The Science and Technology Basic Plan (2001-2005)
Government of Japan
March 30, 2001
Chapter 1 Basic Concepts
- Circumstances Relating to S&T
- (1) A look back at the 20th century
- (2) Outlook for the 21st century
- A Vision of Japan and Concepts of S&T Policy
- (1) A nation that contributes to the world by creating and using scientific knowledge
- (2) An internationally competitive nation capable of sustainable development
- (3) A safe, secure nation where people enjoy a high quality of life
- Comprehensive and Strategic S&T Policies
- Building New Relationships between S&T and Society
- (1) Communication between S&T and society
- (2) Return of R&D results to society through industrial activity
- Achievements and Problems of the First Science and Technology Basic Plan
- Basic Concepts for S&T Promotion
- (1) Basic Policies
- (2) Increase of governmental R&D expenditure and effective/efficient resource allocation
Chapter 2 Important Policies
I. Strategic Prioritization in S&T
- Promotion of Basic Research
- Prioritization of R&D on national/social issues
- (1) Life sciences
- (2) Information and Communication Technologies
- (3) Environmental sciences
- (4) Nanotechnology and materials
- (5) Energy
- (6) Manufacturing technology
- (7) Infrastructure
- (8) Frontier
- Focus on emerging fields
II. S&T system reforms
- R&D system reforms
- (1) Building an R&D system that generates excellent results
- 1) Establishment of a competitive R&D environment
- 2) Mobilization of human resources using fixed-term appointments
- 3) Independence of young researchers
- 4) Reform of evaluation systems
- 5) Flexible, effective, and efficient management of R&D systems
- 6) Utilization of qualified persons and development of a variety of career paths
- 7) Realization of creative R&D systems
- (2) Promotion and reform of R&D in major organizations
- 1) Universities and other academic institutions
- 2) National research institutes and other institutes
- 3) Private companies
- (1) Building an R&D system that generates excellent results
- Reinforcement of industrial technology and reform of industry-academia-government collaboration
- (1) Reform of systems of information distribution and human resource exchange
- (2) Improvement of environment of technological transfer from public research organizations to industry
- (3) Promoting commercialization of the R&D results of public research organizations
- (4) Environment for activating high-technological venture enterprises
- Regional improvement of the S&T Promotion environment
- (1) Establishment of regional "intellectual clusters"
- (2) Implementation of regional S&T policies
- S&T human resource development and S&T educational reforms
- (1) Education of researchers and engineers, and reform of universities and other institutions
- (2) Training and securing engineers
- Establishment of interactive channels between S&T activities and society
- (1) Promotion of S&T learning
- (2) Establishment of channels toward society
- Ethics and responsibility to society on S&T
- (1) Bioethics
- (2) Ethics of researchers and engineers
- (3) Accountability and risk management
- Maintenance of infrastructure for S&T promotion
- (1) Improvement of facilities and equipment
- (2) Enrichment of research assistance
- (3) Improvement of intellectual infrastructure
- (4) Enrichment and standardization of intellectual property rights
- (5) Maintenance of the research-informational infrastructure
- (6) Maintenance of the manufacturing infrastructure
- (7) Promotion of academic society activities
III. Internationalization of S&T activities
- Initiatives in International Cooperation
- Enhancement of International Information Dissemination
- Internationalization of Domestic Research Environments
Chapter 3 Missions of the CSTP
- Basic steering of S&T Policies
- Promotion of Research and Development in Prioritized Areas
- Policy on Resource Allocation
- Promotion of Nationally Important Projects
- Settlement of National Guidelines on Important Policies
- Follow-up of the Basic Plan
During the last decade of the 20th century, the world underwent a great transition. Now that the Cold War is behind us, all but a few societies, those living in hotspots of regional conflict, are enjoying peaceful lives on a global level. The cross border flows of people, goods, information, and capital continue to accelerate, adding momentum to the trend we call globalization. In turn, economic competition is intensifying among advanced countries, spawning an era of mega-competition. As bases for this competition, IT and biotechnologies have advanced remarkably. Governments that recognize the importance of these and other new fields are making great efforts to promote Science & Technology (S&T).
Over the last decade, as these changes transpired globally, Japan has been ensnared in its first serious depression since World War II. Private companies, which used to conduct 80 percent of all Research and Development (R&D) in Japan, are no longer able to invest nearly as much in R&D as they once did. R&D facilities in universities and national research institutes are long overdue for renewal, and the system for collaboration among industry, academia, and government has been working inefficiently and ineffectively. The effects on Japan's S&T level and industrial competitiveness are a matter of growing concern.
To overcome these debilities and put Japan back on track to becoming an advanced science- and technology-oriented nation, the government of Japan enacted the Science and Technology Basic Law in 1995. In 1996, based on the law, the first Science and Technology Basic Plan was adopted to drastically improve the S&T environment in Japan, to strengthen Japan's R&D capability, and to return R&D results smoothly to society. In the last five years, the effects of the First Basic Plan have wrought steady improvement in Japan's R&D. Notwithstanding, industrial competitiveness has yet to recover its former robustness, and future economic growth holds less promise in today's 'low-birth-rate society.' There is all the more reason to reinforce industrial technologies that will lead new industries and restore strong international competitiveness.
As we enter the new century, S&T in Japan is expected to undergo new developments. In numerous fast-growing fields, the United States and European countries maintain higher levels of R&D than Japan. To stay competitive, Japan must match and even exceed these levels in terms of R&D results. Japan must elevate its basic research, the source of new knowledge, as well as establish an environment in which internationally respectable achievements will flourish. In R&D geared to respond to social and economic needs, sectors of industry, academia, and government must remove the invisible walls that divide them and set up an environment for practical cooperation. Creative young researchers must be set in an environment in which they can actualize their talents and put them to full use. Further, ongoing communication will have to be maintained between S&T and society, to ensure that S&T meets society's expectations.
This year, the government of Japan has been reorganized. Among many other changes, several major national research institutes have been transformed into independent administrative institutions this year, and the government has newly established the Council for Science and Technology Policy ('CSTP' hereinafter) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. A major part of the reform has been the reform of universities, institutions that play a great role in S&T. National universities are also deliberating whether to reestablish themselves as independent administrative institutes, and further reforms are expected. From now on, the CSTP will act as a control tower and direct the multifold processes S&T policy implementation. In addition to formulating promotion strategies on prioritized areas, principles of resource allocation, and guidelines for project evaluation, the council will strive to promote S&T activities of a quality high enough to contribute to the development of the world.
In keeping with the view that S&T in the 21st century, the "century of knowledge," should generate new knowledge, contribute to sustainable development for both people's lives and the economic activities in Japan, as well as contribute to the world, the first chapter of this document presents basic concepts that Japan should adopt, a vision that this country should aspire towards, and basic principles by which such goals can be achieved. The second chapter, in line with the first, demonstrates basic policies concentrating on prioritized / strategic R&D promotion and S&T system reform. The third chapter describes missions to be undertaken by the CSTP to promote this basic plan.
Chapter 1 Basic Concepts
1. Circumstances Relating to S&T
(1) A look back at the 20th century
In the 20th century, what some have called the "century of science and technology," outstanding advances in S&T brought about unprecedented changes across the globe. Thanks in part to the rapid progress of studies in fields such as physics, chemistry, and the life sciences, people in the more developed countries gained more affluence and convenience in daily life, as well as better health and longevity. But adverse influences of S&T also became foreseeable-influences that posed threats to human society and the global environment.
As a consequence of Japan's successful modernization in the 20th century, the Japanese economy has grown enormous. Japan's industrial development and economic growth after the world have even been described as miracles. In terms of GDP, Japan's stature in the world ranks second only to the United States. This progress has enriched the standard of living in Japan, and the resulting improvements in health and welfare have made the Japanese the longest-living people on earth, statistically speaking. In the 1990s, however, Japan suffered a trying period of unprecedented economic depression, the so-called "empty decade."
(2) Outlook for the 21st century
In the 21st century, S&T is expected to make rapid progress, contributing further to the life and well-being of humankind, as well as to economic and social development. All over the world, S&T will continue to be a driver of sustainable growth.
The human society of the 21st century is expected to be a knowledge-based society. To evolve into such a society while maintaining economic development, Japan must surmount many problems.
As globalization advances and international competition grows keener, Japan is burdened with economic issues such as a deterioration of industrial competitiveness and job creation. Meanwhile, the nation must contend with a decreasing workforce coupled with increases in expenditures on healthcare and social security stemming from the low birth rate and graying of the population. To stabilize and develop people's lives, the nation's economic vitality will have to be restored through the fosterage of industries that have internationally high productivity and strong competitiveness. To this end, persistent technical innovation will be crucial.
In an aging society, it is important for the elderly not only to live long lives, but to live active, healthy, rewarding lives in which they can contribute their experiences and skills to society. Most important of all, perhaps, is to maintain the health and improve the quality of life of the elderly by overcoming illness through medical treatments and preventive therapies.
The IT revolution in recent years is spreading to all parts of society, bringing rapid and extensive changes in diverse spheres such as economy, industry, education, and recreation. As this trend goes on, the Japanese people can best enjoy the benefits if the nation generates new industries and social conveniences. To these ends, Japan needs to move forward in R&D on IT, the nucleus of the IT revolution, as well as to resolve the problem of the so-called digital divide within society.
Indeed, the brightness of our future depends upon S&T. S&T will be a key tool for tackling the multifold problems that face the world on a global scale in the 21st century-the population explosion, global warming, epidemics with no known cures, dwindling supplies of fresh water, food, and energy-and for achieving sustainable growth in developed and developing countries alike. In view of Japan's dependence on foreign countries for resources, energy, and food, the nation is particularly vulnerable to today's global-scale problems. To overcome these problems, it will be necessary to amass as much knowledge as possible, both from within Japan and the rest of the world.
To surmount the problems that face Japan and the rest of the world in the 21st century, the knowledge humankind has gained through its intellectual activities must be further concentrated and applied more effectively. Yet, if we place too much trust in S&T, our confidence may create more problems for the global environment, social welfare, and human happiness. The global-scale problems caused by mass-production, consumption, and disposal in the 20th century are valuable lessons to heed, albeit very expensive ones.
In the medium-to-long-term forecast for the 21st century, the influences of S&T on society and human beings will become broader and more serious, encompassing issues such as bioethics, the challenges to human dignity imposed by advanced life sciences, the safety/security of genetically modified organs, the digital divide, and the many problems of the environment. To proceed with foresight, society will require a new S&T discipline geared to analyze, assess, and appropriately respond. We must recognize the need for human wisdom to integrate the natural sciences with social sciences and the humanities.
2. A Vision of Japan and Concepts of S&T Policy
In helping people to develop a sound perspective for the future, S&T will play a key role. To pursue its fundamental goal of realizing "an advanced science- and technology-oriented nation," Japan must promote S&T by implementing practical policies based on the Comprehensive Strategy to Promote Science and Technology and the Science and Technology Basic Plan. As a basis for its S&T policy, Japan must form a clear vision of what it aims to become, synthesizing what it has learned in the 20th century with what it foresees for the 21st. This vision will take three forms:
A nation that contributes to the world by creating and using scientific knowledge
An internationally competitive nation capable of sustainable
A safe, secure nation where people enjoy a high quality of life.
