What's New - FY 2012

Application deadlline is extended to April 5th!
The e-ASIA JRP: Japanese-Vietnamese-Filipino Joint Call for Proposals in Infectious Diseases

20 March 2013 / Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of Vietnam, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) invite researchers from their countries to submit joint proposals for cooperative research projects in the field of Infectious Diseases, concentrating on vaccine development, drug-resistance and epidemiology of the following prioritized diseases:
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*Dengue Fever (including early-warning systems thereof)
*Malaria
*Influenza
*Tuberculosis
*Leptospirosis

The deadline for submission is extended to April 5th (Fri).

Looking forward to your applications!

*For Japanese researchers, please contact JST before you apply.

For more information, please visit www.jst.go.jp/sicp/guidelines_easia_jrp_2nd.pdf

Singapore became much greener ? Eco Products Exhibition

14 - 16 March 2013 / @Sands Expo & Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

    

March 14 - 16, 2013

The 8th Eco Products Exhibition was held at Singapore at Sands Expo & Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
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The trade show was organized by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), Waste Management & Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) and supported by SPRING Singapore.

At the place, there were 99 exhibitors from seven countries and the show also featured several national pavilions. For example, Japanese pavilion was supported by the ministry of the environment, government of Japan. There were about 30 companies setting up booths at the pavilion. On the other hand, some big corporations such as Mitsubishi electric, Toshiba, Bridge Stone and Hitachi independently set up huge booths to attract people passing by.

Participant countries are member countries of APO such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Besides, China also participated.

Companies exhibited a variety of products and technologies. For example, SMBC and The Japan research institute, Limited displayed their investment projects in Thai and Malaysia. They joined the project held in Malaysia for low carbon society (LCS) lead by NEDO. Meanwhile Mitsubishi Electric showed their technology for recycling plastics. “Recycling plastic needs a mass volume of wasted raw materials. But in Southeast Asian, all plastics in consumer products were most likely collected by people before those materials reach to recycling centers” , the person who was in charge of the display said. However, at this exhibition, Mitsubishi would like to promote their environmental consciousness. On the other hand, Hitachi displayed a whole concept of their “smart city”.
Also, small start-ups showed their new technologies. For example, Ecopardise sell a series of products from a towel to cosmetics in which a special liquid developed by the company was included. Or, like Plantec, Inc. which demonstrated a Vertical Combustor. This combustor makes stable combustion by SLA (Super Low Air ratio combustion) combustion method. Then, Waste is carbonized before burning. That is close to, so to speak, “frugal innovation” I expected more frugal innovation products came out at the show but not so many of them were impressive. The show might need to define the meaning of “Eco” for the next time.

Plantec, Inc.
http://www.plantec-kk.co.jp/english/products_vertical/index.html

When a flood comes, what can we do?

10 February 2013 / Jakarta, Indonesia

    

When a heavy rainstorm struck Jakarta, last month, the Indonesian capital's ability to function literally went down the drain. For more than a week after, 250,000 people out of its population of over 10 million were either directly or indirectly affected by the flooding which followed.
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Jakarta is not the only city in Southeast Asia to suffer from flooding - just last year Thailand's capital, Bangkok, suffered the same fate too. And from these consecutive events, many have been left counting the real economic damage to countries who suffer such disasters.
Recently, JST had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Manabu D. Yamanaka of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) about the flood in Jakarta and the circumstances around it.

JST: I recently read reports stating that the BPPT (Indonesia's Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology) used cloud-seeding technologies to stop the expansion of flooding in Jakarta. How does this work? And does it work?

Dr. Yamanaka: There is a special unit within BPPT called UPTHB. They are the ones who are responsible for this project. The unit was born during the 1970s when so-called "artificial rainmaking (or cloud -seeding)" became a sort of boom in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Back then, they used dry ice to change atmospheric temperature, or silver iodide to accelerate the growth of raindrops from cloud droplets. What they were trying to do was make the rain fall over the ocean before the clouds passed over land, or even guided those clouds to drought areas.

