Greeting from the Director General

Kimikazu Iwase

Kimikazu Iwase
Director General
Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX)
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)

As of April 1, 2016, I assumed the position of Director-General at the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX). About ten years ago, I was with RISTEX and had fulfilling experience by engaging in drastic revision of its operation to make the organization more suitable for the mission of RISTEX, which is contributing to solving issues in society. I am truly glad to have an opportunity to work for RISTEX again.

There are many organizations in Japan and overseas conducting research and development of science and technology with the aim of promoting the utilization ofthe results; however, the activities of RISTEX are unique in the world. RISTEX has upheld the following three principles and put them in practice.

Firstly, we set resolution of specific issues, in other words, creation of social values as the organizational goal.

Secondly, to achieve the goal, we stipulated that the basis of research and development is participation and joint work of not only researchers but also stakeholders deeply involved in the target social issues, because, with efforts of researchers alone, it is difficult to grasp actual social issues and address them using output of research and development. Also, in order to address difficult social issues, stakeholders need to proactively work on them.

Thirdly, in research and development, we focused on the use of knowledge of both natural science, and the humanities and social sciences. In tsunami damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake, it was rerecognized that reinforced efforts will be needed in the field of natural science such as earthquake and tsunami prediction and enhancement of quake resistance of buildings as well as for issues requiring viewpoints of the humanities and social sciences, such as evacuation action of local residents and land utilization system.

Over ten years have passed since RISTEX embarked on such efforts; the above three principles are often mentioned in policies on science and technology in Japan and overseas, as well as large-scale research projects. However, it is not easy to actually implement and realize these three points. As a forerunner, RISTEX has a mission to further develop the existing methods and share the experience.

Regional revitalization is now a pressing issue in Japan. To realize it, stakeholders such as local citizens need to lead various efforts utilizing local resources to create sustainable communities, with cooperation of researchers at universities and other institutions. We will actively support such efforts by utilizing our accumulated experiences and network.

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