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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 solution to global-scale environmental issues
(Contributing to SDGs - conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable use of natural resources, pollution prevention and control, and response to climate change)
2. Research on the sustainable use of resources and energy with a view to achieving carbon neutrality (research contributing to SDGs concerning resources and energy, such as energy conservation, renewable energy, smart societies, and climate change mitigation)
Bioresources 3. Research contributing to sustainable production and utilization of bioresources
(Contributing to SDGs - food security, health promotion, nutrition improvement, and sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries)
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation 4. Research on disaster prevention and mitigation towards social sustainability
(contributing to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, measures for adapting to disasters caused by climate change, and SDGs - from advance measures such as analysis of disaster mechanisms, building national resilience, strengthening social infrastructure, and appropriate land use planning, to recovery and reconstruction after a disaster has occurred)
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 solution to global-scale environmental issues (Contributing to SDGs - conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable use of natural resources, pollution prevention and control, and response to climate change.)

※ 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 Development of new technologies and their practical application are urgently needed in order to tackle the many environmental issues facing humanity on a global scale, including the deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity, the concentration of populations into urban centers, rising production and consumption, the spread of pollution, and climate change.

Many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations (UN) are deeply interlinked with the resolution of environmental problems. Conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity in environments such as forests, wetlands, grasslands, and oceans, as well as their sustainable utilization, are outlined in SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss, and SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Other pressing issues that must be tackled in order for humans to live healthy, fulfilling lives include prevention of environmental pollution by harmful substances, restoration of polluted environments, attainment of food and water security, maintenance and upkeep of key social infrastructure in urban areas, and management and prevention of waste. The basis of such efforts include the development of sustainable urban societies based on low- environmental impact production and consumption, and the creation of areas fit for human settlement, which interlink with the UN SDGs in multiple facets. Also, the development of measures to combat climate change, including those to counter related negative impact, is a critical global task, as stated in SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

To solve these issues, it is important that we combine the respective knowledge of natural and social sciences to develop new technologies, apply these in a real-world setting to reduce the impact on the environment and construct sustainable economic and societal systems, work to inform and educate the public, continue to further refine and enhance the knowledge and experience gained through this research, and to communicate this information effectively throughout the world.

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • Research on chemical pollution, its risk reduction and remediation
  • Research that contributes to assessing the abundance of water resources and improving safe, sustainable water resource management, utilization, and treatment (including proposals to strengthen the capacity of water utilities and improve service quality)
  • Research on establishing a material-cycle society (including collection and reuse of waste and useful resources)
  • Research on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biological diversity
  • Research on urban environmental conservation (including greening) for the purpose of smart city construction, mitigation of environmental degradation as a result of urbanization, and the construction and operation of pleasant cities
  • Research on reconstruction and restoration of environments damaged by large-scale disasters
  • Research on sustainable use of natural resources
  • Research on the observation, prediction, impact assessment, and adaptation to climate change
  • Research to understand environmental and social changes associated with COVID-19

Applications for research proposals relating to systems and key technologies for the achievement of carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation (including energy saving, renewable energy, and new forms of energy) should be made under Research Area 2, even if they also fit into this category. Please also consider applying under Research Area 4 if a research proposal aligns with the purpose of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation research area.

2) Research Area 2: Research on the sustainable use of resources and energy with a view to achieving carbon neutrality (research contributing to SDGs concerning resources and energy, such as energy conservation, renewable energy, smart societies, and climate change mitigation)

※ The research area known from FY2010 to FY2021 as “low-carbon societies” has been renamed “carbon neutrality” as of FY2022.

One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 7, is an important global-scale issue evident in the SDGs, which aim to leave no one behind. Meanwhile, in order to achieve the mitigation of climate change (SDG-13), the whole world must set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality. In this research area, proposals are invited that will contribute to achieving carbon neutrality through research in areas such as limiting energy consumption, promoting renewable energy, and smart societies.

The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Covention on Climate Change (COP21) held in November 2015, set the target of restricting the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 °C. In order to achieve this, greenhouse gas 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. In October 2020, Japan also pledged to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Japan to net zero by 2050, that is, be carbon neutral by 2050, and aim to achieve a decarbonized society.”

To achieve these goals, it has become essential for developed and developing nations to cooperate in generating innovations in order to achieve carbon neutrality. Japan’s Assistance Initiatives to Address Climate Change 2018 also promotes “co-innovation,” which generates innovation through collaboration—while specifically keeping the issues and the needs of the developing nations in mind—and emphasizes the reduction of GHG emissions on a global basis. Additionally, Japan’s contribution to the reduction of GHG emissions in developing nations is expected to play a role in achieving Japan’s reduction targets through the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • Research on renewable energy, such as sunlight and solar heat, wind power, ocean energy, geothermal energy, and biomass. Research on promoting the utilization of renewable energy.
  • Research promoting the use of renewable energy through the generation and utilization of hydrogen, ammonia, methane (CH4) and other substances as clean energy carriers
  • Research on energy conservation, such as highly efficient, clean energy use technology, the introduction of highly efficient machinery and energy recycling technology, energy systems technology that reduces CO2 emissions, and innovative industrial processes
  • Research utilizing digital technologies such as ICT, IoT, and AI to create sustainable, resource-recycling cities and communities in forms such as smart cities, smart communities, smart agriculture, transport networks, and next-generation infrastructure
  • Research on the sustainable use of natural resources such as fossil fuels and minerals, such as component technologies related to carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS); resource recycling; “urban mine” development; and resource collection systems.
  • Research contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from non-energy sources, such as CH4, N2O, and HFCs