However, their attempts most likely failed because there are too many factors involved in natural phenomena and it turned out that their experiments caused even more unpredictable conditions. For example, during the 1980s in the U.S., this method were used on a hurricane but it actually brought about reverse result - the hurricane actually got bigger and caused more damage. Also, during the same period in the Soviet Union, the method was introduced for areas with drought, but, in reverse, almost all it did was lead to an acceleration of desertification in central Asia. In the end, the prevailing scientific opinion was that we are better off leaving these things to nature.

JST: But in the case of Jakarta's flooding, it has been used?

Dr. Yamanaka: Yes, In Asian countries such as China, Thailand, and Indonesia it is still used. A very public example of this was when cloud-seeding was used in Beijing in the lead-up to the Olympics in 2008.
In Indonesia, the UPTHB exists for the purpose of helping semi-drought areas. The researchers who work in this field are experts who studied and achieved degrees for cloud physics and radar. So they know the limit of the methods, but they do what they do because they need to get budgets approved for related studies.

JST: First in Bangkok, then in Jakarta - How hard is flooding to predict? And how can it be prevented?

Dr. Yamanaka: Under international collaborations with us, BPPT has developed the data mapping system called "SIJAMPANG" which projects rainfall in real time based on data from radars on the internet. This helps them predict and prepare for flooding. The Indonesian agency for disaster prevention, BNPB, uses the SIJAMPANG rainfall map on a large display. The biggest change is the government could control all real-time information by itself. So they could prevent the society from being confused by hoax. Of course, it does not reach any goal yet. We still need to improve drain systems in the city.
To prevent flood or drought, it is necessary to grasp both climatological and geographical data. Some of the indicators are very biased towards anthropogenic activities and geographical features. For example, it took a couple of months for the land to dry out in Thailand after their flood last year because the area was so flat. In Jakarta on the other hand, when they had similar floods in 2007, it took only a week to dry because of the steeper incline the city sits on. Since then, an improved irrigation system funded by the Japanese government was installed and this time it took only a day for Jakarta to dry out because of that.
Having said that, I'd like to emphasize that the latest flood in Jakarta was the first time its cause - the rainfall was monitored 100% by the radar system, so more prevention options were available. That is one of our research project's goals.

About Dr. Yamanaka

Dr. Yamanaka is the leader of a project under the JST/JICA joint research program called "SATREPS". His project is "Climate Variability Study and Societal Application through the Indonesia-Japan Maritime Continent COE - Radar-Buoy Network Optimization for Rainfall Prediction" This projec's goal is to promote the creation of a climate observation network on both land and sea, including improved radar observation techniques for monitoring clouds and rainfall.
As a "Maritime Continent", the Indonesian Archipelago plays a role as a dam on the warm water flowing between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, resulting in the world's largest cloud activity and rainfall. In effect, it is pumping the warm, humid air upward and pole-ward, like a heart for global atmospheric circulation. Dr. Yamanaka and his research team have the task of researching this complex system.

http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/kadai/h2104_indonesia.html

Photographs were provided by Chiaki Fukuda

The e-ASIA JRP: Welcome Cambodia!

21 February 2013 / Singapore

Ministry of Health, Cambodia becomes a formal member of the e-ASIA JRP.

Now we are 10 organizations from 9 countries.

For more information, please visit http://www.the-easia.org/jrp/

The e-ASIA JRP: Japanese-Vietnamese-Filipino Joint Call for Proposals in Infectious Diseases starts today! (Application deadline: 15th March 2013)

8 February 2013 / Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan

  

Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of Vietnam, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) invite researchers from their countries to submit joint proposals for cooperative research projects in the field of Infectious Diseases, concentrating on vaccine development, drug-resistance and epidemiology of the following prioritized diseases:
More...  

*Dengue Fever (including early-warning systems thereof)
*Malaria
*Influenza
*Tuberculosis
*Leptospirosis

The deadline for submission is March 15th (Fri).

Looking forward to your applications!

The following site will be availabe on 12th.