(1) A nation that contributes to the world by creating and using scientific knowledge - creation of wisdom
"A nation that contributes to the world by creating and using scientific knowledge" is: firstly, a nation that creates new knowledge by clarifying unknown phenomena and discovering new scientific laws and principles; and secondly, a nation that copes with various problems by utilizing accumulated knowledge. Moreover, if a nation works with other nations to resolve problems common to humankind by transmitting its knowledge and wisdom, it will win the trust of other nations.
For Japan to become such a nation, science must be rooted in society and fostered there. The nation will have to prepare an atmosphere where the scientific view, scientific way of thinking, and scientific mind are highly valued; and to build a knowledge-based society that nurtures talented persons who can create new knowledge.
More specifically, the goal is to create outstanding R&D results and to disseminate them widely across to the world, for example, by publishing a profusion of excellent papers that match investment, by increasing the percentage of internationally renowned papers, by providing centers of excellence that attract outstanding foreign researchers, and by producing just as many Nobel Prize winning scientists as the most technologically advanced European countries. (Some European countries have produced as many as 30 Nobel laureates in the last 50 years).
(2) An internationally competitive nation capable of sustainable development - vitality from wisdom
"An internationally competitive nation capable of sustainable development" is a nation that can improve people's living standards and maintain vitality for sustainable economic growth and international competitiveness by overcoming current difficulties, creating value-added assets and services, and securing job opportunities.
Industrial technological power is not merely a foundation of international competitiveness for Japanese companies, but a driving force to vitalize all industrial activities that support people's lives. Industrial technology is also important in terms of utilizing results of scientific knowledge to benefit society. To maintain economic vitality for sustainable development, the nation must foster its more internationally competitive industries by providing an environment conducive to perpetual innovation of multifold processes, from the creation of new technologies to the development of new markets. It will be crucial to create new industries founded on R&D, and also to reform the interface between basic research and businesses.
More specifically, the goal is to strengthen international competitiveness by widely transferring R&D results from public research organizations to private companies, by proposing various international standards, by further increasing the number of international patents obtained, and by improving industrial productivity. Steps to achieve these ends would include activities of technology licensing organizations to accelerate technology transfer from public sectors and the establishment of venture businesses supported by public research organizations.
(3) A safe, secure nation where people enjoy a high quality of life - enlightening society through wisdom
"A safe, secure nation where people enjoy a high quality of life" is a nation that reliably assures safe and high-quality living for its people. Such a nation serves its people by: improving disease treatments and prevention to maximize its citizens chances for a long and healthy life; minimizing the risks posed by natural and artificial disasters; ensuring a steady supply of food and energy, the bases for human activities; realizing industrial activity and economic development in ways that preserve the global environment; and maintaining stable international relations all over the world.
To achieve the foregoing aims entirely, it will be necessary to develop S&T and utilize them properly in society. For example, S&T can clarify how diseases and disasters occur and spread. At the same time, the nation must not lose sight of the negative influences of S&T to be contended with. As a nation advanced in S&T, Japan is expected to utilize S&T to resolve various difficult problems that confront the international community, including developing countries. Indeed, Japan's international status and national security depend on its ability to meet this expectation.
The specific goals are to form S&T bases to analyze genetically caused diseases and develop tailor-made medical therapies for their treatment, to minimize damage from natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, and to secure stable supplies of high-quality foods by applying biotechnology, whilst minimizing the possible risks of S&T. Through such endeavors, Japan is also expected to contribute to disaster management and the prevention of infectious diseases in the developing countries.
To realize the vision described above, Japan will need to consider following two points.
Japan's S&T development in the 21st century must flow as a continuation of it's remarkable accumulation of S&T knowledge during the 20th century. In doing so, Japan should concurrently pursue two targets: to use S&T to resolve the problems confronting Japan, and to use S&T to resolve world problems, thereby contributing to world development.
As Japan commenced its modernization efforts earlier than any other countries outside of the West, it has gained long experience in harmonizing S&T and traditional cultures. Japan should use this experience to help create an environment in which the various peoples of the world can thoroughly enjoy the benefits of S&T while maintaining their cultures and value systems.
3. Comprehensive and Strategic S&T Policies
To actualize the vision based on the above concepts, the four principles set forth below will govern the management of S&T policies. These principles will ensure that the nation's S&T policies are promoted with a broad perspective and strategic procedures.
(1) New forms of S&T that support human living and form a basis for industrial competitiveness should be further developed. At the same time, the nation should take a comprehensive, panoramic view of S&T to develop it in harmony with model scenarios for human society in the 21st century. It is very important that the CSTP, a body newly inaugurated at the start of the 21st century, engages in discussions on S&T that integrate natural S&T with the social sciences and humanities.
(2) S&T is an inexhaustible intellectual resource whose promotion might well be regarded as an investment toward the future. To form the foundations for a knowledge-based nation, Japan should continuously invest in basic research based upon strict evaluations. The nation should strategically construct a dynamic circulative system in which high-quality results in basic research and prioritized areas are rapidly applied to social and industrial activities, thereby attracting further investment.
(3) In complicated modern societies supported by highly advanced S&T, we now see occasional instances where the inappropriate use and management of S&T may pose risks to people's lives and physical safety. To reconcile this Janus-faced aspect of S&T, it is useful to cultivate the concept of "S&T for and in society," as a basis for communication between S&T and society. Meanwhile, the technologists who work with S&T should heed their responsibilities to society and human beings, observing high ethical standards in their technical endeavors.
(4) To achieve the intellectual innovations expected in the 21st century for social and industrial activities and the symbiosis of human beings and nature, the CSTP should liken its role to a control tower, directing comprehensive and strategic policies. To achieve this, the council will demonstrate points of well-planned investment in prioritized areas, maintenance of R&D infrastructures, strict evaluation, and effective and efficient resource allocation. The council will also place importance on the observation and treatment of negative S&T influences.
4. Building New Relationships between S&T and Society
In promoting S&T to make Japan into the nation it aims to become, we must adopt and implement S&T policies formed on the basis of how they relate to society. As S&T holds true value only if accepted by society, society's understanding, judgment, and acceptance of S&T are crucial. This is a point to be recognized and strived not only by the natural scientists and technological experts, but by experts in the social sciences and humanities as well.
(1) Communication between S&T and society
Bearing in mind the concept of "S&T in and for society," we must establish fundamental forms of interactive communication between S&T and society.
First of all, society should be provided with accurate information on the present status of S&T, and the anticipated status of S&T in the future. For this to be effective, schools and public education will have to equip society with the capacity to receive and assimilate this type of information. And as S&T advances and grows more complex, experts in S&T fields will be responsible for routinely briefing society on the changes in S&T underway, elucidating these changes for the public as clearly and accessibly as possible. To make difficult scientific and technical concepts accessible to the laypersons in society, the S&T experts will have to rely on communicators and interpreters as mediums. Indeed, S&T experts, professional commentators, and journalists will share the obligation not only to introduce society to the significance and salient features of the latest S&T, but to propagate scientific knowledge and ways of thinking throughout society as well. It will also be necessary to increase opportunities and widen channels for society to critique S&T and voice its expectations of what S&T should deliver; and likewise, S&T experts will have to respond thereto seriously and appropriately.
Experts in social sciences and humanities should take an interest in S&T, as well as study and remark on the relationship between S&T and society. They should also play an important role in the flow of interactive communication, wherein the opinions and demands of society are fed back accurately to S&T. Social sciences and humanities in Japan have not adequately addressed such issues in the past. Henceforth, these sciences should be developed in concordance with the idea of "S&T in and for society," and active intermediation works stemming from research results should be initiated.
These are background conditions requisite for realizing a society in which ordinary people can make scientific, reasonable, and independent judgment on matters of S&T, as well as on society in general.
(2) Return of R&D results to society through industrial activity
In considering the relationship between S&T and society, another important point to keep in mind is the need to apply R&D results to society practically. Conventionally, R&D results contribute to people's lives and national economy in the form of available products and services produced by industrial technologies. Society reaps the benefits of S&T by generating S&T achievements, publicizing them, accumulating them, applying them to industrial technologies, and using them. In light of the importance of this process, industrial technologies should be strengthened by promoting closer industry-academia-government collaboration and pursuing R&D systems that create excellent results.
5. Achievements and Problems of the First Science and Technology Basic Plan
The First Basic Plan was adopted by the government in July 1996, covering a five-year period from FY 1996 to 2000. The primary principle of the plan was to concurrently promote R&D to meet social and economic needs, and basic research to create human intellectual assets. To put this principle into practice, the plan endorsed policies to structure new R&D systems, realize desirable R&D bases, promote education on S&T, and form a national consensus on S&T. Governmental expenditure on R&D under the plan was initially set at an estimated 17 trillion yen for the five-year period, while necessary budget to implement the plan was to be secured in annual negotiation, taking into consideration the severe fiscal situation.
Following is a summary of the achievements of the policies implemented during the period of the First Basic Plan, as well as the remaining problems.
To provide competitive and flexible R&D environments, the government nearly doubled funds for proposal-competition-based research (hereinafter referred to as "competitive research funds"), and substantially increased funds for young researchers. The plan to support a targeted 10,000 young researchers, especially post-doctoral fellows, was numerically achieved in the fourth year. While this enriched the crop of young researchers and activated R&D fields, it failed to reconcile several problems, including the flawed relationship between young researchers and research advisors, and for some, difficulty in finding jobs after the post-doctoral period. Though mobility of human resources was not improved to the desired extent, there were constructive system innovations, such as fixed-term appointment and a relaxation of the restrictions on the side employment of civil servants for industry-academia-government collaboration.
With regard to R&D evaluation, the prime minister endorsed a set of "National Guidelines on the Method of Evaluation for Governmental R&D" in August 1997, and a system for the earnest evaluation of research institutes and research themes was introduced. Though there were several improvements in research evaluations, for example, the introduction of a system requiring universities to conduct self-evaluations, overall there was not adequate consideration of the transparency of the evaluation process and optimal ways to reflect evaluations in resource allocation and personnel changes. To upgrade effectiveness of R&D evaluation, the methods for evaluation and publication of results will have to be promptly improved.
To encourage industry-academia-government collaboration, national research institutes were restructured to facilitate the application and commercialization of R&D results, and reforms were made in several systems, including the system for the adoption of research sponsored by private companies to national institutes, and the system for patent rights for research results produced by such sponsorship. As a consequence, the numbers of patent applications by national research institutes and public-private joint research bodies have been increasing steadily, and technology licensing organizations to connect these patents with industry have become active all around Japan. Further, a law was revised to promote joint-research facilities in national universities.
However, research facilities and the number of research assistants have not been improved sufficiently. In spite of an expenditure of over 1 trillion yen in five years, national universities are congested and their facilities continue to fall into disrepair. The source of the problem lies partly in the rapid increase in the number of graduate students. The number of research assistants at national institutes increased slightly over the five year period of the First Basic Plan. While the number of research assistants at the national universities fell over the same period, conditions of research projects were supplemented with graduate students' participation.
