Greetings from Director-General
Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX)
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
Modern society is facing many extremely challenging issues. The declining population arising from the low birthrate, to say nothing of the advancing age of the nation's citizens, will likely bring great change to Japanese society. In addition to this are complex and problematic challenges that are largely outside the realm of previous experience. Among them are severe national finances, an uncertain international situation, and responses to disasters.
To find ways of tackling and resolving these challenges, we must marshal the achievements of scientific research and strive to analyze issues, illuminate causes, and explore effective solutions. As we strive to resolve social issues, how much of the achievements from scientific research can be used is the main question.
Discovery and invention focused on the elements and causes that comprise these complex issues are essential to their solution. Also vital are the technologies that will make such discovery and invention practical, the capital and human resources that will commercialize them, and the legal systems and financial support mechanisms needed to make all of the above possible.
These methods and technologies leading to solutions to society are particularly important today. They can be targeted by scientific R&D and can be termed "science and technology for society."
The Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX), an institution of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), promotes and supports R&D in science and technology for society based on the following standpoints.
First, it is research that contributes to the resolution of specific social issues. Rather than remaining completely within the sphere of research, it can be expected to enter the areas of application, practical use, and commercialization and also lead to policy recommendations.
Second, finding solutions to social challenges will require not only research in the natural sciences but also its linkage with research in the humanities and social sciences. Thus, collaboration and joint-research among researchers in diverse fields are expected.
And third is partnership between researchers and practitioners. There must be cooperation with practitioners and policy-makers positioned to apply new research outcomes. This makes the participation of practitioners and the sharing of interest among them necessary.
No one can deny the importance of R&D in science and technology for society. However, there is no getting around the fact that recognition of the necessity of actively promoting it remains inadequate.
At RISTEX, we have endeavored to promote the development of science and technology for society that is useful in resolving social issues. As we continue doing so, we intend to broadly convey the value and necessity of such development to society based on our 13 years of experience.