About JST-Mirai Program
Today, new knowledge and ideas can have a great influence on the international competitiveness of organizations and nations. It is important to boldly attempt new experimentation and promote high-risk and high-impact research and development (R&D) that will yield important innovations. The 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan states that, "Japan will popularize and disseminate suitable methods for promoting challenges" in the R&D projects conducted by government ministries.
In response to the goals mentioned above, JST commenced the JST-Mirai program in FY2017. By considering the needs of industry and society (including potential ones), this program will set technologically challenging goals with clear targets (exits) designed to produce beneficial economic and social impacts. To reach a stage (proof of concept: POC) where practical application feasibility may be properly judged, the R&D for prospective projects will take advantage of the promising results produced previously through "Strategic Basic Research Programs" and "Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research." This program uses operation practices that allow innovative ideas to be readily incorporated, and allow technologies to be swiftly brought to commercialization.
The JST-Mirai program consists of two different project approaches: "Small-start Type" and "Large-scale Type."
The Small-start Type involves a large number of R&D projects being selected via open call. They each begin with a feasibility study on a relatively low budget, and are narrowed down and integrated into cost intensive full-scale research through stage gate evaluation. Selected projects follow the "Prioritized Themes" set by JST according to technological areas required for future society set by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
The Large-scale Type involves collecting and analyzing information on science and technology innovations and changes in existing technology systems. Investment will be concentrated towards R&D projects that relate to "Technology Themes" that have been judged by MEXT as important for forming the bases for future technologies.
The JST-Mirai program applies a stage-gate method*. When considering "Small-start Type", R&D projects that can transition from feasibility study to full-scale research will be prioritized and invested in. Similarly, through narrowing down the research projects currently underway, the most suitable R&D projects will be chosen for concentrated investment. It should also be noted that Large-scale Type requires the sourcing of private funds and investment during the R&D phase to facilitate involvement of private sectors.
* Stage-gate method: A system in which R&D is divided into a number of stages, with an evaluation conducted at each stage to decide whether to continue with the project or revoke it.
Scheme of the Program
Program Director (PD)
(Former President, Toyota Motor Corporation)
* Each Small-start Type Area has Prioritized Themes. R&D project are promoted under each prioritized theme.
* Large-scale Type has several technological themes. R&D project are promoted under each technological theme.