Future Earth

The existing global environmental problems are universal issues today, and collaboration among nations is essential for their solution. New efforts will also be required, through collaborative engagements with various stakeholders such as those in the fields of science, industry, administration, and civil society.

The "Future Earth" initiative was proposed based on this recognition, at the RIO+20 conference in 2012, led by the International Council for Science (ICSU), and became fully operational in 2015. Based on the same concept as the two existing activities: the integrated Global Environmental Change Programs (GEC) and the research on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Future Earth is a 10-year-schemed, international research program to counter the various risks arising from global environmental changes, aiming to build a sustainable society around the globe.

Future Earth clearly states the importance of a strong partnership between the natural sciences, and the humanities and social sciences; as well as the importance of Knowledge Co-Creation, or "transdisciplinary research," achieved through Co-Design, Co-Production, and Co-Delivery of research that are based on collaborative engagement of direct or indirect stakeholders (e.g. international organizations, central and local governments of various countries, funding agencies, international cooperation and development aid organizations, industries, civil society, and media) of the research outputs.

The government also states that R&D related to environmental science and technology should be promoted by initiatives that encourage Co-Designing with stakeholders and lead to social implementation, and for this purpose, it would consider supporting the construction of necessary foundations such as of scientific knowledge, technology, human resources and systems.

As part of the Future Earth initiative in Japan, RISTEX set up the "Initiative for the Promotion of Future Earth Concept" in FY2014, and provided funding to transdisciplinary research projects until FY2019. In this initiative, issues for which solutions researchers and various stakeholders in society need to work together were identified, and R&D of such solutions were conducted by their collaboration. The outputs of such activities were then applied to other regions, and made commonly available by active dissemination of information, contributing to the development of transdisciplinary research.

From FY2020, RISTEX has been conducting surveys which are aimed to provide evidences for JST as a funding agency to further promote transdisciplinary research in Japan. The initial survey in FY2020 consisted of a review of transdisciplinary research projects funded in above Future Earth initiative, organization of accumulated information about Belmont Forum’s international collaborative research projects in which Japanese researchers participated, a mapping of global issues, and an attempt to visualize strength/weakness of Japan in terms of research potential.

Summary of the Program and Projects

Research and study on selection of globally prioritized themes for Japan to be engaged in and on R&D designs for such themes

The project is targeted toward finding a series of globally prioritized topics and themes in which Japan may be able to take initiatives within Asia and the world, utilizing Japan's "assets", and targeted toward developing a methodology which benefits the design of transdisciplinary research for a sustainable global environment (implementation period: FY2014 - FY2016).

Project Future Earth; Research and study on selection of globally prioritized themes for Japan to be engaged in and on R&D designs for such themes
Representative Head of Future Earth Unit, Center for Research Development, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature(RIHN)
Makoto TANIGUCHI
Summary
  • Based on objective evidences, collect and investigate the topics with regard to Future Earth (hereinafter, FE) within Japan and the Asian regions, and the present situations and movements of global environmental researches in Japan.
  • Examine and determine standards for evaluating the Japan's assets and the adaptability of these topics to Transdisciplinary researches.
  • Based on the above standards, identify a series of research agenda in which Japan may be able to take initiatives in the world, and which should be subjects for TD researches.
  • In collecting and identifying issues and determining a standard for evaluation, we shall seek collaboration with stakeholders in various social positions and situations, as well as researchers from the natural sciences, and the humanities and social sciences.
  • To achieve this, we shall make full use of our existing partnership systems with the FE related agencies and organizations within and outside Japan, and focus on building new networks among related stakeholders and new platforms within Japan and Asian regions.
URL http://www.chikyu.ac.jp/activities/related/etc/fe.html(Japanese)
Achievement http://www.chikyu.ac.jp/future_earth/ristex/(Japanese)

Transdisciplinary research for problem solutions

Feasibility Studies (Phase 1)

