Hirai Takuya, Member of the House of Representatives and former Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy in Japan, shares his thoughts on The Moonshot Research and Development Program, that challenges research and development towards the future
Our society faces various challenges that must be addressed, such as an ageing population and the declining birthrate in developed countries, large-scale natural disasters and global warming. Japan has been promoting “Society 5.0,” a notion of a human-centred and inclusive future society that realises both economic growth and the resolution of societal challenges by a sophisticated integration of cyberspace and physical space.
With the aim to develop radical solutions for difficult societal challenges, the Government of Japan announced the establishment of the Moonshot Research and Development (R&D) Program in 2018. It is an endeavour to accelerate disruptive innovations by promoting challenging R&D to achieve ambitious goals or the Moonshot Goals which inspire people in the world. The Government of Japan has allocated a budget of more than 100 billion Japanese yen (about $1 billion) for five years as seed money.
At the end of July this year, the Visionary Council of the Moonshot R&D Program recommended three areas and 13 visions to identify the Moonshot Goals for the program. The council also indicated 25 candidates for the Moonshot Goals. The Government of Japan plans to invite distinguished scientists, engineers and innovators from around the world to provide advice setting out the Moonshot Goals.
To this end, the Government of Japan is organising the Moonshot International Symposium in Tokyo from December 17th to 18th, 2019 in order to discuss the Moonshot Goals and innovative ways of conducting Moonshot research.
Fully taking into account the outcome of the symposium, the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) chaired by the Prime Minister will set out the Moonshot Goals for the program.
Areas and visions for the Moonshot Goals
The Areas for the Moonshot Goals, recommended by the Visionary Council are:
- Tackling declining-birthrate and an ageing society with radical innovation.
- Recovering our civilisation and healthy global environment.
- Pioneering new frontiers with science and technology.
The Visionary Council also recommended 13 Visions for the three areas above as follows:
- Inclusive society: anyone can pursue their dreams (inclusion and innovation).
- A society without health anxiety: everyone can enjoy life until 100 years old (achievement of well-ageing).
- Industrial innovations by complete automation.
- Significant reduction of resources requirements.
- Full recycling of resources.
- Climate-neutral cities.
- Harmonisation with nature.
- Autonomous scientific discovery (AI).
- Manipulation of the life cycle process (biotech).
- Full understanding of the neural mechanism (brain/nerve system).
- Visualisation of unexplored space (from quantum to the Earth.)
- Ordinary space life (space).
- Millennium Challenge (public call for Vision and Goals).
International participation in the Moonshot R&D Program
The Government of Japan welcomes international participation in the Moonshot International Symposium in December.
In addition, the Government of Japan would like to invite distinguished scientists and engineers and young talent from around the world to the Moonshot R&D Program to co-work for the future of our societies.
For more information on Science, Technology and Innovation, please visit: https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/index.html
For further details of the Visionary Council on the Moonshot Research and Development Program (Fourth Meeting), please visit: https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/moonshot/4th/index.html
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