2. SciREX does
  3. Competition-based Research

Competition-based Research

SciREX provides competition-based annual funding for such projects that carry new analytic methodologies, models, data-systematization tools and indicators that contribute to making evidence-based Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies. The award size varies, depending on the allocation of the year for the program.

The call for proposals and the review are administered by the Research Institute for Science and Technology and Society (RISTEX) . The 2019 version of the application announcement is here.

Prof. Zentaro YAMAGATA, Professor at Yamanashi University Graduate School for Interdisciplinary Studies, manages the competition-based funding, including making the final decision of the awardees. He is joined by 10 advisers in making the decision. The review is made through mail, panel, and interview.

The awardees and projects carried from JFY2011-JFY2018 (with no call for proposals in JFY2015) are shown by year (JFY: Japanese Fiscal Year: April-March next year). The announcement for the call for JFY2018 applications is here.  



JFY2018 Awardees Up to Yen 5 million ($45,000)/year for up to 3 years

PDF file of JFY2018  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.

JFY2017 Awardees Up to Yen 5 million ($45,000)/year for up to 3 years

PDF file of 2017 awardees

Project PI Synopsis Collaborators
Introduction of energy-saving equipment for strengthening resilience Akane UEMICHI Assistant Prof. Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering Securing energy at disasters is the most critical issue. The hospitals to be used during disasters are required to have self-generating energy facilities that can generate 60% of the normal-time energy. The introduction of self-generating energy facilities is not systematized, nor has gone through sufficient research.
This project is to establish a tool that supports the introduction of energy-saving equipment that meets "economic and environmental standards" and "strengthening of resilience" by using open data such as disaster occurrence rate. It will also establish a system that offers financial support for introducing energy-saving equipment.
University of TokyoDisaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) Central Research Institute of Electric Power IndustryNational Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience
Meta system for advanced medical regulations Shingo KANO Associate Prof. Department of Computational Biology andMedical Sciences To use emerging medical technologies by ensuring safety, effectiveness, and quality, the innovation and regulation processes need to be comprehensively defined. Also, the interaction between them is required to be systematically analyzed along with exploration of an appropriate time for starting rules, preparation of rules for the rules, and monitoring of the interaction.
The project will establish a system of systems by (1) developing a prototype for technology prediction system; (2) analyzing past cases to establish new medical evaluation technology guidelines and proposing Japanese version of guidelines for guidelines; and (3) establishing a system that will accelerate the interaction in heart simulation technologies.
University of Tokyo Aoyama Gakuin University Yamaguchi UniversityJapan Association for the Advancement of Medical EquipmentJapan Multiplex bio-Analysis Consortium
Star scientists and innovation inJapan Kanetaka MAKI Associate Prof. Waseda Business School It is essential to continue funding for excellent R&D to effectively promote Japanese science, technology and innovation. The U.S. has "star scientists" who produce excellent research results and also establish venture businesses of high performance. They make great contributions in making economic and social impacts with their proactive contribution to industries with their scientific background.
This project is to develop a method for identifying star scientists in Japan, analyze how the star scientists have been born, and establish the database. All of these will lead to an evidence that will help distribute research fund with industrialization in mind.
Waseda UniversityNational Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
Analyses of the motivation for female students to major inmathematics and physics Hiromi YOKOYAMA Professor University of TokyoKAVLI/IPMU Next-generation STI personnel education is critical. Japanese 5th STI Basic Plan encourages securing personnel of diversity and mobility. Among other things, it is important to involve women researchers in the workforce. Many efforts have already been made to encourage female students to major in science, but those who major in math and physics are very few compared with those in BIO. There are some countries where female students occupy 50% of the math and physics classes. It is possible in Japan that some social factors hinder the number from increasing.
This project will use psychology in surveying math and physics researchers, female students and their parents, and after-school students, and analyze the social factors that prevents them in majoring in math and physics. It will also propose policies for securing diverse personnel who will make contributions in making innovations.
University of Tokyo Shiga University

JFY2016 Awardees Up to Yen 5 million ($45,000)/year for up to 3 years

PDF file of2016

Project PI Synopsis Collaborators
Research on the description and interpretation of evidence in the policy making process Yuya KAJIKAWA Associate Prof. School ofEnvironment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology In order to efficiently and effectively promote R&D that brings innovations in technology, policy making based on objective evidence is indispensable. Compared with technology such as data analysis or computer simulations that "create" evidence, technology and systems that "utilize" evidence are insufficient. As a result, evidence is not adequately reflected in policy making and assessment.
This project features policies on technological innovation especially energy technology and analyzes kinds of evidence and the processes by which such evidence is collected, made, utilized and passed on. In addition, by systematically studying research on the theory of decision-making and its evidence in an organization, we aim to build a framework for enhancing the effects of policy through the use of evidence.
School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Policy Alternative Research Institute, the University of Tokyo
A Pioneering ELSI approach that promotes advanced biosciences Jusaku MINARI Assistant Prof. Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University While expectations for technological innovation and its practical applications in the field of advanced biosciences have grown, issues concerning its dual-use and ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) have been raised. Viewing the advanced biosciences in terms of a simple good versus evil dichotomy, disorganized regulatory control over systems and excessive precautions brought on by guidelines of widely varying interpretation hamper R&D's progress towards innovation.
Building on the "proactionary" principle (which values freedom of innovation) while heeding social considerations, objectivity and transparency; this project broaches personal genome research, genome-editing technologies and synthetic biology in search of a bioethical framework that reflects the values of Japanese society and proposes acombined model of ethics for open innovation and policy formation.
Osaka University Kyoto UniversityTohoku University Hospital Kyoto University of Art & Design Hokkaido UniversityHirosaki University Hitotsubashi UniversityNational Defense Medical College
Academic research on the expanded use of regenerativemedicine from Yoshimi YASHIRO Program-specific Associate Prof.Uehiro ResearchDivision for iPS In Japan, in order to adjust to the aging society and reduce the medical care cost, promoting researches on regenerative medicine such as stem cells, iPS cells, and biomaterials is being stressed. However, it has been pointed out that the high expense of putting it into practice and making it widely available may be obstacles. To advance R&D on regenerative medicine efficiently and effectively so that the fruits of it can be shared Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoko UniversityFaculty of Medicine, Osaka UniversityFaculty of Medicine, Faculty of Global Science Studies, Yamaguchi University
the cost perspective Cell Ethics, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University with people, it is essential to accumulate and analyze the detailed data on its cost structure.
By analyzing case studies of products and technologies of regenerative medicine that are becoming practically available and carrying out a survey of the stakeholders, this project collects data about putting regenerative medicine into practical use and information about its expenses, performs cost performance analyses on R&D and treatments. This project aims to advance sustainable R&D on the basis of the current financial situation of medical insurance, build an informational base for providing medical treatments anddevise an evaluation model.
Faculty of Letters, Kyoto University Faculty of Arts and Literature, Seijo University Supported by: The Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine, Japan Tissue Engineering Co., Ltd. and others

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