For more information, please visit www.jst.go.jp/sicp/guidelines_easia_jrp_2nd.pdf

3 young Japanese talents awarded for prestigious NRF Fellowship 2013

25 January 2013 / NRF in Singapore

The National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore announced the young scientists who won "NRF Fellow Award 2013".
This award program has been since 2007 and 48 fellows already awarded. This year, there were 16 fellows selected including three Japanese researchers. Their research fields are varied but they are added to Singaporean's research talent pool. NRF hopes that these people would help sharpen their scientific and technological edges.
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There were 142 applications submitted at this time. These candidates are currently pursuing their research interests with passion at top universities such as Harvard, MIT, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Yale and Imperial College. After the list of applications was shortened, down to 22, the candidates were invited to do presentations and took an interview in Singapore for the final round. Each NRF fellow will receive up to $3 million over five year research.
There are three Japanese post-doc researchers were selected for the award. Dr. Mikinori KUWATA, who achieved PhD. degree at the University of Tokyo; his research interest is in atmospheric chemistry, especially focusing on aerosol particles. By using the fund, he will study to develop a simple and accurate method to predict formation processes of organic aerosol particles. Dr. Kotaro NAKANISHI, who achieved PhD. degree at the Tokyo Institute of Technology; his research interest is in recognitions of transfer RNA by the cognate enzymes. He will study to understand the mechanisms of fundamental cellular reactions involving microRNA. Dr. Takaomi SANDA, who achieved PhD. degree at the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences; his research interest is in mechanism of T-cell acute lymphoblasitic leukemia (T-ALL) and nuroblastoma. He will study to develop novel therapeutics for those diseases.

For detail of 16 scientists' background and their research interests, visit NRF website.

For more information, please visit www.nrf.gov.sg/nrf/uploadedFiles/2013%20NRF%20Fellowship%20Press%20Release%20docx%20%28FINAL%29%20%28COMPLETE%29.pdf

Nurturing young talents in a practical way

12 January 2013 / Ho Chi Min City

    

A SATREPS project "Sustainable Integration of Local Agriculture and Biomass Industries" established a bio-ethanol plant at Ho Chi Min City university of technology (HCMUT).
The plant is a part of a plan that eventually designs a practical implementation of a biomass town. In the future, researchers hope the system will bring locally self-sufficient, sustainable agriculture that is support the rapid growth of population in the Asian region.
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Today, I visited to the bio-ethanol plant. I have been there before but this is the first time to see the operation. Then I had a chance to interview two graduate students working on this project.
Ms. Uen, who majors in chemical engineering, has joined the project since January, 2011. Before, she got a little bit board of her major and searched for new challenges. So timely, HCMUT commenced the SATREPS project with University of Tokyo and her professor suggested her to work on the project. So she started working at the plant and learned how to manipulate the plant. "I became fascinated because the system was practical and industry oriented", she said.
Over the conversation, she sometimes showed her enthusiasm towards pursuing academic interest and self-motivated mind. I asked her how she liked to work with Japanese researchers.
She said "The experience is totally new to me. I learned a lot. Especially the importance of preparation for things you do before" Also, she mentioned about what to call "value experience" through the project. That is to say, she has been acknowledged how to build up international communication skills. Besides, she is enjoying participating symposium and conferences to expand her knowledge.
Ms. Uen wants to pursue her research career by attending to PhD and furhter. She hopes she will rather join different types of projects in the future.
I also interviewed another graduate. Her name is Ms. Khanh who was suggested by her supervisor to join. So now she chooses her current work for her master thesis. I asked her what exactly intrigued her into this project. According to her, she became interested in how to utilize by-products for agriculture. The chemical engineering major graduate surprised how efficiently by-products could be used up. In addition, she said "my major is inorganic chemistry but now I am learning a lot about biology, especially the mechanism of fermentation!" She also emphasized the importance of this project; she sees, for Vietnamese environment, the way of designing the biomass plant this project does is very practical. "Dry husks converts to ethanol!" Ms. Khanh added.
Although she felt that Japanese researchers are sometimes too strict on procedure , she is enjoying the circumstance where she can learn more new things including communication skills. "I need to talk to people in English when I work, so I have to brush up my English"
No to mention, she also wants to pursue higher learning. Ms. Khanh has applied to scholarship to enter University of Tokyo. I hope her dream will come true.
When I visited the plant, both young brilliant graduates were instructing two young men to manipulate a boiler. They taught the two step by step but it did not seem strict.

Copyright (C) 2013 Ryuji, NAKAYAMA All Rights Reserved

Born to be wild by bio-ethanol!

