Our Program

Message from Area Director

Area Director: Zentaro Yamagata

Area Director: Zentaro YAMAGATA
Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Basic Science for Clinical Medicine, Division of Medicine, Graduate School Department of Interdisciplinary Research, University of Yamanashi

Today Japan is experiencing a population decline as well as the aging of its society with the decrease in the birthrate. Moreover, fiscal conditions are tight. In this context, Japan will be able to continue to achieve steady development in the future only if it pursues innovation through the advancement of science and technology. However, in recent years, and especially since the Great East Japan Earthquake, science and technology as well as its researchers have been viewed harshly. Critics say that, despite the vast amount of funds invested in R&D, the outcomes are not helping to resolve the challenges that society faces.

Indeed, in science, technology and innovation (STI) policy to date, problems have been encountered not infrequently. Sometimes R&D investment has been made without adequate objective evidence. Other times, although great insights have been gained through basic research, the research outcomes have not been applied in an effective fashion so that they lead to innovations or the creation of systems to resolve challenges and advance society. Yet other times, outstanding policy ideas have been conceived, but they have not been implemented due to insufficient communication with the public. The root cause of this was the absence of clear, evidence-based methods to create STI policy.

To remedy this situation, our program aims to develop methods to formulate the following kinds of policies;

Policies that will lead to the resolution of real challenges by advancing the basic research and applying the research outcomes to the challenges and Policies that will promote the innovation of society by drawing on basic research. In this endeavor, it will be critical

  • To design a multistage process from basic research, to social application of outcomes, to evaluation of that application;
  • To develop methods for measuring the economic and social impact of R&D investment;
  • To build an effective research framework to form policies based on objective evidence; and
  • To ensure proper communication among policy makers, the scientific community and the public in order to promote the application of research findings in society.

This program is diverse in content and is expected to produce more concrete proposals. We look forward to seeing outstanding proposals with flexible thinking that deserves “ Science of STI policy” .


Akira Morita is a professor at The College of Policy Studies, Tsuda University. He is also a professor emeritus at The University of Tokyo and a visiting professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies(GRIPS)

He worked as Associate Professor and Professor, Faculty of Law and Economics, Chiba University, after which as Professor at The University of Tokyo for Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, Faculty of Law and Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP). He also served as the 1st Dean of GraSPP from 2004 to 2008 and the 1st Director of Policy Alternatives Research Institute (PARI) from 2008 to 2010 and Executive Advisor to the President from 2005 to 2009 at the University of Tokyo. After that he worked as a Professor, Faculty of Law at Gakushuin University from 2012 to 2014, after which as Director-General, National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS). He also served as Chairman of Central Social Insurance Medical Council from 2011 to 2014 and as a committee member on various other bodies in the Japanese Government.

His current research interests are in the field of Public Administration, Public Policy and Local Autonomy, focusing on the various social problems arising in the contemporary world. He has authored many books, papers and reports.

He was born in 1951. He graduated from Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo in 1976.