The First Basic Plan did not clearly specify priorities among S&T related goals. Therefore, the second basic plan is expected to clearly specify R&D goals that relate to national and social problems, and to set forth a strategy and priorities regarding those goals.
The total budget for government R&D expenditure exceeded the 17 trillion yen initially estimated for FY 1996-2000, despite the government's severe fiscal constraints.
Although it is quite difficult to fully evaluate the effect of such expenditure at this stage, when only four years in the five-year period have actually passed, the policies under the First Basic Plan are thought to have activated R&D fields. During this period, Dr. Hideki Shirakawa was awarded a Nobel Prize in chemistry for his creative scientific achievements with conductive polymers. Moreover, the number of papers written by Japanese scientists and published in the world's highest-level science periodicals has been increasing. In basic sciences, as well as in newly developing fields, Japanese researchers have obtained the highest-level results in the world. Of special note are the elucidation of the so-called suicide mechanism of cancerous cells, and the findings on the origin of substances through world's first detection of a neutrino event by the Super-Kamiokande detector.
In line with the increase in R&D expenditure, various research institutions are now being encouraged to conduct higher-quality R&D more effectively and more efficiently than in the past, as well as to cooperate more closely, more appropriately allocating responsibilities amongst themselves.
In light of these achievements, further reforms called for during the period of the First Basic Plan should be pursued in the future, and the problems that emerged during the period should be appropriately addressed.
6. Basic Concepts for S&T Promotion
(1) Basic Policies
Building on the achievements of the First Basic Plan, and conscious of the problems that remain to be surmounted, Japan will pursue the following policies in its promotion of S&T, to best develop into the nation it seeks to become:
- 1) To make R&D expenditure more effective by setting priorities for S&T resource allocation;
- to allocate resources on R&D challenging national/social problems with priority having definite target
- to accurately bring up emerging S&T fields with foresight and mobility
to prioritize high-quality basic research that explores new lines of inquiry and unlocks the future
- 2) To pursue S&T systems that create world-class achievements, and to invest in R&D infrastructure for such systems;
to provide competitive R&D environments in which researchers can perform at their best with their original ideas, and to provide opportunities for young researchers
to train/secure excellent human resources, the basis of S&T activities, by promoting educational reform, and to promote the mobility of researchers as a means of widening their exposure to different R&D environments
to introduce fair and transparent R&D evaluation, and thereby encourage healthy competition
to improve facilities in national universities that have heretofore remained lacking, and to enrich intellectual bases for S&T, such as measuring standards and biogenetic resources
- 3) To thoroughly return S&T achievements to society
to strengthen technological capabilities in industry to facilitate the commercialization of R&D results through closer industry-academia-government collaboration, to resolve social problems concerning food, economy, industry, the environment, health, welfare, and security
to deepen people's understanding of S&T, a prerequisite not only for the promotion of S&T itself, but for the scientific, rational, and independent assessment of S&T subjects, as well as society in general, by having S&T researchers and engineers to present the content of S&T and promote S&T education.
- 4) To internationalize S&T;
to create outstanding R&D results, to operate independent international activities that help overcome the various problems that human beings confront, and to disseminate such activities widely across the world
to establish world-standards and open R&D environments in which excellent researchers from around the world gather
As it pursues the basic policies aforementioned, Japan will advance reform as promptly and actively as possible, carefully weighing rapid international trends, globalization, and other factors. In the process, needless overlap and deleterious sectionalism among ministries will be eliminated.
In addition, the respective roles of public and private sectors in promoting S&T will be clarified, and the private sector will be encouraged to engage more comprehensively in the forms of R&D it is best geared to handle.
(2) Increase of governmental R&D expenditure and effective/efficient resource allocation
Since the inception of the First Basic Plan, governmental R&D expenditure has been steadily growing as a percentage of the national gross domestic product (GDP). Today the percentage almost equals the level in the United States and leading European countries, where R&D expenditure has been decreasing in recent years. As it sustains the S&T efforts embarked upon in the previous plan, Japan should further increase its R&D expenditure to at least match the percentage levels in the United States and European countries. During the period of the Second Basic Plan, the government is expected to spend about 24 trillion yen* on R&D (fiscal 2001-2005).
(*One percent of the GDP in 2005, assuming nominal GDP growth of 3.5 percent, during the period of the Second Basic Plan.)
While fiscal conditions in other industrially developed countries recovered during the five years of the First Basic Plan, Japan's fiscal conditions substantially worsened. At this juncture, an enormous fiscal deficit threatens to obstruct Japan's economy and future development. If Japan is to have a vital society and economy in the 21st century, financial affairs will have to be restored to a sound condition.
Annual budgets will be fixed in order to provide necessary expenditure for S&T policies in the Second Basic Plan, on the precondition that effective resource allocation will be prioritized by observing the effects of S&T system reform, the prospects for revenue for R&D, social and economic trends, the requirements of S&T promotion, and worsening fiscal conditions.
Top funding priority will go towards the main subjects listed in Chapter 2, namely, R&D to solve national/social problems, enhance competitive environments, and enrich S&T bases. In parallel, to spend the funds effectively and efficiently, unnecessary overlapping and deleterious sectionalism among policies, systems, and organizations will be eliminated, and the quality of R&D activities will be upgraded by goal setting for definite clarification of R&D effects, disclosure of R&D realities, accountability among researchers to explain their own R&D results, and strict evaluation of S&T policies/projects. Moreover, other financial resources will be obtained by introducing private funds, setting off properties by sale, and so forth.
Chapter 2 Important Policies
Based on the basic policies, three important policy themes are now adopted:
- strategic priority setting in S&T
- S&T system reform to encourage outstanding achievement
- internationalization of S&T activities
I. Strategic Prioritization in S&T
Japan will promote R&D activities that concur with policy priorities in resolving national and social issues, such as the enhancement of international competitiveness, or countermeasures against environmental problems or aging and the low-birth-rate society, in order to pursue the establishment and maintenance of an affluent, comfortable, and safe society. Japan will also deal with newly emerging S&T fields that are expected to be developed rapidly in the future, with appropriate foresight and maneuverability.
At the same time, Japan will secure proper resources to promote of basic research. Because discoveries in R&D might bring breakthroughs, and basic research and industrial applications have been rapidly drawing closer together.
1. Promotion of Basic Research
Basic research, i.e., research that seeks to find new rules and principles, to build up creative theories, and to discover unknown phenomena, expands the compendium of human intellectual assets and leads to unprecedented R&D breakthroughs and innovative industrial technologies. Japan will attach more importance to basic research and promote it broadly, steadily, and continuously.
At universities in particular, Japan must promote basic research in a wide variety of fields, in line with enhanced training of excellent researchers and technical experts.
To upgrade R&D levels, research should be carried out in competitive environments based on fair and transparent evaluation. Research outcomes will be evaluated primarily from a scientific point of view.
Among research borne of original ideas, projects that require especially large amounts of resources will be evaluated to assess their potential to yield innovative knowledge, to generate distinguished research internationally and to share international roles appropriately. To effectively and efficiently promote the projects assessed most favorably, extensive resources will be allocated intensively in consideration of views of researchers in various fields and total balance among basic researches including competitive research funds. Further, adequate explanations on the significance and expected outcomes of projects will be requisite for the public's understanding.
With regard to the results of research, researchers must target the acquisition of intellectual property rights, as well as publish theses.
2. Prioritization of R&D on national/social issues
To promise the people a safe and comfortable life, with an economy and industries sufficiently activated to secure sustainable economic development, Japan must promote R&D through positive and strategic investment in prioritized areas. In promoting S&T fields instrumental in the realization of Japan's visions, Japan will adhere to three general policy priorities:
Creating knowledge that engenders new developments (enhancement of intellectual assets)
Promoting sustainable growth in world markets, improving industrial technologies, and creating new industries and employment (economic effects)
Improving people's health and quality of life, enhancing national security, disaster prevention, etc. (social effects)
In the selection of specific S&T fields, priority will go to the following four:
- 1) Life sciences-which resolve food shortages and prevent/treat disease in Japan's aging and low-birth-rate society
- 2) Information and communication Technologies-which are advancing rapidly and are vital to the building of an advanced IT network society and fosterage of IT and other high-tech industries
- 3) Environmental sciences-which are indispensable for human healthcare and conservation of the living environment, as well as sustained foundations of human existence
- 4) Nanotechnology and materials-which disseminate into a broad range of fields and help Japan maintain its technological edge
R&D resources will be intensively allocated to all of the above.
In promoting R&D, peripheral fields or fields that may appear irrelevant should not be excluded, as new S&T fields are frequently borne of combinations of different fields, with the rapid advancement of S&T and its further specialization.
The following pages focus primarily on the roles of government, while R&D on national/social issues should be promoted in public-private collaboration.
(1) Life sciences
Some like to call the 21st century the "Century of Life." A thorough understanding of the nature of life is expected to propel the progress of medical science and lead to new solutions to food shortages, the environment, and other global scale issues. In a society such as Japan's, an aging society with fewer children, the life sciences are key to actualizing healthy, active, and comfortable lives.
While Japan compares favorably with the United States and Europe in some R&D fields in the life sciences, for example, the Rice Genome, specific microbe genome analysis, and livestock cloning techniques, as a whole Japan is still behind. For instance, the United States leads the world in both national research programs in the life sciences, under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health and venture business activities. European countries are second to none in research on Alzheimer's disease and the technology used to develop genome-information databases.
A draft sequence of the Human Genome was made public in February of this year. Genome information on various species has advanced very rapidly in recent years, and this information is expected to set a foundation for a wide range of more advanced research. In view of its situation, Japan must work selectively and strategically in the newly emerging fields of the advanced life sciences, such as post-genomic research. Specifically, Japan will focus on the following:
Genome science: to promote proteomics, the elucidation of the three-dimensional structures of proteins and genetic markers of disease and drug reactions, and the development of new medicines, tailor-made medicines, and functional foods based on such technologies
cellular biology: to advance organ transplantation and regenerative medicine
clinical medicine and medical technology: to foster practical medical uses of R&D results
food S&T: to advance biotechnologies that contribute to food security and promote a healthy diet, as well as sustainable food production
brain science: to elucidate brain functions, to control cerebral development disorders and aging, to overcome neurotic diseases, and to develop information-processing and communications systems by applying principles that underlie the functioning of the brain
- bioinformatics: to support the aforementioned technological advances, by analyzing the tremendous amounts of gene-related data they yield, through the use of information/communications technologies
To promote the life sciences, Japan must implement basic R&D in basic science fields, training and securing of researchers and technicians required in merging fields, maintenance and widespread utilization of an intellectual infrastructure that includes biological genetic resources, action against international problems relating to patents, safety checks from a scientific point of view, promotion of public understanding in biology, and formulation of ethical guidelines relating to biological R&D.