11 January 2013 / Ho Chi Min City University Technology

    

This is the motorcycle run by 100% ethanol. At The 3rd Symposium on JICA-JST Biomass Project in Vietnam held at Ho Chi Min City University of Technology (HCMUT) on January 11, 2013, the project leader, Phan Dinh Tuan (Vice Rector of HCMUT), demonstrated the motorcycle imported from Brazil. They are testing bio-ethanol used for motorcycles. The biggest challenge is that if the cost of bio-ethanol fuel can beat gasoline.
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Many of you already have noticed that HCMC is one of heavy-motorcycle-clustered areas. So if such a kind of motorcycle made in Brazil, specialized to ethanol is successfully introduced in the country, it might have a power to change the society drastically. Of course, Vietnamese government assistance is definitely required over best research outcomes.

Can I borrow your waste? A new biomass plant will glow the future of village brighter

10 January 2013 / Thai My Village near Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam

    

On the 10th of January, there was an open ceremony of a biomass plant held in Thai My Village, in southern Vietnam near Ho Chi Min City. That might have a power to change the future of agricultural scene in the country.
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In fact, I once visited this place over a year ago. When Prof. Sakotoa who is a project director of JST/JICA project named "Sustainable Integration of Local Agriculture and Biomass Industries" explained the site with his blueprint, it was just a plain ground where I saw some cows roaming around and a small bush with a cut-down tree trunk laid in the field. I still remember I hardly imagined back then his blueprint to be real.

About an hour from Ho Chi Min city by driving toward north-west where Thai My village exists. Out of the fast growing modern city, the noise of the city faded away and a pastoral scene will ease your eyes. Thai My village is just a part of the picture. There, most of people make a living by simply farming but it's in a traditional way. Without this project, I would have had very slight chance to become knowing this place.

The purpose of this project is to design a biomass town where ideally all wastes (or you can say agricultural by-products) are recycled for making energy within the system. So there is no outside energy input and sustain the eco-system.
Part of the project, a team of researchers picked up this village as a research field and started building a plant. According to one of team members, who designed the plant, they were looking for an ideal site where they build a plant in the middle of nowhere then they can demonstration how to make power out of wastes and how important self-sustainable energy system is.

On the day we arrived at the village, people from village and the people of committee members were being busy for preparations. Children seems to be with full of curiosity to wonder what is going on, women were busy for preparing banquet.
Then, I was very impressed when I saw the plant at first. The nice modern plant stood there as if a cornerstone itself with a big banner hanging in from of the building. As a matter of fact, the plant is not a big one but compact and well-designed for the primary purpose; creating energy out of wastes.

At the plant, charcoal is made from woods, bamboo, rice husks, and rice straws collected in the village, then used as energy for generators that provides power to households.
Meanwhile, the biogas plant attached to the main building that convert animal's waste to energy by way of producing methane. According to Dr. Mochizuki who is in charge of the designing the plant, it works as a simple version of co-generator that is being prevailed among households in Japan.

After a couple of greeting speeches from different representatives at the ceremony, we had a tape cut and a short tour of the plant.
It is just a prototype; it will not a real solution for a whole community to depend totally on recycling of natural resources yet. Even after researchers successfully show the plant is beneficial to the community, there is a long way to go. But someday, I believe it would help Vietnamese to understand the real meaning of "Mottainai? (What a waste)"

Pictures: Copyright (C) 2013 Ryuji, NAKAYAMA All Rights Reserved

For more information, please visit /english.thesaigontimes.vn/Home/business/environmen...

JST enters into MoU with NIH on January 10th 2013

10 January 2013 / NIH, Maryland

 

The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United States on January 10, 2013 at NIH's headquarter located in Bethesda, Maryland. This MoU, signed by Dr. Nakamura (President of JST) and Dr. Collins (Director of NIH), aims at facilitating the wide range of scientific research cooperation in the biomedical field.
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Bilateral scientific cooperation in the biomedical field between Japan and the United States will be further strengthened through collaborative activities such as workshops and supports of cooperative research projects under this MoU.