Building a Sustainable Governance of Smallholders' Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia
OKAMOTO Masaaki
(Associate Professor, Kyoto University)
2015.2-2015.8
Feasibility research on sustainability development in rural areas considering nexus among water, food and energy
OKI Taikan
(Professor, Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo)
2015.3-2015.8
Transdisciplinary Research towards Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
KANIE Norichika
(Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology)
2015.2-2015.8
Future scenarios and governance of social-ecological systems in Asia-Pacific region through enhancing synergy between indigenous and local knowledge and scientific knowledge
SAITO Osamu
(Academic Programme Officer, United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU- IAS)
2015.2-2015.7
Feasibility study on a comprehensive research program toward climate engineering governance
SUGIYAMA Masahiro
(Lecturer, The University of Tokyo, Policy Alternatives Research Institute)
2015.2-2015.7
Development of an innovation framework for climate and social changes adaptation
HUKUSHI Kensuke
(Professor, Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science The University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Studies)
2015.12-2015.6
Accomplishment of Megacities Sustainability through the Development of City Sustainability Index
MORI Koichiro
(Professor, International Center, Shiga University)
2015.3-2015.7
A feasibility study on a trans-disciplinary science by integrating sciences of environment, disaster, health, governance and human cooperation
YAHARA Tetsukazu
(Director, the Institute of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society)
2015.2-2015.6
Feasibility Study of Transdisciplinary Research for Integrated Policy Design: Building Resilience of Rural Areas in Semi-arid Tropics Against Climatic Variability
UMETSU Chieko
(Professor, Graduate School of Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Nagasaki University)
2015.10-2016.3
Implementing Water-Related Disaster Risk Management through Inter-disciplinary Approaches
KOIKE Toshio
(Director, International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Public Works Research Institute (PWRI))
2015.10-2016.3
Transdisciplinary Study of Natural Resource Management under Poverty Conditions Collaborating with Vulnerable Sectors
SATO Tetsu
(Professor, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
2015.10-2016.3
Design and Reform of Social Systems Enabling Transformation to Sustainable Society
SAIJO Tatsuyoshi
(Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University)
2015.10-2016.3
Feasibility study of Green Infrastructure for Sustainable National Land Formation
SHIMATANI Yukihiro
(Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University)
2015.10-2016.3
Feasibility study on the value-based co-creation of technology and lifestyle for a society based on a virtuous materials cycle
YOSHIOKA Toshiaki
(Professor, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Tohoku University)
2015.10-2016.3

Feasibility Studies (Phase 2) / Research Projects (Trial)

Building a Sustainable Governance of Smallholders' Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia
OKAMOTO Masaaki
(Associate Professor, Kyoto University)
2015.10-2016.3
Feasibility study on a comprehensive research program toward climate engineering governance
SUGIYAMA Masahiro
(Assistant Professor, Policy Alternatives Research Institute, the University of Tokyo)
2015.10-2016.3
A feasibility study on transdisciplinary research by networking solution-oriented interdisciplinary sciences of environment, disaster, health, governance and human cooperation
YAHARA Tetsukazu
(Director, Institute of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society, Kyushu University)
2015.10-2016.3
Design and Reform of Social Systems Enabling Transformation to Sustainable Society
SAIJO Tatsuyoshi
(Professor, Research Center for Future Design, Kochi University of Technology)
2016.9-2017.3
Transdisciplinary Study of Natural Resource Management under Poverty Conditions Collaborating with Vulnerable Sectors
SATO Tetsu
(Professor, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature)
2016.9-2017.3

Full-Scale Research Projects

A transdisciplinary research by networking solution-oriented interdisciplinary sciences of environment, disaster, health, governance and human cooperation
YAHARA Tetsukazu
(Director, the Institute of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society, Kyushu University)
2016.9-2019.8
Transdisciplinary Study of Natural Resource Management under Poverty Conditions Collaborating with Vulnerable Sectors
SATO Tetsu
(Professor, Ehime University)
2016.9-2020.3

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