(2) Information and Communication Technologies
R&D progress in the field of information and communication technologies (hereafter referred to as "IT") is very important for the creation and expansion of knowledge-intensive industries such as IT industries and high-tech industries, as well as for enhancing innovations in existing industries such as manufacturing technologies. Newly realized and diffused systems for electronic commerce, electronic governance, telecommuting, telemedicine, and distance-education/learning will have a great impact upon socio-economic activities in Japan at all levels, from everyday life to industrial production. Advances in IT will continue to be an important factor in Japan's ongoing efforts to secure safe and comfortable people's life.
Japan is thought to hold a competitive edge over Europe and the United States in R&D in IT fields, especially in mobile-phone systems, optical communications technology, and IT terminals. The United States, however, leads the world in both software technologies and strategies for de facto global standardization of PCs and related technologies.
In view of the great variety of needs in this field, as well as the rapid innovations of the technologies, Japan will promote its R&D with flexibility. It will also be important to promote R&D in the technologies required to realize an advanced IT network society in which people can make full and creative use of their capabilities by freely sending, receiving, and sharing information. Specifically, Japan will focus on the following:
advanced network technology that enables all network activities to be performed safely, at any time, at any place, and without stress
high-performance computing technology that enables rapid analyzing, processing, storing, and searching of vast amounts of distributed information
human interface technology that allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of an IT society without mastering complicated equipment and feeling stress
device technology and software technology to support the foregoing points
To promote IT R&D, Japan will emphasize fundamental and leading R&D fields that are unattainable strategically and effectively through market-motivated activities alone, while keeping close track of the variety of this field and speed of technological innovations. Private sector experts will be used to train and encourage outstanding researchers and engineers to pursue their innovative ideas through R&D. Japan will also promote institutional improvements by ensuring the privacy and security of network activities, by providing testing beds for developing technologies, by implementing activities for international standardization, and by developing education/learning programs for IT literacy that enable people to make good use of IT-related equipment and skills. Another indispensable competence will be disaster-preparedness, that is, readiness to respond to disasters stemming from computer glitches, service interruptions, or functional suspensions due to attacks on the network, poor control of information, and the digital divide.
(3) Environmental sciences
The environmental sciences are essential to preserve the natural environment, which of course includes ecologies that support the species of the planet. This forms the basis for the survival of humankind in the future, as well as a basis for protecting human health and lifestyle.
Japan's environmental R&D is on par with that in Europe and the United States in the struggle against global warming. In the area of global science, Japan is equal to them in measuring techniques for environmental monitoring, but behind Europe and far behind the United States in environmental monitoring itself. Japan's comprehensive evaluation and management technologies for chemical substances are at the same levels as those in Europe and the United States .
Given the limitations in Japan's land and natural resources, Japan relies heavily on the environmental sciences and must use them to become a world leader in tackling environmental problems. Specifically, Japan will focus on the following:
introduction of production systems that minimize both the input of resources and output of wastes, and technology to support recycling in society where effective use of resources and waste control are achieved by utilizing natural circulative function and bio-resources.
technology to minimize harmful chemical substances for human health and natural ecology, as well as to evaluate and manage them
technology for measures against global warming, such as forecasting global changes that affect human survival and natural ecology, evaluation of how forecast results will influence social-economy, and minimizing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Considering the need to reduce the environmental impact, comprehensive technical evaluation is requisite. In the course of conducting technical evaluation, it will also be important to develop life-cycle-assessment methods, prepare databases, and provide information for consumers.
To promote the environmental sciences, it is very difficult to evaluate the added economic value of policies. To apply the environmental measures properly into society and economy, Japan will promote global-scale environmental monitoring, the development of common basic techniques, standardization of an intellectual base on the environment, and evaluation of model projects. Japan will also introduce systems designed for environmental preservation, initial demand excavation, and environmental education programs for consumers.
(4) Nanotechnology and materials
Nanotechnology and materials science/technology are important fields that provide bases for many kinds of scientific and technological advances in the three fields aforementioned, as well as many others. Nanotechnology is expected to lead to breakthroughs in all S&T fields in the 21st century.
+ Materials science/technology
In the area of materials science/technology, Japan's R&D is more advanced than that in Europe and the United States, insofar as existing materials are concerned.
Materials science/technology will provide the wherewithal for tremendous leaps in a wide variety of other fields. Ongoing investment in R&D in materials science and technology will help Japan retain its leadership position in technological innovation in these fields. Specifically, Japan will focus on the following:
materials science/technology for analysis of material structures and forms, surfaces, and interfaces in the order of atomic/molecular size, which will be applicable to IT, medical science, etc.
materials science/technology to develop energy and environmental applications for recycling, resource saving, and reduced energy consumption
materials science/technology for creating a secured environment for living
The true value of materials lies in how they actually are used. In promoting R&D, the seeds created by researchers should be carefully tended to ensure they bear fruits that properly meet users' needs. It will be also important to apply IT methods, such as computer simulations, to promote international standardization, to improve the intellectual infrastructure, and to establish a comprehensive technique for evaluating the environment and/or security.
To promote materials science/technology, the priority in R&D should be assigned to basic/leading fields and those aiming at forms of industrialization that cannot be attained strategically or effectively through market-motivated activities alone.
Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary and comprehension S&T field that encompasses IT, the environmental sciences, life sciences, materials sciences, and so on. By manipulating atoms and molecules on a nano scale (1/1,000,000,000 m), the unique material properties in the nano world lead to novel discoveries that can be exploited to innovate technologies in other fields. Nanotechnology also provides new materials, devices, and innovative systems to fields in IT, biotechnology, medical science, and so on.
Nanotechnological R&D in Japan is on the same or a slightly higher level than that in Europe and the United States. However, other nations are rapidly formulating national policies and implementing measures to promote their research in nanotechnology. If Japan is to maintain it's technological edge in this field, it will have to gather all possible industrial, academic, and governmental knowledge on nanotechnology and approach its further development strategically. Examples of nanotechnology include: nano materials that have extremely high strength, extremely low weight, and an extremely efficient luminescence that can be acquired when their material structures are controlled on the nano scale; nano information devices that realize extremely high-speed communication and information processing; nano devices in medicine that can be implanted inside patients' bodies to control, diagnose, and directly treat disease; and nanobiology techniques to observe and control various kinds of biological phenomena on the nano scale.
In promoting nanotechnology, Japan must maintain a balance between fundamental/leading research and research that aims for industrialization. It will also be important to construct a network for information exchange and collaboration among researchers in various academic fields, and to educate students and young researchers on the newly emerging branches of nanotechnology that involve various academic fields.
In addition to the four areas mentioned hereinbefore, there are other four areas: energy, manufacturing technology, infrastructure, and frontier. These are fundamental areas for the nation's existence, hence R&D on these fields should be promoted by the government at a national level.
The energy supply is not expected to be secure in the future. To attain a maximum level of energy security, Japan will realize a safe and stable energy demand structure that relies less on fossil fuels and encompasses mechanisms to combat global warming and increase energy efficiency.
Examples include: fuel cells, solar power generation, new energy sources such as biomass, energy saving technologies, nuclear fusion technologies, innovative atomic-energy technologies, and technologies for nuclear safety.
(6) Manufacturing technology
Manufacturing technology is the very source of Japan's economic power. Many of Japan's high-precision machining technologies are unavailable anywhere else in the world, attesting to the extremely high level of the nation's manufacturing technologies. It is important to develop new innovative technologies, based on the advanced standards already set.
Examples include: high-precision technologies, fine-parts processing technologies, high-value-added advanced technologies such as micro-machines, environmentally friendly technologies, quality assurance/safety technologies for manufacturing sites, advanced manufacturing technology (especially using innovative technologies based on IT or bio principles), and medical/welfare apparatus technologies.
The field of "Infrastructure" is the basic framework for supporting the people's life. S&T in this field includes the development of disaster prevention / mitigation technologies; crisis management technologies; the development of transport systems such as automobiles, ships, airplanes and railways; geographic information systems; and the production and management of fresh water. The government promotes R&D on infrastructure to reduce social risks and improve quality of life.
Examples include: the science and technology of crisis control and management technology, such as emergency communications and prevention / mitigation of earthquake disasters; and information technology-related infrastructure developments such as Intelligent Transport Systems.
"Frontier" is a cutting-edge S&T field to explore unclaimed regions that are hoped to become new frontiers of human activities, for example, outer space and the ocean. The purpose of R&D in this category is to improve quality of life through the use of such technologies as the followings: space technologies that include utilizing space for satellite-based telecommunications and earth observation with satellites; and oceanic technologies that take advantage of the vast resources of the oceans.
Examples include: space development to contribute to the growth of the advanced information technology society; ocean development leading to the utilization of untapped natural resources.
3. Focus on emerging fields
In a new age where mobility and speed are required, the CSTP will continuously examine and promptly review the areas and targets to be prioritized. In concert with rapid intellectual accumulation, new ways of thinking, and technological development in recent years, mergers of different fields and new-born S&T realms have been becoming more common. The most recent examples include: nanotechnology covering materials science, IT, life sciences, and the environmental science; bio-informatics as a merger of life sciences and IT technology using developed computer processing and accumulated genetic information; newly emerging systematic biology; and nanobiology. Many other realms are forecasted to appear in the years to come. When a new realm appears on the horizon and shows the prospect for tremendous growth and advancement, CSTP should step in to facilitate the process.
II. S&T system reforms
An S&T system is a mechanism in which resources are invested on the basis of social understanding/agreement, human resources are developed, a necessary infrastructure is constructed, R&D is activated, and the results are enjoyed by society. Accordingly, the system comprises four major parts: an R&D system, a training system for S&T related personnel, maintenance of facilities for promoting S&T, and an interface between industry and society. In order to upgrade S&T activities and accelerate social restorations, Japan will reform its S&T system while expanding its investment through the following initiatives: enriching its human resources and infrastructure, conducting high-quality R&D, generating world-class achievements, transferring them to industry and society, and explaining these activities to the public.
1. R&D system reforms
(1) Building an R&D system that generates excellent results
1) Establishment of a competitive R&D environment
Creative R&D activities are promoted in a competitive environment to ensure that all the capabilities of personnel are being fully applied in every phase. Such a competitive environment is encouraged not only within research organizations but also through the researchers' acquisition of competitive, outside funds.
(a) Increasing the amount of competitive funds
Funds received on a competitive basis will be increased continually. Taking the United States as a model-the United States leads the world in the use of competitive funds for S&T-the amount of competitive research funds will be doubled over the period of the Second Basic Plan. And to make the best use of the funds, the following reform actions, focusing on evaluation, will be essential.
- For evaluation of R&D themes, the system and operation of funds should be improved to clarify the ideas and abilities of individual researchers. For instance, the number of projects conducted by single researchers in cooperation with post-doctoral fellows and research assistants should be greatly increased. In the case of group projects, the responsibilities of collaborating researchers should be divided according to individual expertise.
- To attain valid results, each project should be granted a necessary and sufficient amount of funds, and its planned duration should range from 3-5 years.
