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+Competition-based SciREX Projects for JFY2018-JFY2021 Selected

Japan Science and Technology Agency (RISTEX)

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The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy program at the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX), with Dr. Zentaro Yamagata as the Director, has announced the 4 awards made for JFY2018-JFY2021 as below. The selection was made through mail, panel and interview reviews, based on the announcement made in May 2018. Each awardee will receive up to Yen 5 million for up to 3.5 years. Also refer to the SciREX webpage here.

JFY2018 competition-based SciREX awardees

Project PI Synopsis
Research on constructing open data for policies to reduce child poverty
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University
This project will try to contribute to the evidence-based policy making at local governments, by using the survey-based data they possess and focusing on the child abuse issue. It will be carried through three stages: The first stage is to integrate various databases on child abuse into a single standard database; the second is to analyze the integrated database by interdisciplinary analysis team, extract evidences that could be used for policies, and propose policies based on discussions with the local governments’ policymakers; the third is to return the policy recommendations to the local governments as well as to train the local governments’ members as to how to establish open data based on surveys conducted by them. Child abuse issue will be used as an example to come up with policies based on survey data.
Healthcare innovation by reducing hospital beds and urban planning Yukiko ITO
Professor, College of Policy Studies,
Tsuda University
The number of hospital beds in Japan is 2.8 times more and the hospital stays are 2.1 times longer, compared with the other OECD nations. These excess is not effective in maintaining productivity at middle-sized cities (population size of 100,000-300,000) that have the capacity of providing the secondary-level acute medical cares. In view of the declining population, it is essential to reduce hospital beds effectively.
The central government that is aware of the fiscal deficits due to the excessive medical facilities has proposed several plans to make hospitals function more focused and compact. However, the local governments and hospitals are reluctant to lose local industrial businesses and customers. Thus, they have little incentives to solve the issues derived from excessive beds. The goal of this project is to solve this.
We will propose a model for “Policy for Reducing Hospital Beds and Urban City” that will verify hospital beds deduction will improve the vitalization of local areas and hospital management. To be prepared for that, it is important both to “reduce the hospital size and bring efficient productivity” and to “explore investment opportunities for different industries” in tandem. 
We will also integrate and develop our knowledge on and the experiments in specific cities into a more generalized form. As an example, we plan to create a list of data to be collected and analyzed, and another list of legal procedures and contracts to be followed. Such knowhow would help cities to efficiently conduct policies.
Construction of a commons using ICT to generate evidence for medical policy Kazuto KATO
Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University
The need for a policymaking method that incorporates patients’ views has been recognized worldwide. However, patients’ participation is not enough in Japan. The patients have often been appealing their opinions and some patients do not have patients’ groups, which caused their petitions not be reflected on the policies. In addition, the government-led R&D programs have been designed mainly by the policymakers and researchers.   
This project is to answer the questions on how to establish evidences that reflect the views of patients and medical researchers and how to establish policies based on the evidences. It will have the medical research on rare and intractable disease as the source of “evidence-generating commons.” Through existing networks, patients and researchers will carry out discussions on the needs and challenges necessary to design medical research policies. Many of the discussion meeting will be conducted by use of ICT so that participants can join even if they are in distant areas. The second stage will have the policy makers join the “commons” and the discussion results will be analyzed from the view point of the actual government policy’s applicability.
This project will bring new opportunities for various stakeholders to actively participate in policy making processes, and also provide policy makers who work on designing funding strategies of medical research in the government sectors with valuable and useful evidence.
Biology-informed, family-friendly policies against declining birth rate in Japan Kumi KURODA
Principal Investigator,
Laboratory for Affiliative
Social Behavior,
RIKEN Center for Brain
Birth rate in Japan has been declining since 1973, while a number of policies have been taken to solve the problem. Such policy inefficiency could have been caused by the fact that the policy-making boards have not been well-informed with biological and behavioral sciences on human beings, so that the resultant policies were not necessarily biologically feasible. Similarly, countermeasures on declining birth rate have logical conflicts with the current labor policy that facilitates women's labor force in market, as well as the elderly people care policy that tries to switch institutional care to family care. Such policy conflicts inevitably increase at-home workload and may cause damages on well-being of family members, especially children.
This project tries to establish family-friendly, biology-informed policy making against declining birth rate in Japan, with the following objectives: (A) to investigate child maltreatment perpetrators (case history, cognitive and neurological studies) in order to come up with efficient interventions; (B) to implement parental- and family-support programs supplied by private organizations in order to facilitate public welfare sourcing; and (C) to make biological and behavioral science-informed evaluation of family policies in order for policy against declining birth rate in Japan to be more family-friendly and therefore be more effective long term.


SciREX Program Members

  • GiST
  • STIG
  • IMPP
  • CRDS
  • MEXT