Strategic International Collaborative Research Program(SICORP)
http://www.jst.go.jp/inter/sicorp/index.html

Strategic International Research Cooperative Program(SICP)
http://www.jst.go.jp/inter/sicp/index.html

Go Global! Visit of SSH's Young Future Scientists

8-9 January 2013 / Biopolis

  

Recently it has been widely said in Japan that Japanese young students tend to be inward-looking and do not want to go abroad for their career. This is not true for a group of boys and girls from Japan's so called "Super Science High-schools", who visited "Biopolis" on January 8 and 9, 2013.
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Some 20 students of Aizu Gakuho from Fukushima, who visited on January 8, and Sanbongi from Aomori, who came on January 9, respectively looked to be enjoying their visit to "Biopolis", the world famous research center of bio-medical science in Singapore.
During my short lecture on Singapore S&T on January 8, I introduced "NEWater", which is treated wastewater that has been purified using dual-membrane (via microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to conventional water treatment processes. I thought that the students might not be able to overcome their natural resistance to drinking treated wastewater, even though it is technically purified to a higher level than ordinary tap water in Singapore. However, I was most impressed when they all tasted it without hesitation, and I realized then that these students from the SSHs have a truly scientific way of thinking.

In terms of Science and Technology, Singapore is one of the most advanced countries in the Asian region. Furthermore, it is relatively near to Japan, and is very safe and clean as Japan is. Therefore, I believe Singapore is certainly a very good destination for Japanese young future scientists beginning to open their eyes to the world.
We wish to welcome more global-minded young students here in Singapore.

For more information, please visit rikai.jst.go.jp/eng/e_about/e_sshs.php

Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC)

6-7 December 2012 / Sendai, Japan

 

The Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) was held on the 6th and 7th of December 2012 in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It was co-hosted by JST and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), for the purpose of summarizing the opinions of the region in preparation for the 2nd Summit of the Global Research Council* to be held in Berlin in May 2013, where discussion on "research integrity" and "open and shared access to scientific information? will be held.
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Proactive discussion took place on both themes in the meeting, which was attended by 16 funding organizations from 11 countries including the co-hosts. In the ?Open and shared access to scientific information" (OA) session chaired by JST, participants agreed that each funding organization is expected to select suitable approach(s) according to their specific situation and to make efforts for OA promotion. Furthermore, based upon this shared recognition, participants exchanged views on pressing issues to be solved and actions to be taken by each organization.

The outcome of this meeting and those of the other regional meetings will be summarized by the Global Summit International Steering Committee and presented at the 2nd Summit of the Global Research Council in May 2013.

* Global Research Council:
The Global Research Council is a virtual organization comprising roughly 50 heads of science and engineering funding agencies from around the world, and was established on the initiative of Dr. Subra Suresh, president of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Shared challenges are discussed at the annual Global Summit.

For more information, please visit www.globalresearchcouncil.org/

The e-ASIA JRP Symposium on Infectious Diseases, Disaster Prevention and Advanced Interdisciplinary Research towards Innovation

4-5 December 2012 / Regent Hotel Singgapore

  

The 1st e-ASIA JRP International Symposium was held in Singapore on December 4th 2012 and about 90 people from the East Asian countries attended this event.
At this symposium, encouraging the participation of researchers from the East Asian countries (East Asia Summit members) working in the cooperation fields of "Infectious Diseases," "Disaster Prevention" (research fields which were not covered in the 1st pilot call for proposals) and "Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Toward Innovation" (new field) the followings were targeted:
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1. Promotion of applications to the 2nd Pilot Call for Proposals;
2. Creation of potential international joint research teams of young researchers;
3. Dissemination of e-ASIA JRP to researchers in East Asian countries (including non-member countries).

On the following day, breakout workshop sessions were held for each field. To find out the most appropriate themes of collaboration, to promote creation of potential international joint research teams, and to encourage participants to submit a joint proposal for the expected joint call for proposals, these workshop sessions provided a platform for representatives from each country to present their interests and to discuss various aspects of the area of "Infectious Diseases", "Disaster Prevention" and "Advanced Interdisciplinary Research towards Innovation".

With the summaries of these symposium and workshops, member organizations will prepare for future activities of the e-ASIA JRP.

