New Challenge for Collaboration, Integration and Innovation in Tsukuba Science City
The history of Tsukuba Science City is divided into three major periods since the master plan was decided by the Cabinet and National Institutes and Universities were transferred from Tokyo. Over 200 private research facilities were founded in the Techno-Parks after Tsukuba Expo ’85. The present is the third period and the Government system, National Institutes and Universities were drastically reorganized and huge amount of public funds was invested for the promotion of basic R&D during this period. Now, Tsukuba Express Railway directly connected this city to Akihabara, central Tokyo. The effect of accumulation and their outcome is expected again.
In this paper, I will focus and discuss on a current challenge for collaboration, integration and innovation in Tsukuba Science City.
It is actually difficult to say that the collaboration among research institutes were significantly active and successful except communications by individual researchers in formal or informal way during the first and second periods. On the contrary obvious products like development of the venture business or collaborations are progressed in the third period. Typical examples are discussed in the case of the University of Tsukuba and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
The University of Tsukuba was established as a model to promote close cooperative research between academia and industry. The President Leo Esaki created the Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance (TARA) to push his idea of technology transfer. Tsukuba Industrial Liaison and Cooperative Research Center (ILC) is also on the same line to contribute to facilitate technological incubation and transferring excellent research findings to private enterprises. As an example, Professor Sankai who created a new domain of ‘cybernics‘ and started robotics businesses in the city is introduced.
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), led by President Dr. Yoshikawa, is one of the Japan's largest public research organization and covers wide science and technology fields with many research facilities and around 3,200 employees in all. According to the President’s philosophy of “Full Research”, drastic reform of organization and change of researcher’s thinking way were put into practice. How to overcome nightmare or “death valley” between basic research and realization, or how to integrate disciplines, and some results are introduced. The role of “innovation architect” will be discussed.
The mission and goal of science town is to contribute to industry and society through promoting cooperative research and innovation. Several types of approach like needs pull and seeds push might be necessary and effective. The shift of gravitational center in socio-economic system will be proposed and discussed as a common target for innovation.