2. Bioresources

3) Research Area : Research contributing to sustainable production and utilization of bioresources (Contributing to SDGs - food security, health promotion, nutrition improvement, and sustainable agriculture, forestry, and fisheries)

※ 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 all of which threaten the sustainable production of bioresources. In addition, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth objectives for the utilization of bioresources in SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, and SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

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, Nagoya Protocol, and International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture were established by international agreement, with their 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. Japan ratified the Nagoya Protocol in August 2017, and will henceforth be required to adhere to further international treaties.

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.

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they meet the requirements mentioned above.

  • 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/distribution systems)
  • Research contributing to the evaluation and effective utilization of bioresources (including using biodiversity for discovery, identification, and production of valuable substances derived from biological resources but excluding human drug development)

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 towards social sustainability
(contributing to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and SDGs - from advance measures such as analysis of disaster mechanisms, building national resilience, strengthening social infrastructure, and appropriate land use planning, to recovery and reconstruction after a disaster has occurred)

※ From FY2008

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation As outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, disaster prevention and mitigation is a key issue facing humanity on a worldwide scale. In order to work toward the realization of safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and societies, it is necessary to conduct research that is founded soundly on local needs, and whose findings of which can be applied back to society. When addressing this need, in addition to utilizing Japan’s knowledge and experience it is important that research and development is conducted not only in Japan but as part of a worldwide framework, in a comprehensive and systematic manner. Plans such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction, which were established at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 call for collaboration between disaster prevention policy and scientific research as well as support for developing countries, including technology transfer. In addition, the Paris Agreement finalized at COP21 in December 2015 outlines international targets and contribution in the DRR field, and research toward disaster risk prevention and mitigation is widely recognized as a key task both in Japan and overseas.

Amidst these circumstances, in addition to addressing natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruptions, storms, storm surges, inundation, drought, heat waves, and landslides, this research area also includes research on preventing and mitigating disasters that urbanization may exacerbate (including research on post-disaster recovery and reconstruction). Examples include large fires in densely populated urban areas, flood damage, traffic and transportation accidents, damage to social infrastructure, and large-scale accidents at industrial complexes. It is important to adopt an integrated approach spanning disaster occurrence, forecasting, countermeasures in light of the effectiveness of investment in disaster risk reduction, and a plan to practical application while also seeking interdisciplinary collaboration with various fields beyond one’s field of expertise. This includes analysis and explication of disaster mechanisms, validation of existing disaster risk reduction measures, and verification of risk communication strategies. In addition, studies are also required in areas such as building national resilience, land use planning, and improving social infrastructure, which are directly connected to strengthening social resilience in future.

When studying post-disaster recovery and reconstruction it is particularly important that those vulnerable to damage, such as women, children, persons with disabilities, and older persons, are taken into consideration. In this regard, research topics which incorporate the perspectives of SDG-5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, are particularly welcome.

Several examples of the main research subjects are listed below, but other subjects are also acceptable if they 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, heat waves, and landslides, together with measures to mitigate such disasters and risks, as well as measures for restoration and reconstruction, and research on effectiveness of investment in disaster risk reduction.
  • Research on measures to mitigate the damage from major disasters that have become more serious with urbanization (fires, urban flooding due to torrential rain, damage to social infrastructure such as lifelines and transportation networks)
  • Research on building national resilience to create disaster-resistant, resilient communities, land use planning and urban design, and improvements to social infrastructure and its sustainable operation
  • Research contributing to the prevention and mitigation of regional and urban disasters through the prompt collection and effective utilization of disaster information (including the development of technologies to utilize disaster observation satellites, remote sensing, UAV, GIS, GNSS, ICT, IoT, AI, and other digital technologies)
  • Research for the prevention of, mitigation of, and recovery from disasters that combines approaches across the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to help establish precise and practical disaster forecasting and enable effective recovery
  • Research on disaster countermeasures and improving overall social resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic

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, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, malaria, dengue fever, tuberculosis, highly-pathogenic avian influenza, rabies, infections caused by carbapenem- and colistin-resistant bacteria, and COVID-19 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. Several examples are given below of potential R&D projects that target solutions for global issues in the field of infectious diseases control.

  • R&D on Zoonoses such as highly-pathogenic avian influenza and rabies
  • R&D on epidemiology, diagnostics, prevention and therapeutics regarding HIV/AIDS, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, malaria and other protozoan or parasitic infections, dengue fever, tuberculosis, infections caused by carbapenem- and colistin-resistant bacteria, and COVID-19 and other emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases

※ In principle, this program deals mainly with projects from basic research to nonclinical research. Clinical trials and similar studies are not eligible, but please consult the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) if joint research, clinical studies, or clinical trials including medical practice by Japanese nationals in the partner country are to be conducted.