For more information, please visit http://www.the-easia.org/jrp/

SATREPS project kala-azar research center officially opens in Bangladesh-Japan-Bangladesh collaboration contributes to elimination of visceral leishmaniasis

2 December 2012 / Mymensingh in Bangladesh

    

The Surya Kanta Kala-azar Research Centre (SKKRC) in Mymensingh in Bangladesh was formally opened on December 2, 2012. Established through multi-sector collaboration between the government of Bangladesh, DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative), icddr,b (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), and a SATREPS project, the Centre is a research facility focused on eliminating visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar). The inauguration was widely covered in the local media.
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The centre is located in a district where there are severe issues with poverty and a high incidence of kala-azar, and where it is unusual to have a research facility specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of kala-azar. The location gives the potential to have an impact on the disease that could not be achieved elsewhere.

This initiative is part of the SATREPS project "Research and Development of Prevention and Diagnosis for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Especially Kala-Azar," headed by Associate Prof. Eisei Noiri of University of Tokyo Hospital. It is part of the SATREPS program funded jointly by JICA and JST.

For more pictures, visit
http://www.facebook.com/jst.singapore

About SATREPS
http://www.jst.go.jp/global/english/

For more information, please visit http://www.jst.go.jp/report/2012/130121_e.html

Innovative Indonesia and Japan

30 November 2012 / Bandung

  

The Indonesia-Japan Innovation Convention 2012 (IJIC2012) was held from November 30 through December 2, 2012 at Bandung (http://ijic-2012.org/). Dr. Nakamura, President of JST participated as an invited keynote speaker and delivered his speech to seek possible ways to enhance mutual collaboration between Japan and Indonesia.
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Indonesia is trying to implement and promote various S&T, Innovation policies to make its now 16th largest GDP grow up to 7th largest in the world by 2030. Some interesting policies to boost Indonesia's S&T, Innovation introduced by Indonesian keynote speakers, based on its Masterplan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia Economic Development from 2011 to 2025 (MP3EI) are;

1. "Innovation Initiatives: 1-747"
To realize the increase of productivity, it is recommended that Indonesia applies this policy as a key driver in the
transformation to an innovation-based economic system by strengthening the education system (human capital) and
technological readiness.
1-747 means,
1 percent of the GDP for R&D in 2015
7 steps to improve the ecosystem of innovation to boost innovations (funding, leadership, culture, and policy);
4 models of innovation based industrialization vehicle to accelerate economic growth (1. Basic Needs Industry,
2.Creative Industry, 3.Regional-based Industry, 4.Strategic Industry);
7 targets of Indonesian vision 2025, towards a sustainable development of Indonesia

2. "8/22 Policy"
The focus of development was classified into 8 main programs and the eight main programs consist of 22 main economic
activities.
8 Main Programmes; 1. Manufacturing Industry, 2.Mining, 3.Agriculture, 4.Oceanography, 5.Tourism,
6.Telecommunication, 7.Energy, 8.Strategic Regional Development
22 Main Economic Activities; ICT, Transportation, Food, Mining, Energy, Natural Resources etc.

3. "Strategic Research: Maritime Continent- Based Economy"
Prioritized fields of research are "Food Security, Energy Security, Biotechnology for Industry, Transportation & Defense
Technology, Deep Sea & Fish Processing Technology, Earthquake, Tsunami & Climate, Knowledge-Based Products"

More than 20% (approx. 250 out of 1,000) of its professors and research instructors at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the most prestigious S&T university in Indonesia, have the experience of doing their study or research in Japan. As a matter of fact, this is not only the case in ITB. There are a lot of "Japan alumni" in the S&T field in Indonesia. They are surely a great asset to expand and deepen S&T cooperation between two countries. I strongly believe we have to strive to foster the future generations to keep this good and positive relationship.

For more information, please visit ijic-2012.org/

- How should we collaborate with the least developed countries in Asia in science and technology? -

12-17 November 2012 / Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand

    

Further collaboration with Asian countries is proposed as one of the prioritized activities to promote in the 4th Science and Technology Basic Plan in Japan (2011-2015). JST is positively implement various programs such as the highly acclaimed SATREPS and the newly launched e-ASIA JRP to realize this concept. To make these activities more effective and valuable, Dr. Michiharu Nakamura, President of JST, accompanied by the Director of the Singapore Office and a Chief of the International Department of Tokyo, visited S&T organizations in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand (in order of visit) from November 12 to 17, 2012 and learned their current status through direct discussion with key figures in those countries.
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One of the most pressing issues which was found through this visit is "How should we collaborate with the least developed countries, such as Laos or Cambodia in Asia, in science and technology, who do not have any cooperative research projects with us as Vietnam and Thailand etc. do?"

