresources (including using biodiversity for discovery and production of useful substances from bioresources, but excluding human drug development)
  • Research contributing to SDGs in the bioresource domain (including realization of food security and nutritional improvement, promotion of sustainable agriculture)

Projects focusing on the following topics should be under the field of Environment and Energy.

  • Research contributing to the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity (Environment and Energy, Research Area 1)
  • Research contributing to the utilization of biomass energy (Environment and Energy, Research Area 2)
  • Research activities that primarily address environment and energy issues (Environment and Energy, Research Areas 1 and 2)

3. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation

4 ) Research Area: Research on disaster prevention and mitigation measures attuned to the needs of developing countries

※ From FY2008

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Natural disasters in developing countries have many aspects in common with those experienced in Japan in the past. Japan is a leader in the field of natural disaster prevention, and there are many possibilities for application of the knowledge accumulated in Japan to date. For Japan’s benefit, too, it is hoped that further advancements will be made in technology such as earthquake and tsunami early warning systems and high-precision weather forecasting. To achieve this, it will be important not only to gather observation data obtained in Japan and apply it to research and development here, but to also adopt an integrated and organized approach to advancing research and development within a broader global framework.

Japan’s contribution in the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and promotion of relevant international joint research are enshrined in the “Basic Guidelines for Reconstruction in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake” (first enacted in July 2011 by the Reconstruction Headquarters in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake), as well as in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which was adopted as a policy for enhancing efforts to strengthen DRR at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015, and in the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction, which presents Japan’s commitment to DRR unveiled at the same Conference. In addition, international targets and contribution in the DRR field are stated in the SDGs adopted at the United Nations in September 2015 and in the Paris Agreement agreed upon at COP21 in December 2015. Furthermore, in Japan, the Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan and the Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2016 were approved by the Cabinet in January and May 2016, respectively. These plans and policies outline Japan’s commitment to resolving the issues by mobilizing science and technology innovations, with a view to “attaining a resilient society against natural disasters” and “addressing global challenges and contributing to global development.”

To achieve social infrastructure that can provide safety and security, and to construct disaster-resilient communities and cities in developing countries, it is necessary to collaborate with developing countries in research designed to produce outcomes that can be applied to the benefit of society with particular attention to the needs of developing countries. In addition to addressing natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, storms, storm surges, inundation, drought, and landslides, this research area also includes research on preventing and mitigating threats to urban society (including research on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction). Such threats include large fires in densely populated urban areas, earthquakes, flood damage, traffic and transportation accidents, and damage to social infrastructure. It is important to take an integrated perspective that covers disaster occurrence, forecasting and countermeasures, including analysis and explication of disaster mechanisms, validation of existing disaster risk reduction measures, verification of approaches to risk communication, etc.

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to this research area and meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • Research on clarifying the mechanisms of disasters associated with natural phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, storms, storm surges, inundation, drought, and landslides, together with measures to mitigate such disasters
  • Research and development of measures to mitigate the damage from major disasters that have become more serious with urbanization (fires, chemical plant accidents, earthquakes, flooding, damage to lifelines/transportation networks, etc.)
  • Research relating to the construction and maintenance of cities with resilient social infrastructure that can withstand natural and man-made disasters
  • Research relating to the collection, processing, effective provision and utilization of disaster related information to contribute to regional and urban disaster prevention and mitigation (including development of technology to utilize disaster observation satellites, GPS, ICT, GIS, etc.)
  • Research contributing to SDGs in the DRR domain (including realization of safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements, emergency measures for mitigating climate change and its impacts, etc.)

4. Infectious Diseases Control
※SATREPS projects in the field of Infectious Diseases Control have been transferred to AMED - the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development. (The transfer took place on April 1, 2015. Projects that terminated before that date were not transferred.)

5 ) Research Area: Research on measures to address infectious diseases control attuned to the needs of developing countries

※ From FY2008

Infectious Diseases ControlHIV/AIDS, malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis, highly-pathogenic avian influenza, bacteria resistant to antibiotics like carbapenem and colistin, and other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases not only pose a threat to health in developing countries, but act as a major impediment to social and economic development. The frequency with which people and goods are now moving across national borders means that these problems are not confined to developing countries. Japan is consequently keen to boost international cooperation regarding infectious diseases that spread quickly and widely across the border. Several examples are given below of potential research and development projects that target solutions for global issues in the area of infectious diseases control.

  • Research and development on Zoonosis such as avian influenza, rabies and others
  • Research and development for technology related to epidemiology, diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for the detection and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria, Dengue fever, tuberculosis and bacteria resistant to antiboitics like carbapenem and colistin.

※ One restriction applied to all research areas is that clinical trials and medical practice are not eligible for the SATREPS program. Note also that there for some research topics, there may be a requirement to take specific ethical perspectives into account.