- An interim and a follow-up evaluation should be properly conducted to assess the fund operation. The interim evaluation may recommend expansion, reduction, or suspension of the project, as well as an extension of the project period to achieve a better outcome. In addition, the judgments of the interim and follow-up evaluation will be utilized to make preliminary evaluations for the next competition. These evaluations will be helpful for the overall development of effective R&D activities in the long-term. They should also be used to assure that funds are applied fairly, particularly with respect to researchers who have relatively less experience.
- Every evaluation should properly disclose all information on procedures, checkpoints, processes, and results to the researchers of the project.
- Evaluations should be conducted in a systematic way using an adequate budget and full-time experts who have themselves made substantial contributions to R&D.
- In order to conduct a fair and transparent evaluation that properly accounts for each researcher's performance, a database of results and project progress should be established using information supplied periodically by the researchers themselves.
- Each ministry distributing competitive funds must allow a maximum number of researchers to apply.
- The research organization should be in charge of the account for research funds, including, in principle, competitive funds directly distributed to individual researchers.
- Objectives of the competitive funds operated by each ministry should be clarified, and all programs and systems related to the competitive funds should be properly integrated.
(b) Allocating funds for indirect expenses
As a result of the expansion of competitive funds, direct expenses for R&D have been increasing. To utilize funds effectively and efficiently, it is necessary to pay the administrative expenses of the research organizations managing the projects. For this reason, a set portion of the acquired research funds should be allocated for the indirect expenses incurred by the research organizations.
Taking the United States model as a reference, this rate will be set at 30% of the total acquired research funds, but may be changed upon review of the R&D system operation.
Indirect expenditures shall be used to improve the researchers' R&D environment and the organization's overall function, and an organization which has acquired several competitive funds is expected to utilize its total funds for indirect expenses efficiently and flexibly. This use of indirect expenses will promote competition among research organizations and upgrade the quality of research; however, the records of expenditure must be reported to the fund-distributing agencies to maintain transparency.
With regard to national universities, a special accounting mechanism should be arranged to allocate funds for indirect expenses to those universities that acquire competitive funds.
(c) Handling basic expenses
In conjunction with the projected doubling of competitive funds, the use of basic expenses should be examined so as to ensure a competitive R&D environment. In this context, the following should be assured:
- The basic expenditures for academic research should include funds to promote education and support the university's administration.
- The accumulated administrative costs for researchers should include expenditures for administrative operation of the research institutes.
2) Mobilization of human resources using fixed-term appointments
The tenure system-under which permanent R&D positions are granted to young researchers based on their performance during fixed-term appointments-is regarded as the principle source of R&D vitality in the United States. To realize such a vital R&D environment in Japan, efforts will be made to promote fixed-term appointments in which researchers can work in a competitive environment until their mid-30s. Also, to help researchers obtain a job corresponding to their talents and abilities, Japan will popularize recruitment and mobility of human resources on an apply-and-review basis in industry, academia, and government. It is highly important to formulate a market mechanism that meets the needs of both researchers and research organizations. For this reason:
- Governmental R&D organizations, such as national research institutes, independent administrative institutions, and national universities, should employ young researchers until their mid-30s under a fixed-term appointment, and provide job opportunities widely and fairly to talented and capable researchers on an apply-and-review basis of recruitment in principle. Governmental R&D organizations should issue guidelines for fixed-term appointments and apply-and-review basis recruitment. Implementation of such systems will be a checkpoint for evaluating the organizations.
- Although the period of the present fixed-term appointment for young researchers is less than three years, this period may be too short to attain the objective. In order to provide sufficient and various R&D opportunities, the organizations should secure at least five years for young researchers to work intensively, should permit reappointment under certain conditions, and should endeavor to treat researchers fairly according to their achievements and abilities. At the universities, policies should be revised so as to introduce talent-based treatment of lecturers, including fixed-termed appointments.
- In order to increase the mobility and range-of-experience of researchers, communication and cooperation must be enhanced among the industrial, academic, and government sectors. And to help researchers secure career paths not only in R&D but also in government or industry according to their interests, a system should be developed for dispatching post-doctoral fellows and young researchers to companies and government ministries.
3) Independence of young researchers
Young researchers should be encouraged to work independently, developing their self-reliance and making the most of their own instincts and capabilities. To this end:
- The positioning of assistant professors should be reviewed and, if needed, restructured to promote their autonomy in R&D. At the same time, in order to draw out the full abilities of researchers, the R&D support system should be reinforced and efforts made to encourage young researchers to be creative and have a broad perspective.
- Sufficient R&D space in research organizations should be provided for gifted young researchers.
- Research funds for young researchers should be expanded in conjunction with the doubling of competitive research funds, and applications by aggressive young researchers should be promoted in the competitive funds in general.
- Awards should be increased to young researchers whose work yields especially fruitful results.
In the case of post-doctoral fellows working under research advisors, a plan to support 10,000 post-doctoral fellows has been adopted, and has led to an improved environment for intensive and independent research. In the future, the post-doctoral fellowship system should be substantially improved with emphasis on the following: allocating funds to research advisors so that they can secure post-doctoral fellows themselves; treating post-doctors fairly according to their abilities; dispatching post-doctoral fellows to ministries or companies; assuring adequate support for especially gifted doctorial students; and a full system review.
4) Reform of evaluation systems
Evaluations of R&D have been conducted in accordance with The National Guidelines on the Method of Evaluation for Governmental R&D (hereinafter referred to as the National Guidelines on Evaluation), and Japan will reform the evaluation system for the competitive R&D environment and effective/efficient resource allocation in consideration of:
- Securing fairness and transparency of evaluations, and assuring that the results of the evaluations are reflected in the resource allocation;
- Securing the necessary resources for evaluations and arranging a system for the implementation and support of evaluation.
During implementation, systematic and efficient evaluations should be conducted for R&D themes, R&D organizations, and researchers' achievements.
The National Guidelines of Evaluation should themselves be revised with the following emphases:
(a) Securing fairness and transparency of evaluations, and reflecting evaluations into resource allocation
The evaluation of R&D themes should be conducted flexibly according to the subject or field of each project. In particular, evaluations of R&D projects according to policy objectives should be conducted by independent experts. In the preliminary evaluations, the checkpoints should be social/economic significance and effectiveness, and the clearness of the goals; in the interim/follow-up evaluations, the checkpoint should be progress against the implementation plan. In the case of R&D using competitive funds, peer reviews should be performed by highly qualified individuals to verify that the scientific and technological progress is original and forward-thinking, and to evaluate the quality of R&D according to international standards. Results of the follow-up evaluations should be referred to the next preliminary evaluation of the same applicant's projects by the same or other competitive funds.
In addition to the preliminary, interim, and follow-up evaluations, each ministry should conduct a tracking evaluation of the spin-off effect and impact of R&D results, and then should verify previous evaluations. Moreover, the R&D systems and their operations should be evaluated in terms of effectiveness and efficiency in obtaining the objectives.
R&D organizations should be evaluated according to their organizational operation and their successful implementation of R&D to obtain their objectives. Organizational operation should be evaluated according to the performance for the organizational objectives or improvement of the R&D environment, under the discretion and the resources granted to the director. R&D implementation should be thoroughly evaluated according to both R&D themes done in the organization and the achievements of member researchers. Because the success of the R&D organization is a reflection of its leadership, this evaluation will also serve to evaluate the director of the R&D organization.
The performance evaluations of the researchers should be performed by the R&D organizations, and the director of the organizations should arrange the rules for evaluations and perform them responsibly. Versatile standards should be used in order to evaluate R&D and related activities, such as the contributions to society, and those activities with high grades in terms of any of these standards should be highly evaluated.
In order to secure fairness and transparency in implementing the evaluation, an objective evaluation index and external evaluations should be introduced, and evaluators should disclose their methods, standards and processes of evaluation. Further, the results of the evaluation should reflect the resource allocation, such as the continuation, expansion, reduction or suspension of the project, and the treatment of researchers.
In addition, as to universities, attention should be paid to academic autonomy and the combined function of education and R&D. And education, R&D, contributions to society, and the organizational operation of universities should be evaluated externally by the National Institution for Academic Degrees.
(b) Securing required resources and arranging a system for the implementation and support of evaluation
Because evaluation is indispensable for effective and efficient S&T promotion, required resources should be secured and a system for the implementation and support of evaluation should be arranged.
- Due to the shortage of full-time, highly qualified evaluators, a portion of R&D funds should be allotted for assessing and securing veteran evaluation researchers either from Japan or abroad.
- In order to select appropriate evaluators and to evaluate each project reliably and universally, a national database of researchers, funds, evaluators, and results should be established.
- Computing systems should be introduced to rationalize and improve the system for the implementation and support of evaluation.
5) Flexible, effective, and efficient management of R&D systems
(a) Securing flexibility and efficiency in executing the R&D budget
Because R&D projects are generally several years in duration, they often cannot proceed as originally planned. For this reason, the governmental R&D budget should be executed flexibly and efficiently in accordance with the progress of the project, such as by using special budgets that can be carried forward into the fiscal year.
At the same time, competitive funds should be budgeted from the beginning of the fiscal year using smooth accounting procedures.
(b) Promoting a flexible working style
In order to fairly employ and evaluate researchers and thereby inspire their best performance, administrative institutions must be free to work with autonomy and discretion in the manner of private companies, promote the independence and performance of researchers, and consider developing leave of absence systems.
6) Utilization of qualified persons and development of a variety of career paths
(a) Expanding opportunities for gifted foreign researchers
It is important to provide an environment in which talented foreign researchers can engage in R&D activities competitively. For example, public institutes might employ young foreign researchers according to a fellowship scheme, based on their abilities and achievements, and competitive research funds could be arranged to enable foreign researchers working in Japan to submit an application in English.
(b) Improving the environment for women researchers
In order to attain a gender-equal society, the job opportunities and working environment for women researchers should be improved. In particular, to help sustain the abilities of female researchers during maternity leave, as well as to encourage their return after maternity leave, various forms of support should be provided, such as work-at-home and limited-period positions, and special funds relating to their research.
(c) Developing a variety of career paths
A variety of career paths should be developed so that researchers can engage in a wide range of jobs, such as R&D planning/management, evaluation of R&D, and development of intellectual property rights. For young researchers to widen their work possibilities in the future, job opportunities in the government should be increased, and funding agencies should adopt individuals with research experience. In the private sector, companies are expected to employ capable young researchers, such as doctors and post-doctoral fellows.
7) Realization of creative R&D systems
To accomplish the reforms mentioned above and to realize creative R&D systems, major R&D organizations should be managed with flexibility and mobility under the director's leadership, and centers of excellence should be established.
Such R&D systems can be developed from existing R&D organizations by reforming the management and introducing novel methods that emphasize the abilities and achievements of researchers.
Moreover, new ideal R&D organizations comparable to top-level R&D organizations in Europe and the United States should be established in prioritized areas and emerging fields, without restricting existing organizational management. These organizations should focus on generating world-class R&D achievements with special emphasis on the following points:
-limiting the term of the organization;
-establishing a clear separation between the organizational and the R&D managers, and appointing experienced professionals to both positions;
-establishing a department for assisting in adequate management of R&D, technological support, and management of R&D achievements;
-promoting young researchers, including employment of post-doctoral fellows;
-appointing foreign researchers;
-promoting the participation of industry, academia, and government;
-allocating funds and treating employees according to their R&D abilities and achievements;
-managing funds flexibly;
-using English as the common language for R&D;
-establishing facilities based on international standards.