In Laos, the delegation met with H.E. Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister, H.E. Professor Dr. Boviengkham Vongdara, Minister of Science and Technology and other very important persons in S&T. The Ministry of Science and Technology was promoted from being an internal department to having ministry status in 2010 taking into consideration the great role of S&T in national development.

In Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Chea Sieng Hong, Secretary of State, Ministry of Industry Mines and Energy (MIME) said the "S&T department which is now one of the departments in MIME will become the Ministry of S&T in 2013, so that they can have their own budget for implementing S&T policies".

These developments in both Laos and Cambodia indicate their great emphasis on S&T. The ministry will be able to enjoy full support from the other government sectors, as the PM of Laos said during the meeting.

In both countries, the preparation of appropriate research equipment and build-up of human resources capacity are urgent and crucial matters to improve for further development in S&T. JST should deeply consider how we can strengthen our collaboration with them to support the above two matters through our existing programs so that we can build and enjoy mutual benefits.

Prompt Report on Nobel Prize winning Dr. YAMANAKA in a Singapore Newspaper

9 October 2012 / Singapore

 

The STRAITS TIMES, the largest circulation English-language newspaper in Singapore, promptly reported the news on Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John Gurdon who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012.
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As far as I understand, it is widely said that Singapore does not place much emphasis on winning Nobel Prizes, but rather concentrates on applied research that links directly to industry. However, there seems to be an increasing desire among some researchers to achieve success and recognition in the sphere of basic science also.

"We wish a researcher from Singapore could win the Prize some 10 years from now", a university professor commented, regarding the British and Japanese laureates' achievements.

For more information, please visit www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/world/story/gurdon-yamanaka-win-nobel-medicine-prize-20121008

Dr. YAMANAKA Shinya has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

8 October 2012 / Kyoto

 

Dr. YAMANAKA Shinya, Director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University, has won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent".
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In our agency, from March 2003 to October 2009, he was the research leader of the research project "Generation of Ideal Pluripotent Stem Cells for Clinical Application" under the research area of "Translational Research for Intractable Immune Disorders and Infectious Diseases" of the CREST type, which is one of the JST Strategic Basic Research Programs. From April 2008, he is the research supervisor of the "Yamanaka iPS cell special project."

For more information, please visit www.jst.go.jp/EN/discourse20121008.html

The 3rd Funding Agency Presidents' Meeting (FAPM)

8 October 2012 / Kyoto, Japan

  

The Funding Agency Presidents' Meeting (hereinafter referred to as "FAPM") has been annually co-organized by Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) since 2010 on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum (hereinafter referred to as "STS forum"). This year, DFG and JST co-organized the 3rd Funding Agency Presidents' Meeting on 8th October during the 9th STS forum annual meeting held from 7-9 October 2012, in order to bring together the representatives of these organizations to informally discuss common interests and concerns, thereby facilitating and enhancing networking and cooperation among the funding agencies.
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The 3rd FAPM, co-chaired by Professor Dr.-Ing. Matthias Kleiner, President of DFG and Dr. Michiharu Nakamura, President of JST, was attended by 26 participants from 19 countries and featured proactive discussion on three topics: the "Role of Funding Agencies in Securing Scientific Integrity and Ethical Behavior of Scientists", "Importance of Open Access to Scientific Data" and "Scientific Oriented (Curiosity Driven) Funding and Policy Oriented Funding".

In discussion on the "Role of Funding Agencies in Securing Scientific Integrity and Ethical Behavior of Scientists", participants confirmed the importance of a code of conduct and stated that its dissemination was the responsibility of the funding agencies. Furthermore, recognizing the importance of sharing national codes of conduct between countries as research activities become increasingly globalized, the participants agreed to make continuous efforts to share information, making use of the opportunity provided by this FAPM and the Global Research Council?.