(2) Promotion and reform of R&D in major organizations
1) Universities and other academic institutions
Universities are required to play a number of significant roles in R&D systems, including educating and securing excellent human resources, encouraging international academic cooperation, and generating new discoveries to help unlock the future.
However, universities in Japan have often been criticized for their poor educational functions, excessively specialized fields of education, and exclusiveness or inflexibility of organizational management.
From the viewpoint of activation, qualification, and individualization of education/research in universities, the government has recently promoted numerous university reforms, such as presenting a national policy for universities, increasing the number of graduate courses, establishing an advisory committee with external members in all national universities, and establishing a National Institution for Academic Degrees. From this point forward, although the government will continue to promote institutional reforms to help universities establish their independence and operate more flexibly and autonomously, individual universities will also be expected to promote their own operational and educational reforms.
To this end, each university is expected to promote a systematic undergraduate education that fosters a spirit of inquiry, and to establish graduate schools as innovative bases of R&D and education that will be both competitive with and attractive to international researchers. Organizational flexibility will be needed to predict social/economic trends and to follow them autonomously, which is a key subject for national universities operating under the restrictions of public institutions. Universities should conduct strict self-evaluations and make their results fully available. When presenting their results, universities should reflect on their managerial reforms and educational and research activities. In this way, and through their wide presence in Japan, it is hoped that universities will form regional academic cores in cooperation with local governments and private companies. In addition, universities should intensify cooperation and collaboration with other R&D organizations or private companies in order to activate a variety of educational/research initiatives and elevate the university generally.
(a) National universities and other public universities
National universities and national research institutes should function as independent administrative institutions by promoting organizational reforms to be carried out autonomously under the president's leadership. And graduate schools, especially prominent ones, should vary and specialize their education and research.
Public universities are required to provide a high-level education for their geographic region and to contribute to studies for regional development, thereby intensifying both their educational/research functions and their unique regional contributions.
(b) Private universities
Private universities, which together account for 80% of student enrollment in Japan, have been enhancing their role in higher-education by asserting a unique educational philosophy. They are expected to continue to upgrade their education and research while maintaining their autonomy as private institutions. To assist them, the granting of special funds and the acquisition of private sources of funding should be prioritized.
2) National research institutes and other institutes
National research institutes, independent administrative research institutes, and public corporations have a mission to accomplish policy objectives. To this end, they have conducted prioritized R&D, including basic/innovative researches for S&T progress in Japan and systematic/integral researches with concrete objectives to meet policy needs. Public research institutes in all prefectures have played important roles in technological development and analysis to meet the needs of local industries and communities. With the ever-increasing socio-economic expectations for S&T in Japan, these institutions are expected to continue yielding excellent results and making unique contributions to society. Special emphasis will be placed on the following activities in particular:
-National research institutes, independent administrative research institutes, and public corporations should execute R&D according to their own objectives, such as R&D on national/social needs, basic researches for future development, etc. These organizations should intensify their cooperation with universities and private companies, in order to more effectively industrialize and disseminate R&D results.
-Public research institutes are expected to contribute to industrial development based on the characteristics of their respective regions. These institutes should increase their efforts to transfer their basic and leading achievements to regional industries and see them commercialized locally.
Research institutes that will become independent administrative institutions should operate their organizations flexibly, generate and utilize outstanding R&D results, and place special emphasis on the following:
--expanding the discretion of their directors-general, managing R&D funds flexibly, and positively utilizing the results;
--conducting R&D using both outside funds and the budgets from their respective ministries;
--appointing top-notch researchers and treating employees according to their abilities under the discretion of their directors-general; --seeking the advice of the National Personnel Authority in regard to R&D suspension and the appointment of fixed-term and other researchers.
3) Private companies
(a) Promoting R&D by private companies
R&D by private companies is a vitally important complement to governmental R&D. In order to promote it, the government should apply incentives which stimulate private companies to help themselves, such as tax reforms to promote R&D investments, and grant and loan systems that reduce the risks inherent in R&D. At the same time, systems for R&D for economic growth should be reviewed with an eye toward increased efficiency and effectiveness.
And the government should allow researchers or research organizations to hold/utilize the rights to patents generated from government-funded researches.
(b) Promoting the mobility of capable researchers
In order to promote the mobility of researchers in Japan, private companies are expected to employ capable young researchers, such as doctors and post-doctoral fellows.
2. Reinforcement of industrial technology and reform of industry-academia-government collaboration
In a competitive environment fueled by the market mechanism, R&D results become widely disseminated in the form of usable properties or services. The role of industrial technology is to serve as a bridge between intellectual properties and the economy-i.e., people's everyday lives. In order to reinforce industrial technology, certain S&T reforms are indispensable. Central among them is reform of the collaboration among industry, academia, and the government. A technological innovation system should be established in which industrial/academic/governmental collaboration can be promoted and innovative assets and services can be generated at the same time. This will require removing the invisible walls among the three sectors, such as by utilizing academic achievements in industry and transmitting industrial needs to public research organizations.
(1) Reform of systems of information distribution and human resource exchange
Today, when private companies in Japan are increasingly outsourcing their basic R&D to research organizations across the globe, it is more important than ever to formulate a common understanding between private companies and public research organizations, and to promote collaboration among Japanese industries, academic institutions, and government. Industry must present its needs, and public research organizations must promote R&D in consideration of these needs. Specifically:
- Public research organizations should strengthen their ability to disseminate information on their research systems, achievements and human resources by preparing or improving their database.
- Public research organizations should promote collaboration with industries through personnel exchanges, such as by proactively employing researchers from private companies, in order to accurately reflect the economic needs of society through their R&D topics. Public research organizations should also periodically hold meetings in which both sectors can exchange information on the latest R&D trends and requirements, and secure and train personnel to promote their collaboration. Joint-research centers and technology licensing offices should promote free exchange of information. Through these activities, public research organizations can rise to meet current economic, social, and socio-economic challenges.
- To stimulate incentives for private companies, public research organizations should simplify their procedures for joint or entrusted researches, cost estimation, reports, etc. such as by implementing organizations, cost estimations, reports, etc. And private funds for public research organizations should be made available for the indirect expenses of those organizations.
- In regard to competitive funds, workers in the industrial sector should be involved in the theme selection or interim/follow-up evaluations, and should be appointed as managers of industry-academia collaborative projects, in order to appropriately convey economic/social needs to the direction of R&D.
- Because there are strong economic/social needs with regard to international standardization, not only basic but also practical cooperative researches should be conducted.
(2) Improvement of environment of technological transfer from public research organizations to industry
(a) Promoting technological transfer of public research organizations
In order to promote technological transfer from public research organizations to industry, it is important to strengthen systematic measures for the collaboration. Particularly in universities, the function of joint research centers should be functionally enhanced by appropriate inter-faculty personnel exchanges. Technology licensing organizations should be utilized independently to commercialize R&D results in public research organizations.
Moreover, activity records of industry-academia-government collaboration should be regarded as one of the factors used to evaluate research organizations or researchers.
(b) Promoting patent management by public research organizations
Each public research organization should establish a mechanism to commercialize useful R&D results.
- During the period of the First Basic Plan, assignment of patent rights to individual researches has been promoted, in order to enhance incentives of researchers and to accelerate transfer of researchers with patent rights. And although the number of patent rights assigned to individual researchers has increased, the number of commercially applied patents has not necessarily been enhanced. In order that R&D results be applied more effectively and efficiently for commercial purposes, patent rights management should generally be shifted from individual to organizational.
- Research organizations should be equipped with functions for acquisition, management, and application of patent rights. And technology licensing organizations should support those functions of research organizations.
- Turning to organizational patent management, a system should be developed such that patent fees will be properly shared with the corresponding inventors. Even when researchers change employers, the inventor's privileges should be taken into consideration.
These reforms should first be introduced in independent administrative institutions, and then considered for universities and other institutions. In light of globalization relating to patents, public research organizations should also be encouraged to acquire patents not only in Japan but also in foreign countries.
(3) Promoting commercialization of the R&D results of public research organizations
R&D results of public research organizations, attained in joint researches with private companies or sponsored researches by private companies, should be applied to commercialization. The motivation of private companies to participate in joint research will be enhanced by promoting transfer of R&D results to private companies. Accordingly, the results of R&D attained in joint or sponsored researches should be transferred to the companies concerned. In particular, this should be accomplished by transferring government-owned patents to private companies or technology licensing organizations, and by granting exclusive licenses of government-owned patents to private companies or technology licensing offices. To realize these goals, public research organizations should be encouraged to assign their R&D results, by the contracts at discretion, to the companies concerned or to the TLOs authorized under the Law for Promoting Research Results of Universities to Private Companies (1998, Law No. 52), or to make contracts of the assignment with TLOs on a deferred payment basis.
In personnel matters, researchers in public research organizations should utilize the personnel systems to allow simultaneous employment with the companies concerned or employment suspension. The government should permit their engagements of study or instruction in private companies. These treatments will enable human resources in public research organizations to play an active part in society, so that technology transfer can be promoted.
(4) Environment for activating high-technological venture enterprises
The environment for activating venture enterprises in Japan has been improved in regard to both capital and human resources. Nonetheless, further measures should be conducted in consideration of the relative disfavor for entrepreneurship, the difficulty for securing initial risk money, and the individual risks of failure. In particular:
- Universities should foster human resources of entrepreneurial spirit, as by establishing courses that invite entrepreneurs or venture capitalists to appear as lecturers, etc. Graduate schools should enrich special education courses to improve capital/legal skills, and to promote joint researches with venture enterprises through joint research centers.
- Regional public research organizations should establish better cooperation with regional venture enterprises by functioning as coordinators, securing mobility of human resources, and promoting cooperative projects for industry-academia-government collaboration.
- The government should improve its system for promoting innovation and R&D by small and medium enterprises, particularly by positively utilizing the institution of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR).
- Finally, the government should review its present legislation on stock-options, stock companies, and bankruptcy.
3. Regional improvement of the S&T Promotion environment
Economic/social globalization and rapid progress and dissemination of IT have been affecting individual regions directly, and local industries are now exposed not only to domestic competition, but also to global competition. At the same time, S&T achievements afford local companies a chance to establish businesses in the international market quickly and easily.
Regional R&D resources/potentials can be utilized to upgrade and vary S&T in Japan, as well as to revitalize the Japanese economy through regional technical innovation and creation of new industries.
(1) Establishment of regional "intellectual clusters"
The "intellectual cluster" is a regional system of technological innovations in which a public research organization uses its R&D potential and other unique abilities to lead companies in and around a particular region.
More specifically, by utilizing a human resource network and systematic collaborative researches, the system fosters interaction between the original technological seeds of the public research organization and the business needs of regional companies to create a chain of technological innovations and new industries. Within such a system, regional development can lead to world-class technological innovations. It is thus imperative that Japan establish and support intellectual clusters in as many regions as possible.
In order to establish the intellectual clusters effectively and efficiently, the government should promote various R&D activities, including collaborative researches, human resource training/securing, and technological transfer functions, etc.
And public research organizations-including both national and independent administrative institutions-should develop their R&D functions in the region in cooperation with the local government.
(2) Implementation of regional S&T policies
In order to realize a range of S&T development, it is important that public research organizations within a particular region, e.g., universities, develop their original potentials and commercialize the results.
For this purpose, several S&T policies should be adopted within each region, such as the securing of professional coordinators to judge/apply technologies and the promoting of interregional technological transfers.
The local government should work together with public research organizations-such as national universities within a particular region-to regionally promote industry-academia-government collaboration.
4. S&T human resource development and S&T educational reforms
(1) Education of researchers and engineers, and reform of universities and other institutions
The education of talented researchers and engineers is crucial to S&T system reform. As the very core of S&T education, the universities must endeavor to reform themselves.
Therefore, in order to be internationally competitive, universities should upgrade the quality of education/research to cultivate researchers and engineers who are creative and have expert skills and training. In addition, universities should accelerate both self-evaluation and external evaluation, and should fully disclose the results.
(a) Graduate schools
To ensure that students learn to think and perform logically within the context of a systematic education, and that their course-work strengthens their ability to research independently, graduate schools must elevate and diversify their education and research. At the same time, in order to produce the human resources needed in academic and industrial S&T in Japan, universities must enrich their education and research to foster students with a wide vision and a good balance of core skills and application abilities. To this end, universities should plan special lectures featuring experts in the private sector, and should sponsor courses for emerging S&T fields, etc.
To promote rapid S&T progress through world-class education and research, the government should equitably evaluate graduate schools and establish centers-of-excellence and prioritized resource allocation for those schools showing exceptional innovative promise. At the same time, the government should allow a wider range of graduate courses that produce experts in particular S&T fields.
And scholarships or other financial support should be provided to help excellent students advance to doctoral work without financial stress. Those forms of support that prove especially successful in producing excellent researchers should be highly evaluated.
(b) Faculties in universities and junior colleges
Faculties in universities and junior colleges should enrich their general education curriculum in order to rapidly advance S&T through total management of the school. In technical training curricula in specialized courses, schools should attach importance to principles and theories, thereby fostering the ability of students to investigate and resolve their own subjects independently.
(c) Technical colleges and vocational schools
Technical colleges should enrich their educational contents, improve job-training courses, and review classes to meet social needs in consideration of S&T progress and industrial structural reform.
Vocational schools should elevate their educational contents to promote more practical and vocational training.
(d) High schools
High schools should fulfill the goals of a scientific education through observation and experimentation, and should promote an industrial education correspondent with changes in society.
(2) Training and securing engineers
Engineers are in a unique position to promote technological innovations and strengthen international competitiveness in Japan. To keep abreast of rapid technical developments and economical globalization, it is necessary to secure many qualified engineers who can support technological fundamentals in Japan while also working internationally.
In order to achieve this, a social system will be established to certify the engineer's qualifications in the international community. An accreditation system of engineering and science curricula will be introduced in universities, a technological management education will be established, and practical educations will be implemented. The engineer's certification system will be promoted in Japan, and efforts made so that the system can be applied internationally, including in APEC countries. To keep engineers current with the latest technological developments, continuing education will be provided by academic societies or universities. Through these educational initiatives, including registered engineer and other certifications, and continuing education, a system that consistently improves the abilities of engineers can be established.
5. Establishment of interactive channels between S&T activities and society
Over the long term, S&T can only be developed and utilized in society if people fully understand its contribution to their daily lives. Thus the support of individuals in the community is indispensable for promotion of S&T. Everyone involved in S&T must recognize the basic precept that S&T and society are synergistic and inseparable.
This is why it is necessary to establish an environment in which laypeople have a deep scientific understanding that they can apply to make rational and independent judgments.
(1) Promotion of S&T learning
In order to increase social interest in S&T, to promote a general understanding of S&T, and to foster excellent human resources engaged in S&T activities, the government will provide people with a wide background in S&T.
High school students should learn scientific ways of thinking, scientific studies, and basic principles of S&T through observation and experimentation. To this end, schools should improve their guidance of students, train teachers, introduce internships in industries, introduce working people as lecturers, promote IT education, and enrich facilities.
Universities should refine their curricula so that even students who don't major in natural science courses can attain basic competency in S&T concepts.
In social education for children and elders, compelling opportunities to study both basic S&T and the latest S&T trends should be increased through the use of schools and museums.
(2) Establishment of channels toward society
S&T can only be promoted by encouraging understanding. Therefore, research organizations should be open and museum activities should be enhanced. And S&T information should be broadcasted more frequently through the mass media. At the regional level, trained S&T interpreters should be provided to explain S&T concepts to individuals in the community, as well as to convey the S&T-related opinions of individuals back to researchers and engineers.
In addition, researchers themselves should continuously evolve their understanding of the relationship between S&T and society, so that they can work on R&D activities with society in mind and even make suggestions to solve social problems based on their S&T knowledge.
6. Ethics and responsibility to society on S&T
S&T progress has been significantly affecting human beings and society in various ways. Bioethics are a prime example of the seriousness of ethical issues relating to S&T development. Organizations/researchers are increasingly faced with the need to address social problems. Given the present climate, the relationship between S&T and society will need to be restructured in the 21st century.
On the one hand, life science developments have widely benefited society by improving disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment. At the same time, some of the new techniques have seemed to threaten human dignity, such as in vitro fertilization followed by embryo transfer, transplantation of organs from brain-dead patients, genetic diagnosis, gene therapy, human cloning, and use of human embryonic stem cells. Reproductive cloning of human beings in particular has caused great concern among the nations of the world. In Japan, a law prohibiting reproductive cloning of human beings was adopted in November 2000.
Clearly, modern physicians and researchers should have morals. And the basic human rights of patients must be respected through the use of informed consent and enforcement of patients' privacy rights. People are also concerned about such bioethical issues as clinical tests, transplantation, and regeneration of organs. Due to their unprecedented complexity, bioethics issues should be discussed openly as a problem for all of Japan.
In the future, S&T-especially life sciences and IT-will make even greater advances that impact society in new and unexpected ways. It is thus imperative that a social consensus be reached on bioethical issues, and that this consensus be used to forge ethical rules for life science research. Furthermore, in light of increasing globalization, it is also important to promote international cooperation on bioethics. S&T activities on this matter should be directed quite carefully, through discussion among experts and polls of public opinion in a spirit of complete disclosure.
(2) Ethics of researchers and engineers
S&T has the potential to seriously impact both individuals and society.
One example is the current rash of laboratory and manufacturing-site accidents. In order to manage R&D activities properly, researchers and engineers must recognize the import of their S&T activities and their responsibility to society.
R&D activities have generally been conducted under the rules adopted by academic communities. However, as the range of R&D activities continues to increase, and the relationships between R&D activities and society continue to gain in complexity, researchers will need to elevate their ethical standards in regard to dealing with conflicts of interest in S&T, application of R&D results, financial resource allocation, etc. At the same time, researchers and engineers will need to disseminate R&D information to society in order to explain the social impact of their results.
Considering the aforementioned, in order to ensure the highest professional ethics in researchers and engineers, academic societies will need to form guidelines on ethics for researchers and engineers, and ethical issues will have to be considered in the evaluation of an engineer's certification. Here again, education for professionals should be provided not only in universities but also in academic societies through various training courses.
(3) Accountability and risk management
Research organizations and researchers should recognize their responsibility to explain the contents and results of their research. Research organizations should have open exhibitions, open lectures, information disclosure through the Internet and academic societies. Researchers should maintain interactive communications with society. To achieve all of the above, the government will provide training courses to help researchers improve their communication abilities. This will help establish closer relationships between researchers and laypeople, so that people can more deeply understand S&T and researchers can direct their R&D activities in response to people's opinions.
Organizations related to S&T should evaluate the potential risks of accidents or crises, conduct R&D activities so as to minimize potential damage, and cultivate understanding of ethical issues among their researchers and engineers.
7. Maintenance of infrastructure for S&T promotion
(1) Improvement of facilities and equipment
(a) Improving facilities of universities and national research institutes
It is essential to improve facilities for education and research because these are vital infrastructures for the 21st century.
In order to activate research and education to produce S&T human resources and generate R&D results, it is necessary to maintain world-class facilities. A world-class facility is one in which a researcher can safely and successfully devote him or herself to research and education, and which will attract students and researchers from Japan and from universities and national research institutes throughout the world. To achieve this, the government will allocate sufficient budgetary resources to solve the deterioration/congestion problems of the current facilities in universities and national research institutes.
In national universities, the necessary floor space is estimated at over 11 million square meters. During the period of the second Basic Plan, the government will make an urgent plan to improve facilities. It will then implement this plan with deliberation, in full consideration of the congestion in graduate schools, the need for centers-of-excellence, the need for revitalization of existing facilities, and so on.
Then, in view of effective/efficient use, multipurpose laboratories for plural sections will be constructed and existing facilities will be reformed and equipped. These facilities will be used flexibly under the president's leadership, in accordance with the results of self/external evaluations.
In addition, improvement of facilities in national research institutes by non-governmental organs will be promoted under the Law for Facilitating Governmental Research Exchange.
National research institutes and independent administrative institutions will establish the most up-to-date facilities to promote effective research and to generate prominent results. By receiving top priority, their deteriorated facilities will be improved promptly.
(b) Improving the equipment of universities and national research institutes
In national universities and national research institutes, advanced equipment will be made available for use in/around prioritized S&T areas and emerging S&T fields, and large-scale equipment that can accelerate R&D will be routinely used. And all necessary equipment will be regularly updated to avoid decreases in research efficiency. Technicians and funds will be secured for large or advanced equipment in order to ensure stable operation and maintenance.
(c) Improving facilities and equipment of private universities
At private universities, in order to promote research projects highly demanded by society, the government will provide grants for research, long-term and low-interest loans, and aid on loans for revitalization.
For public universities as well, support will be provided for improved education and research conditions.
(2) Enrichment of research assistance
Research assistance is an integral part of R&D and will therefore be enriched. Because the types of needed research assistance are so widely diversified, and the improvements to research environments are becoming competitive, the government will not set a unified objective for enriching research assistant activities. Rather, the government will provide the needed money for research assistant activities to individual research funds. To provide the required assistant activities for each project, personnel dispatching and business outsourcing will be utilized. And to secure assistant activities common to all researches and assistant activities requiring high-order skills, each research organization will employ assistants by indirect expenses attained through competitive research funds. These assistants will be sent directly to individual projects. Or, alternatively, public corporations that provide research funds will send the necessary assistants to individual projects.
(3) Improvement of intellectual infrastructure
As the number of problems to be solved continues to increase and the R&D subjects continue to become more complex, it is increasingly clear that advanced, original and basic R&D must be promoted in Japan, and R&D results must be smoothly utilized in economic and social activities. Accordingly, the government will strategically and systematically improve the intellectual infrastructure, including research materials such as genetic data, measuring standards, testing methods, analyzing devices, and related databases.