Although various challenges were anticipated on the topic of the "Importance of Open Access to Scientific Data", participants did agree that it must be considered further. However, it was also noted that consideration must be careful, given the likely impact on industries such as publishing.

Regarding the topic of "Scientific Oriented (Curiosity Driven) Funding and Policy Oriented Funding", it was reconfirmed that both funding schemes are significant. Although we are witnessing a transition from "Scientific Oriented (Curiosity Driven) Funding" to "Policy Oriented Funding" as a global trend, it was indicated that investment in basic research should not be reduced due to economic reasons.

In closing, President Dr. Nakamura proposed that the 4th FAPM be held next year, to which all participants agreed.

A summary of the 3rd FAPM will be made available on the following website:

For more information, please visit www.jst.go.jp/inter/symposium/fapm.html

The first step of new collaborations in Singapore "JST/NEA Workshop 2012"

23-24 August 2012 / Orchard Parade Hotel in Singapore

    

When it comes to environmental issues, Singapore is not an exception. It has its own issues although they are far different from other neighbor countries. The issues were such as securing high quality water, mitigating traffic congestions, noise reduction, energy saving vehicles and so forth.
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Basically the country has been known for its dedication to "clean environment" policy. It turns out the country became one of the cleanest countries in the world.
Maintaining its reputation, Singapore Natural Environment Agency (NEA) works very hard to supervise all aspects of environmental issues from purifying water to pest control. Then, of course, they are always looking for new technology to make its society better.
In 2010, JST Singapore office approached NEA to discuss about the possibility of collaboration. We first met Mr. Andrew Tan, chief executive officer (CEO) of NEA. This Harvard-educated young leader liked our proposal that we initiated our relationship by a workshop. That was the first meeting held for our workshop. After dozens of meeting and discussion, we finally held the workshop in August, 2012.
At the two-day workshop, "Environment Technology 2012", there are several professors invited from Japan.
The workshop started with Mr. Tan's greeting as well as JST's executive director, Mr. Mamine's.
The workshop consisted of four sessions; Advanced Environment Sensing and Monitoring Technologies, Sustainable and Quality Living Environment, Solutions for Urban communities, and Smart Energy Management System and Solutions.
Invited distinguished speakers from Japan were top researchers in a variety of fields. Besides, most of them had gotten funded from one of JST's prestigious funding programs, "CREST"
On the other hands, we had Singaporean guest speakers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technology University (NTU). In addition, we invited a variety of audiences from private and public sectors.
Our primary purpose was to provide an opportunity of networking for both sides and we were very pleased to observe outcomes at the site.
After all sessions were done, Japanese guests also visited NUS Environmental Research Institute (NERI) and Nanyang Environmental and Water Research Institute (NEWRI). After all, Japanese guests were very interested in Singaporean research environments.

Inauguration of the e-ASIA Joint Research Program

28 June 2012 / Mandarin Orchard Hotel Singapore

  

The e-ASIA Joint Research Program (e-ASIA JRP) aims at contributing to (1) accelerate intercommunication of people, goods, money, and wisdom in Science and Technology with Asian countries, (2) solve common issues to realize innovative and robust economy and society in the region, and (3) consider formation of Asia researcher community, through multilateral (more than three countries) joint research.
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The e-ASIA JRP has officially inaugurated in June 2012 with 9 founding member organizations from 8 countries*. First pilot joint call for proposals between Thailand, Vietnam and Japan was carried out in May, prior to the official inauguration of the e-ASIA JRP. 3 successful joint projects were selected. Now, further development of the contents of the e-ASIA JRP toward completion and preparation for the second joint call are under way.

*Founding members in alphabetical order:
State Ministry of Research and Technology, Indonesia (RISTEK), Ministry of Education, Culture, Spots, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST as the agent of MEXT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Lao PDR (MOST), Ministry of Health, Lao PDR (MOH), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Malaysia (MOSTI) (Quasi Member as of January 2013), Ministry of Science and Technology, Myanmar (MOST), Department of Science and Technology, the Philippines (DOST), National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand (NSTDA) and Ministry of Science and Technology, Viet Nam (MOST).

For more information, please visit http://www.the-easia.org/jrp/