- The government will promote improvement of the intellectual infrastructure relating to four prioritized areas in the public/private sectors, with a goal to achieving world-class status in 2010. In the process, the government and private sectors must recognize their individual roles. While the government will maintain those portions of the intellectual infrastructure that are considered strategically important or that are related to publicity/neutrality, private companies will invest in those that will be developed by the market mechanism.
- To ensure a highly diverse intellectual infrastructure that is convenient for users, the government will establish a mechanism for fast and easy location of all needed information, and will do so with the particular needs of users in mind. In addition, the government will participate in and lead international discussions, such as discussions on measurement standardization.
- In order to provide timely additions to the intellectual infrastructure for S&T development in the future, the government will gather the results of all R&D projects in Japan.
- The government will also formulate basic legal rules on intellectual property rights, and on provision for and utilization of S&T data, in order to provide a quick response on such matters.
- Researchers and engineers will be evaluated in part on their contributions to the intellectual infrastructure.
(4) Enrichment and standardization of intellectual property rights
To promote creative intellectual activities, it is extremely important to protect intellectual property rights ('IPR' hereinafter). IPR issues have been discussed internationally, and many national IPR systems have been improved. From this point forward, however, greater efforts will need to be made with respect to IPR in Japan.
- The government will promote professional, world-class IPR services and improve the mechanisms for settling disputes on IPR issues.
- The government will promote cooperation for preliminary technological investigations with the United States and European countries, and support Asian countries on their IPR systems. The systems should be operated transparently and harmonized internationally to protect IPR of advanced technologies, such as biotechnology and IT.
For easy dissemination of R&D results in the market, technological standardization will need to be improved. With the recent expansion of cross-business fields and development of a networking society, those who control international technological standards increasingly control the world market. And it is also important in international competition to have an internationally equivalent system for certifying new products that apply new technologies. In light of the above, the government will actively contribute to the international standardization activities of the International Standardization Organization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). At the same time, the government will work to establish international rules corresponding to economic globalization. And strategic cooperative relationships for standardization with Asian and Pacific countries will be established. Together with these measures, R&D for technological standardization will be implemented, and public research organizations will take part in this standardization activity.
(5) Maintenance of the research-informational infrastructure
In step with the rapid progress towards an IT society, R&D offices have been leading the effort to improve the research-informational infrastructure by deploying computers, establishing LAN, networking between laboratories, data sharing on computer networks, and establishing electronic libraries in universities.
To extend this improvement of the research-informational infrastructure in response to IT innovations, the government will further advance and streamline R&D in Japan by using the existing infrastructure to collect and disseminate research information. Specifically, in consideration of world trends, the government will help to improve the speed and effectiveness of pending research computer networks and LAN in laboratories by introducing new technologies. Ongoing efforts will also be made to digitalize research results, academic publications, and library catalogues.
(6) Maintenance of the manufacturing infrastructure
Anxieties about Japan's manufacturing capabilities and quality control-traditionally one of the country's strong suits-have recently been increasing. Concerns include the loss of high quality manufacturing infrastructure due to a lack of technological successes, an increasing tendency to undermine manufacturing, and frequent accidents. In order to maintain and improve manufacturing capabilities, the government will take the following systematic measures.
Because manufacturing is conducted using human resources, it is important to develop and secure human resources by familiarizing children with manufacturing processes, fostering educations that cultivate creativity, and providing practical engineering training and internship opportunities. More generally, it will be necessary to enhance public understanding and respect for manufacturing. To achieve these goals, the government will promote a commendation system, such as the Prime Minister's Award, for individuals/companies who display prominent abilities in manufacturing. Moreover, the government will systematize its intellectual assets on manufacturing in order to appropriately manage costs, quality, risks, and the scope of projects. In this way, the complexities of production and automated manufacturing can be handled without any "opacity of technology". And the government will develop qualified engineers for the project management system.
The advanced techniques of highly skilled engineers will be tapped for the creation of digitalized databases/software. The government will integrate IT and manufacturing technologies into a new manufacturing system by improving product development and manufacturing processes through detailed design simulations, and by providing a next-generation infrastructure for design/manufacturing utilizing IT.
To accelerate technological innovation, it is necessary to establish a mechanism to support the intellectual working environment for engineers. To this end, the government will collect and provide an array of data, including knowledge on basic techniques in the design/manufacturing process, stories of success and failure, and technical advice from public research organizations. It should be seriously acknowledged that artificial materials and substances created in the last half of the 20th century have been applied without evaluating their environmental impact, resulting in significantly adverse effects on individual lives and the global environment. With the goal of never overlooking these effects again, long-term safety must be evaluated and health and environmental risks assessed prior to the development of new materials and substances. And these results must be continuously disclosed and repeatedly reviewed.
(7) Promotion of academic society activities
Academic societies, which have a wide range of human/knowledge resources on a par with that of public research organizations, are expected to disclose S&T information, to promote exchanges of researchers among industry-academia-government sectors and with foreign countries, to make proposals regarding S&T policies, and to play a role in R&D system reforms. The government will support academic societies so that they can enhance the above activities.
In addition, non-profit organizations, which are uniquely able to respond to social/academic needs, will also be expected to expand their activities, including their information dissemination, technology transfers, researcher exchanges, and research support. The government will help establish a non-profit environment that fosters these changes.
III. Internationalization of S&T activities
The government will internationalize Japan's S&T activities by assembling world-class researchers and ensuring a flow of vital information into Japan. This internationalization will yield excellent R&D results, as well as solutions to global problems confronting humankind. To overcome the recent drain of high-quality researchers and private research funds away from Japan, it will be necessary to establish a fascinating and open research environment in which the world's top-notch scientists feel free to gather.
1. Initiatives in International Cooperation
To target such global-scale problems as global warming, food shortages, energy shortages, fresh water management, infectious disease prevention and disaster prevention/reduction, the government will propose and conduct international cooperative projects that combine the wisdom of the world's nations, with the understanding that any results obtained must be restored to the global community. At this time the government must strengthen its partnerships with Asian countries in particular. As mentioned above, the government will also take initiatives to globally harmonize the protection/standardization of intellectual property rights. Through these positive international activities, excellent human resources will be developed to perform further high-level activities.
2. Enhancement of International Information Dissemination
In order that Japan's S&T activities be widely recognized and respected, and consequently that world-class human resources and the latest information be gathered in Japan, it is important that information on R&D results, researchers and research organizations be actively disseminated to the global community. The government should support publication of research results in English and systematic dissemination, such as the publishing of studies of global importance in cooperation with academic societies.
3. Internationalization of Domestic Research Environments
In order to internationalize Japan's domestic research environments, it is crucial that top-notch S&T professionals, including foreign researchers performing on the international stage, be encouraged to gather in Japan, compete equivalently, and play active roles. To this end:
Public research organizations will encourage gifted foreign researchers to continue their studies in Japan by properly evaluating their results and treating them according to their ability.
Public research organizations will improve conditions for foreign researchers with respect to treatment, English communication, accessibility to the international society and livability.
As for competitive research funds, the government will accept applications written in English from foreign researchers in Japan, and will promote the dissemination of R&D results in English.
In particular, the government will direct newly established public research organizations to provide such an international environment. Moreover, the government will facilitate Tsukuba Science City and Kansai Science City as international centers-of-excellence open to both Japan and the world.
At the same time, the government will expand opportunities for young Japanese researchers to study in a competitive environment of excellent overseas research institutes, and to compete and cooperate with first-rate researchers worldwide. Japanese researchers should also make efforts to extend their international network.
Chapter 3 Missions of the CSTP
1. Basic steering of S&T Policies
The CSTP will steer S&T policies in Japan with foresight and mobility, acting as a control tower under the prime minister's leadership, eliminating administrative sectionalism, and steadily implementing the policies described in the Basic Plan. The CSTP will continue to cooperate with the Council on Economy and Fiscal Policy and the Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society.
The CSTP will play an active role as a source of wisdom for integrating natural S&T and social sciences/humanities. It will cultivate a broad worldview and envision a better society for the 21st century. Ever-mindful that S&T must exist for and within society, the CSTP will consider public expectations and anxieties in regard to the positive and negative aspects of S&T, and attach greater importance to ethics and responsibilities in S&T.
2. Promotion of Research and Development in Prioritized Areas
Based on the Basic Plan, the CSTP will draw up promotion strategies for prioritized areas that define important fields, as well as for R&D targets and implementing measures, and will express its opinions to the prime minister and the other related ministers. In especially important fields, the CSTP will formulate strategies by establishing up expert panels, etc.
S&T progress has become so rapid and society so changeable that the CSTP will need to follow the latest trends in prioritized areas, gather the advice of top experts, and continuously examine its response to the needs of emerging fields. In some cases, the CSTP may need to modify its promotion strategies in prioritized areas with flexibility and mobility.
3. Policy on Resource Allocation
Based on the Basic Plan and promotion strategies in prioritized areas, the CSTP will ascertain each ministry's policies, and then evaluate the effects of implementing them, along with the harmful effects of administrative sectionalism, such as unnecessary duplication of policies. In order to realize more effective/efficient S&T activities, the CSTP should express its conclusions to the prime minister, particularly in regard to special priorities in the next fiscal year and budgets for promoting S&T activities. The CSTP should also express its opinions to related ministers about important policies and basic concepts of resource allocation in the next fiscal year. When needed, the CSTP should also cooperate with the financial sector in the budgeting process to secure appropriate resource allocation following the CSTP's basic concepts.
4. Promotion of Nationally Important Projects
In addition to the basic concepts of resource allocation described above, the CSTP should express its opinions on nationally important projects to be implemented under inter-ministry cooperation. CSTP evaluations on these projects should be made with an eye to effective and efficient implementation, such as by avoiding unnecessary duplication. Upon implementation, the CSTP should further evaluate the progress and impact of projects.
5. Settlement of National Guidelines on Important Policies
Three years have passed since the National Guideline on Evaluation was established. Accordingly, the Guideline will be immediately revised with reference to the Basic Plan. Other basic guidelines on S&T system reform, such as the mobility of researchers, should be settled as necessary.
The CSTP will evaluate nationally important and large-scale R&D projects, disclose the results of its evaluation, and express its opinions to the related ministries so that they can take steps to improve the organizations and budget allocations. The CSTP should also evaluate the S&T policies of each ministry to help develop basic policies and important concepts.
7. Follow-up of the Basic Plan
While conducting the activities mentioned above, the CSTP will follow up the progress of policies in the Basic Plan in cooperation with related ministries, and report its findings and opinions to the prime minister and related ministers as necessary. In particular, the CSTP will request that the related ministries submit implementation plans, as described in the Basic Plan, as early as possible. The CSTP will conduct the follow-ups at the end of every fiscal year, and will conduct a detailed follow-up in the fourth fiscal year to flexibly amend policies in the Basic Plan where needed.
In cooperation with related ministries, the CSTP will ascertain the actual conditions of S&T activities in both Japan and the world, including private sectors.
In addition, the CSTP will continuously examine how best to implement R&D activities in Japan.